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The World is Not Worthy: North Korea

ICC Note: Summary and update on the overall Christian situation in North Korea

2/12/10 North Korea (WordaroundtheNet) – North Korea is one of the world’s most oppressed and backward places. Despite being in roughly the same area as South Korea, the nation is technologically and socially regressed, has a lower literacy and life expectancy rate, and has significantly less food and national infrastructure. Most people have seen the satellite pictures of the nation, almost totally blacked out at night.

Christopher Hitchens recently wrote about a trip to the country, and while his focus was on the awful racism and overwhelming paranoia of the country (and comically, an attempt to claim that North Korea is actually right wing and a warning for the rest of the world of the pernicity of that political movement), he also noted that on average the North Korean people are six inches shorter than South Koreans. That gives you a pretty good idea of the conditions these people are suffering under.

Yet even among the North Koreans, there is a group which is oppressed even more: Christians. The Open Doors project reports:

In first position on the World Watch List 2010 is again North Korea, the country where every religious activity is recognized as insurrection to the North Korean socialist principles. The situation for Christians is extremely harsh at this moment, even though the North Korean regime is slowly and steadily losing her iron control on North Korean society, and Kim Jong Il’s physical health worsened after his stroke.

Through mobilizing every resource of power, North Korea is desperately trying to control society in order to eradicate Christian activities. By means of combat campaigns of 150 days and 100 days, the North Korean government is trying very hard to demolish the street market system. Furthermore, many Christian believers were exposed during North Korea’s strict searches.

During the mentioned campaigns, the North Korean regime especially targeted secret Christians all over North Korea to arrest and kill them. They have arrested and tortured Christians in various horrible ways, such as sometimes using them as a means of testing biological or chemical weapons. In spite of these inhuman circumstances, Christianity is growing and chances to hear the gospel are growing, especially for those who live in cities nearby China.

At a conference in London, a former prison guard from North Korea passed on an anecdote:

In camp no 22 there was a Christian elderly [woman]. To me she seemed really faithful. One day I witnessed that she was getting beaten up and I asked one of the guards why and he said, “This crazy lady, she is still believing in God.” Christians are considered as mentally ill people. The worst crime in North Korea is not believing in Kim Jong Il and his father. Christians are one of the worst criminals.’

Christopher Hitchens doesn’t mention this partly because he’s incredibly hostile toward religion, and partly because it doesn’t fit his “right wing North Korea” narrative. The fact is, the NK regime uses its own people for testing and the most brutal slave labor regularly. Escapees from South Korea tell the same sort of harrowing tales each time they find freedom.

For decades now, North Korea has been run by one of the most evil socialist dictatorships in the history of the world and there are no signs this will change. And one of the most abused and brutalized groups in this crushing tyranny are those who merely call upon the name of Jesus.