Open Doors, 10 August 2022 (excerpts)
North Korea has long been recognised as one of the hardest places in the world to follow Jesus, where Christians face almost unimaginable suffering if their faith is discovered. A new report confirms this.
An inquiry by The International Bar Association and The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea found that ‘crimes against humanity have been, and continue to be, committed on a massive scale’ in North Korea’s detention centres. And Christians are particularly targeted, and exposed to torture, in North Korean prisons.’
Prisons in North Korea are an extension of a political structure that aims to eliminate any threat to the country’s leadership and state ideology. Believing in a higher power than the Kim family is considered such a threat, so anyone who follows Jesus, or even owns a Bible, is vulnerable to indefinite imprisonment in appalling conditions.
“One detainee estimated that between 50-60% of their fellow detainees had attended some form of Christian service in China.”
Christians who have escaped to China, or became Christians after fleeing North Korea, may be targeted by secret police and returned to North Korean prisons. Witnesses have reported that ‘identified Christians are interrogated for longer periods, usually under torture’.
“The State considers the spread of Christianity a particularly serious threat, ideologically challenging the official personality cult and providing a platform for social and political organisation outside the realm of the State,” a 2014 UN report on human rights in North Korea said.