North Korea is regularly named as the worst country in the world to be a Christian. All North Koreans are expected to follow Juche (self-reliance), an extreme cult of personality which venerates the ruling Kim family. Any other belief systems, especially Christianity, are viewed as a threat to the regime’s authority.
It is illegal to be a Christian or take part in any Christian activity. The authorities even set up fake prayer meetings to catch Christians, and children at school are encouraged to report on their parents or others in the family if they are seen praying or reading the Scriptures. Those caught are usually detained in labour camps, where they are abused, tortured and worked to death, quite literally.
Many are summarily executed. Innocent family members are also often imprisoned, beaten and detained in labour camps, simply by association.
To be caught in possession of a Bible or Christian literature is an offence carrying the death sentence, and public executions are used as a warning and deterrent.
There is tight control of all media, even coverage of the recent Winter Olympics in South Korea was heavily censored, so information other than that provided by the government is difficult to access.
Many thousands of North Koreans have fled to China and South Korea to escape persecution and famine, which is rife in the country. Sadly those going to China, when caught, are routinely repatriated to North Korea. Any suspected of being Christian can expect no mercy.
In spite of this terrible persecution, there are thought to be several hundred thousand followers of Christ in this terrible country.
It is hoped that the signs of an easing of international relations and tensions that have emerged during the Winter Olympics will be reflected in better treatment of citizens and especially Christians in North Korea.
● Praise God that he is building his Church in North Korea despite the government’s brutal efforts to eradicate it.
● Pray that the Lord will sustain them all, and will add to their number those who are being saved.
● Pray for all those being held in labour camps, and that the Lord will be their strength and shield.
● Pray for a political breakthrough in North Korea that will result in justice and freedom for all its beleaguered citizens.