Friday, January 08, 2010

North Korean Christians world's most persecuted

For the eighth year in a row, North Korea again ranked number one on the Open Doors annual World Watch List (WWL).

In North Korea, every religious activity is recognized as an insurrection to the North Korean socialist principles. In 2009, the North Korean regime of Kim Jong-Il targeted Christians all over the country. That resulted in arrests, torture and killings.

According to reports, North Korean leaders are desperately trying to control society in order to eradicate all Christian activities. There are an estimated 200,000 North Koreans in political prisons, including about 50,000 Christians.

"Christians are the target of fierce government action, and once caught, are not regarded as human. Last year we had evidence that some were used as guinea pigs to test chemical and biological weapons," said a veteran North Korean watcher, who can't be identified due to security reasons.

Obtaining firsthand information about North Korea comes at great risk, and often high cost. The country has virtually no contact with the outside world beyond limited, government-supervised interaction with foreign businessman, and retrieved defectors face years in notorious black prisons and concentration camps.

"North Korea's severity and intensity of persecution far outstrips any country that we are able to measure persecution in," said Carl Moeller, president and CEO of Open Doors USA.

"There are about 50,000 Christians in a forced labor camp. If a Christian is caught with a Bible, for example, not only that person, but his wife, their children and their parents would also be thrown into a labor camp as well. Most likely, they would never come out again. Being underfed, under clothed in the middle of the Korean winter and worked literally to death.

"Every Christian in the country lives in constant fear of being discovered," he added. Despite the persecution, however, the underground church continues to grow in North Korea.

No comments: