2019 WORLD WATCH LIST NO. 1NORTH KOREA
World Watch List:01
Main Religion:Atheism/Traditional Beliefs
Source of Persecution:Dictatorial Paranoia
ABOUT NORTH KOREA
Increase in raids and crackdowns
In North Korea, Christianity is seen as a dangerous foreign religion that has to be fought against viciously. On the other hand, Kim Jong Un, his father, and grandfather are worshipped like gods with poems and songs praising their morals and majesty. Despite the sudden flurry of diplomatic activities in 2018, nothing changed for Christians in the country, unfortunately. On the contrary, there were reports of increased raids and crackdowns against all “anti-socialist elements”, in which Christians are included.
Gone in ten years
Before the Korean War in the 1950s, there were about 500,000 Christians in North Korea. During the war, many fled. After it ended, tens of thousands of believers were killed, imprisoned or banished to remote areas under the rule of Kim Il Sung. In a period of ten years, all visible presence of the North Korean church vanished.
A spy for a neighbor
It is highly dangerous to read the Bible or to express Christian faith in any way. Christians would divide Christian materials up or destroy them after memorizing the content in order to avoid storing whole copies. However, it is getting increasingly difficult for believers to keep their faith a secret. Each neighborhood has a system, inminban, in which some residents have been trained to spy on their neighbors. Local leaders of the system were given more authority recently. Anyone discovered engaging in clandestine religious activities could face arrest, years in labor camps, torture, and even public execution.
OPEN DOORS IN NORTH KOREA
Open Doors supports the Persecuted Church in North Korea through:
• Emergency relief aid of food, clothes, medicine, etc.
• Christian literature distribution
• Training through radio broadcasts
• For Kim Jong Un, that he would come to know the one true God. Pray for change within the regime, and that the power of evil will be broken.
• For the protection North Korean believers. Pray for those who are suffering in prisons, labor camps and remote areas.
• For healing and restoration to take place in this country, and also that God will give the North Korean church strength and endurance.