World Watch List Challenge – #1 North Korea
There is no other country in the world where Christians are so fiercely persecuted because of their faith. Like other North Koreans, Christians live under one of the most oppressive regimes in recent history. They have to deal with corrupt officials, horrific policies, natural disasters, diseases, and starvation. On top of all this, they must hide their decision to follow Christ. The regime is anti-Christian for two main reasons:
- All other religions are seen as harmful to North Korea’s Juche ideology, which stresses the importance of man’s self-reliance. Because the people are forced to worship their leaders, there is simply no room for other gods.
- Christianity is the religion of North Korea’s enemies. Christians are seen as spies of the “imperialist Americans” and the “treacherous South Koreans.” North Koreans are told that Christians use religion to poison their “glorious nation.” As a result of this, the church has been completely pushed underground. It consists of 200,000 – 400,000 believers. Of these, between 50,000 – 70,000 are held in Nazi-like concentration camps and prisons.
“Christians have to teach their children the principles of the gospel without using words such as God, Jesus or the Bible,” shares Chin Ho, a Christian from North Korea. “They make up stories with Christian values. Once the children are old enough to keep their faith secret, the parents explain to them the full gospel. This usually happens when the children are between ten and fifteen years old.” Despite being the most difficult place to be a Christian, the underground church in North Korea continues to grow- even in the prison camps. *Names, photographs and other information have been changed for security purposes