North Korea Facts

Score: 94 / 100
Region: Asia
Persecution Type: Communist and Post-communist Oppression
Persecution Level: Extreme
Population: 25,405,000
Christians: 300,000
Main Religion: Atheism
Government: Communist Dictator
Leader: Kim Jong-Un

Profile of Persecution

Violence 63%
Church Life 99%
National Life 99%
Community Life 99%
Family Life 99%
Private Life 99%

Where Persecution Comes From

The main driver of North Korean Christian Persecution is the state. For three generations, everything in the country focused on idolizing the leading Kim family. Christians are seen as hostile elements in society which have to be eradicated. Due to the constant indoctrination permeating the whole country, neighbors and even family members are highly watchful and report anything suspicious to the authorities. Children are especially vulnerable to the heavy indoctrination. Reports show that some children report their own parents for religious activity. Therefore, many parents prefer not to tell their children anything about their Christian faith until they’re older.

How Christians are Suffering

If Christians are discovered, no matter if they are heirs of the Christian communities from before the Korean War or found the Christian faith in other ways – e.g. during the great famine in the 1990s (which caused tens of thousands of citizens to seek help in China) – not only are they deported to labor camps as political criminals or even killed on the spot, their families will share their fate as well. Christians do not even have the slightest space in society. Meeting other Christians in order to worship is almost impossible and if some believers dare to, it has to be done in utmost secrecy. The churches shown to visitors in Pyongyang serve mere propaganda purposes.


Due to the extremely difficult security situation, it is not possible to give examples. But the highly unusual case of Pastor Han Choong Yeol who was killed by a squad of four North Korean agents in the Chinese border town Chiangbai on April 30, 2016 may serve as an illustration. What was most shocking was not the fact of the killing, but that it was done so publicly. So if the authorities are not shy to kill a foreign Christian abroad, it may be easier to imagine how they act once they find a local Christian. Of course, every Christian caught will be closely interrogated to uncover any networks.

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Pray for North Korea

  • Leader Kim Jong Un has continued to consolidate his power. No changes or improvements have been seen in the past year. Please pray 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 in the country will be broken.
  • The situation for Christians is vulnerable and precarious. They face persecution from state authorities and their non-Christian families, friends and neighbors. Pray for their protection. Pray for Christians who suffer in prisons, labor camps and remote areas. Pray that God will give the North Korean church strength and endurance.
  • North Korea heads up the World Watch List for the seventeenth consecutive year. Pray that the country’s rulers will come to know God, for the protection of the North Korean Church and for healing and restoration to take place in the country.

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