North Korea Facts

Score:94/ 100
Persecution Type:Communist and Post-communist Oppression
Persecution Level:Extreme
Main Religion:Atheism
Government:Communist Dictator
Leader:Kim Jong-Un

Profile of Persecution

Violence 65%
Church Life 99%
National Life 99%
Community Life 99%
Family Life 99%
Private Life 99%

Never-ending pressure and violence

The primary driver of Christian persecution in North Korea is the state. For three generations, everything in the country has focused on idolizing the leading Kim family. Christians are seen as hostile elements in society that have to be eradicated. There was hope that new diplomatic efforts in 2018—including the 2018 Winter Olympics—would mean a lessening of pressure and violence against Christians, but so far that has not been the case. Kim Jong Un has maintained his tight control over the populace, and dissent or worshiping anything else is not tolerated.

How Christians are suffering

If Christians are discovered, 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, on the contrary, they are publicly warned against. 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 very difficult to share examples. Pastor Dong-cheol Kim (arrested in 2015) and two Korean-American Christian lecturers at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), Tony Kim and Hak-song Kim (arrested in April and May 2017 respectively) were all accused of espionage but released ahead of the US-North Korean summit in June 2018. In a change of hiring policy, PUST is now reportedly looking for non-American staff, a logical consequence from the travel ban for US citizens.

Pray for North Korea

  • Pray that new diplomatic efforts will pay dividends, and will lead to a softening of the North Korean government toward its people.
  • The situation for Christians is vulnerable and precarious. They face persecution from state authorities and their non-Christian family, friends and neighbors. Pray for their protection.
  • Pray for strength and courage for Christians who suffer in prisons, labor camps and remote areas.
  • Pray that God will prepare the underground church in North Korea to be a light for the country—and that they will be ready to share the gospel freely someday soon.

Stories from North Korea

November 22, 2019

4 things persecuted Christians can teach us about gratitude

Persecuted Christians teach us 4 lessons about Thanksgiving and the importance of living lives of gratitude. Read More


November 9, 2019

Fall of Berlin Wall should compel us to pray for ‘every North Korean’s hope’

As Germany celebrates 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the beginning of reunification, many North Koreans are wondering when that long-awaited day will come for Korea. Read More


October 21, 2019

‘Only God decides if I will live or die’: A miraculous story of escape from North Korea

For the first time ever, North Korean Christian refugee shares her miraculous story of escape from prison and her native country. Read More