North Korea heads the World Watch List for the 14th consecutive year now. Kim Jong-un has continued to consolidate his power, and no changes or improvements have been seen over the past year. Ideology again trumped everything as could be seen in the celebration of the ruling Korean Workers Party’s 70th anniversary in October 2015. North Korea remains an opaque state and it is difficult to make sense of most of the news pouring out of the country. This is even truer when it comes to topics like human rights or the situation of the Christian minority. Christianity is not only seen as “opium for the people,” as is normal for all communist states, it is also seen as deeply Western and despicable. Christians try to hide their faith as far as possible to avoid arrest and being sent to labor camps with horrific conditions. Thus, one’s Christian faith usually remains a well-protected secret, and most parents refrain from introducing their children to the Christian faith in order to make sure that nothing slips their tongue when they are asked.
Mystery still shrouds the April slaying of Han Choong-ryeol, a Chinese pastor involved in aiding North Koreans defectors on their journey to South Korea.
Pastor Han always knew the potential cost of his ministry to North Korean refugees.
With the sentencing of Otto Warmier, North Korea continues history of detaining foreigners and later making a public display of their "confessions."