One North Korean Christian has died and another one killed according to Open Doors USA, a group that tracks worldwide Christian persecution. One man was shot at a border crossing as he left the country for Bible study in China, the other man died in a labor camp. Practicing Christianity is a crime in North Korea.
The prisoner had also attended the same Bible study in China, but had been jailed sometime since the nature of his Christianity was discovered. It is believed that 50,000-70,000 Christians are imprisoned in North Korea’s labor camps, and many of those will face death.
Open Doors USA has North Korea ranked at the top of its list of persecutors around the world, now for 11 consecutive years.
“Nowhere else in the world is the persecution of Christians so intense. Even the possession of the Bible is enough to be killed or sent to a labor camp for life with your family,” Open Doors says.
It is not known officially how many Christians live in North Korea, as it must be kept a secret, but Open Doors estimates the number is between 200,000 and 400,000.
“There is no religious freedom whatsoever in North Korea. People are simply killed if they believe in Jesus,” according to a North Korean refugee. “Kim Jong-Un is a god and there cannot be any god besides him. Yes, there are church services in North Korea, but only when foreigners are present. The state calls up some locals to be present. There is no freedom of religion, speech or press in North Korea.”
The deaths of these two men come on the heels of a reported arrest of a United States citizen in December, a man who had connections to a Protestant aid group. He was detained in North Korea for allegedly possessing pictures of struggling North Koreans as well as orphans in need of assistance, something the totalitarian state does not want the world to see.