Friday, March 24, 2023

Christians being sent to labour camps and executed in North Korea

North Korea has intensified its hounding of Christians, hunting for underground churches, executing believers and incarcerating their families in labour camps, aid groups have reported, according to The Telegraph.
As Kim Jong-un seeks to tighten his grip on power through ideological indoctrination, Open Doors, a global mission organisation that supports persecuted Christians, said it had documented a “rise in reported incidents of violence” last year.
“In one horrifying incident that Open Doors heard about from reliable sources, several dozen North Korean believers from different underground churches were discovered and executed.
More than 100 members of their families were said to have been rounded up and sent to labour camps,” it said in its latest “World Watch List,” which tracks crackdowns on religious freedom.
Thomas Müller, the group’s Asia researcher, told the Telegraph there were nine known incidents where Christians had been sent to labour camps or executed between October 1 2021 and September 30 2022.
The information came from trusted North Korean sources, but exact numbers were difficult to ascertain as entire families were often carted away in the middle of the night, he said. The reports are impossible to independently verify due to North Korea’s information blackout.
There are estimated to be between 200,000 and 400,000 clandestine Christians in the country, mainly in the west where many are believed to have settled after an “explosion” of the religion in 1907.
The parents of Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il Sung, are said to have been devout Christians, though their son developed his own cult of personality.
Müller said Christians were now being caught in a wider push to flood the country with Kim family ideology, which has been reinforced by an “anti-reactionary thought law”, introduced in 2020 to punish behaviour such as possessing Bibles.
In recent weeks, Kim has promoted his own dynastic legacy by elevating his daughter Ju-ae’s status at high-profile state events, while ensuring other parents teach their children devotion to his rule.
On Friday, Radio Free Asia reported that parents have been threatened with prison for first-time offences of their children watching foreign media, dancing suggestively or talking like a South Korean.


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