“Persecuting Faith” in North Korea

A new report based on testimonies from North Korean escapees finds that Christians face severe persecution from the nation’s intelligence agency – and every organ of the government actively mobilizes to deny religious freedom.

The totalitarian regime considers Christianity a threat to the political system.

Korea Future’s report Persecuting Faith: Volume 2 follows its groundbreaking report in 2020 highlighting personal testimonies of survivors, witnesses and perpetrators of North Korea’s human rights violations. Agents of the government perpetrated 97% of the cases.

The North Korean Ministry of State Security, an intelligence agency, monitors the country for threats, including Christian activity such as prayer, reading Scripture, or possessing Christian symbols. Without the benefit of a public trial or courts of law, agents of the Ministry of State Security arrest, interrogate, and incarcerate people indefinitely. Its activities are secret.

After a secret trial, detainees can be sentenced to a lifetime of forced labor or to an indefinite period of political reeducation in internment camps.

One case found an entire family of three generations, down to a two-year-old child, were arrested and given life sentences for possessing a Bible.

Because of the danger of sharing the Christian faith in North Korea, most North Koreans first learn about Christianity on illegal trips to China. Christians in North Korea cannot speak of their faith without risking death.

Korea Future has learned of an underground Christian church of at least 16 members, all of whom learned of Christianity in China.

Kim Gap Ji, a North Korean citizen, was traveling in China with a Christian pastor when he was arrested and sent back to North Korea. Once back in North Korea, he was investigated for five months, including periods of interrogation and torture, but did not reveal his Christianity to the authorities.

He was eventually sentenced to three years of re-education for his illegal border-crossing. After he was released, he shared his faith with others, but fled the country when he found out that someone he had talked to was an informant of the Ministry of State Security.

Some Christians, witnesses say, profess their faith openly to the government agents despite the consequences.

Korea Future reports that prison guards single out prisoners suspected of being Christian for beatings and torture. One prisoner who shared a cell with Christians recalled that, after the guards caught them praying, they were beaten on twenty consecutive days as punishment.

Other Christians are sentenced to death for their faith.

Korea Futures is amassing evidence to equip global authorities to hold accountable perpetrators and those who command, plan or allow serious human rights violations against religious minorities in North Korea.

Pray for:

  • Christians in North Korea to be supernaturally protected and strong in their faith – and be witnesses to their persecutors.
  • Global authorities to pay attention to North Korea’s severe abuses and hold perpetrators accountable.
  • Christians worldwide to have wisdom and courage in relation to North Korea now and when the regime falls.