Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mixed Signals From a Mixed Up Regime

North Korea has declared all religious activity to be subversive, an attack on their governing principles. And yet they maintain there is religious freedom in the country. An article in the Chosun Ilbo mentions that before "liberation" came to Korea, there were (in addition to the many Buddhist temples in the mountainous regions) 2600 churches. In Pyongyang alone there were 270 churches, which led to the city being called the 2nd Jerusalem.

Information on the situation of Christians in North Korea is sketchy. We do know that the government considers Christians "crazy" and part of an underground movement to overthrow the regime. The Open Doors Movement is committed to helping these persecuted Christians, but it's a difficult task. Again this year, North Korea was listed--8th year in a row--as having the severest persecutions of Christians among all nations of the world.

In 2009 Kim Jong-il is reported giving orders that resulted in the mass arrests, torture and killings of many Christians in an attempt to eradicate all Christian activities. Of the estimated 200,000 in prison for political activities considered hostile
to the regime, 40,000 to 60,000 are Christians.

Protestants have been very active in trying to help all persecuted Christians. Each year they send balloons to North Korea with leaflets and make efforts to get Bibles into the hands of the Christians using words commonly in use in North Korea.

An American Protestant Missionary, Robert Park, in an attempt to bring the plight of persecuted Christians in Korea to the attention of the world, recently "...crossed the China-North Korea border into North Korea...carrying with him a letter addressed to the North Korean leadership in which he wrote: Please open your borders so that we may bring food, provisions, medicine, necessities and assistance to those who are struggling to survive. Please close down all concentration camps (gulags) and release all political prisoners
therein, and allow care teams to enter to minister healing to those who have been tortured and traumatized." (as reported by Pax Koreana)

North Korean authorities acknowledged, indirectly, the existence of an un
derground Church when they reported catching some spies. Their official news agency reported that "They broke up a hostile radical group that was using the mask of religion in the underground church to ferment conspiracy."

How long this tyrannical regime can continue to exist, with its abysmal human rights record, without provoking more discontent from its citizens is puzzling to many. Some day in the near future there will come a day when the history of this country will be written and, maybe then, we'll have the answer many are asking: How could such a proud people have put up with this hellish life for so long?

No comments:

Post a Comment