In North Korea, Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un's communist Workers' Party of Korea government is seeking to eradicate Christianity from the country, a new report has revealed. The report said that the communist government is engaged in an "active campaign to exterminate all Christian adherents and institutions in North Korea has been brutally effective."
According to Christian Today, a new report from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) showed how the North Korean government uses tools such as arbitrary arrest and detention, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, torture, executions, and the systematic denial of religious freedom rights to eradicate Christianity from its people.
The report, titled "Organized Persecution - Documenting Religious Freedom Violations in North Korea," reveals how these violations were documented to have occurred as recently as last year and were "seemingly designed to remove all traces of Christianity."
The communist state-sponsored campaign to eradicate Christianity is carried out through "the work of the Ministry of State Security, networks of informants that stretch into China, the presence of 'no-exit' political prison camps, executions, and an educational and organizational system that deters adherence through schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods."
For the report, USCIRF researchers spoke to survivors, witnesses, and perpetrators of religious freedom violations in North Korea between 2020 and 2021, with a majority of them having escaped the communist government-run state in 2019. Investigators said they identified 68 cases of the North Korean government "prosecuting individuals for their religion or belief or for their association with religious persons."
A former detainee recounted to investigators how a prisoner who was arrested for smuggling a small copy of the Bible from China to North Korea was punished by being sentenced to solitary confinement. Correctional officers would then torture the prisoner by having him stick out his hands, which they would then "mercilessly" strike using the metal cleaning rod for a rifle.
USCIRF investigators also "documented credible accounts of the execution of Christian adherents who had practiced within the territory of North Korea, rather than in or through China."
The report underscored how the detailed accounts came from former security officials. Back in July 2011, a Christian woman and her grandchild were executed by a firing squad in Onsong County, North Hamgyong Province for their faith. In 2015, six other people were convicted of practicing Christianity and were also executed by a firing squad in Yeonan County in South Hwanghae Province. Up to 40 others were sentenced to a lifetime living in the political prison camp.
In June, USCIRF decried North Korea's continued campaign to eradicate Christianity and other religious minorities through intense persecution, the Washington Times reported. The federal religious liberty panel said that pandemic-related border shutdowns have increased the isolation of the remaining religious minority communities in North Korea.
Experts added that not only are Christians being persecuted in North Korea over the last 70 years, but the communist government is also targeting shamanic religion and fortune-telling.
USCIRF commissioner James W. Carr said, "The North Korean government exerts absolute control over religion and denies the North Korean people freedom of religion from birth. The government severely punishes any forms of deviation from its official ideology and policy with Christians and adherents of shamanism, particularly targeted for the persecution."