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Christianity mushrooms in North Korea in the thick of dictatorship


Christianity is believed to be mushrooming in North Korea, under strict prohibition of religion. In a recent United States Commission on International Religious Freedom report it was stated that the Christian population in North Korea increased at a five-forced pace.

Christian population in North Korea

The estimated figure of Christian population in 2012 was 37,000 which dramatically rose to 200,000 and 400,000. U.S. State Department believes that the exact figure of Christian population in North Korea may be higher than these.

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It is estimated that the percentage of Christians in North Korean detention camps ranges from 10-45. Roughly up to 100,000 of Christian men and women are detained in harsh prisons or detention camps. Christian persecution watchdog, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) states: “A policy of guilt by association was often applied in cases of detentions of Christians, meaning that the relatives of Christians were also detained regardless of their beliefs.”

A North Korean member of an international coalition to stop genocide in the country was quoted as saying: “In the past, the people were told to worship the Kim family as their god, but many North Koreans no longer respect Kim Jong-Un. That means they are looking for something else to sustain their faith.”

“In some places, that has led to the emergence of shamans, but the Christian church is also growing and deepening its roots there. Even though people know they could be sent to prison or worse they are still choosing to worship, and that means that more cracks are appearing in the regime and the system.”

It is noteworthy that practice of religion will land anyone in jail, face torture or capital punishment. “The government continued to deal harshly with those who engaged in almost any religious practices through executions, torture, beatings, and arrests,” the International Religious Freedom report stated.

State report further continued that Christianity “challenged the official cult of personality and provided a platform for social and political organization and interaction outside of the government.” It was concluded that, “Christians faced persecution, violence, and heavy punishment if they practiced their religion outside the state-controlled churches.”