North Korea’s Supreme leader Kim Jong-un, purportedly forced Christians to celebrate his grandmother Kim Jong-suk’s birthday instead of Jesus Christ’s birthday on Christmas day. In line with details, Kim Jong-un had forces all the North Koreans to pay their respects by visiting his grandmother’s tomb. Kim Jong-suk, his grandmother was born on Christmas Eve in 1919.
At the same time the North Korean leader had strictly prohibited Christmas celebrations in the country. He had also prohibited Christians from putting up Christmas trees. Previously, in 2014 when South Korea had planned to erect a huge Christmas tree along the border with North Korea. Kim Jong-un, had threatened to launch a war with South Korea on these grounds, as a result the tree was never put up.
Moreover, Kim Jong-un had also barred North Koreans from putting up Christmas trees. Nevertheless, several people resisted the dictator and put up Christmas trees in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang. These trees were erected in upmarket shops and restaurants but no religious symbols were sees, put on the these trees.
Human Rights campaigners and organizations claim that about 70,000 Christians have been imprisoned by the North Korean regime over charges related to religious or political offences. In 1950s regime’s crackdown against Christians began. “The DPRK ostentatiously treats anyone of faith, but especially Christians, as hostile,” Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at a U.S. think tank, wrote for Forbes Magazine in October.
“Between 300,000 and 500,000 Christians are thought to remain in North Korea today. Refugees from the North report religious involvement ranging from 1.2 percent participating in to 5.1 percent witnessing secret religious activities.”
United States Commission for International Religious Freedom in its annual report stated: “North Korea consistently ranks among the world’s most repressive regimes, in part because of its deplorable human rights record. The North Korean regime believes that its own absolute ideology sustains all of North Korean society – politically, economically, and morally – and that alternative beliefs, including religion, pose a threat.
Thus, the government restricts basic freedoms and often treats most harshly individuals believed to engage in religious activities, including through arrests, torture, imprisonment, and sometimes execution. Family members of religious believers often are considered guilty by association, suffering the same inhumane fate as their loved ones, typically in prison or at one of North Korea’s infamous labor camps. Based on the North Korean government’s systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom, USCIRF again recommends in 2016 that North Korea be designated a ‘country of particular concern,’ or CPC, under the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA). The State Department has designated North Korea a CPC since 2001, most recently in July 2014.”