North Koreans are increasingly exposed to Bible despite persecution
The percentage of North Korean citizens who are exposed to the Bible is steadily increasing every year despite extreme persecution, according to a new report that investigates and analyses the conditions of religious freedom (or should we rather say the lack of it) in this country.
The annual White Paper on Religious Freedom in North Korea from The Database Center for North Korean Human Rights found that the number of North Koreans who responded that “they have an experience of seeing the Bible” increased by four per cent each year since 2000.
Before 2000, only sixteen people claimed to have seen a Bible. After 2000, up to 559 North Korean defectors said they had “seen a Bible,” even though religious literature is banned in the isolated country.
When asked about the level of punishment for religious activities in the country, 46.7% of the respondents answered they have to go to prison camps. About 38.6% of respondents said that they did not know about punishments since they knew nothing about religion.
According to the Center, religious persecution has increased after leader Kim Jong Un issued an order in April 2014 to “arrest people who had contacts with Christianity.”
Since then, security forces have actively searched for religious adherents — even in inner China. Employees of the National Security Department, Reconnaissance General Bureau, and the Embassy in China are mobilised to arrest people who have contacted Christianity, the report says.