Tens of thousands of Christians in North Korea are believed to be detained in unspeakably harsh conditions in prison labour camps. Abused and worked to death, Christians are often dispatched to the camps, along with their entire families, simply for possessing a Bible, or for being caught praying. Some have been publically executed. North Korea is consistently ranked as the most dangerous country in the world to be a Christian. Believers meet in secret, facing the fear of death or life-long imprisonment; authorities have been known to try and trap Christians by organising fake prayer meetings and asking children in school if they have seen their parents praying or reading the Bible.
Although freedom for all religions is severely restricted in North Korea, Christians suffer the most severe persecution. Their failure to follow the ideology of Juche, which venerates the country’s despotic ruler Kim Jong Un, is seen as a threat to the state. The economic situation for most of the population is extremely poor and has been exacerbated by flooding which damaged last year’s harvest, leaving swathes of the population facing starvation. The government maintains extremely tight control of information; North Koreans have no access to foreign media and the availability of Christian literature is severely limited.
Hundreds of thousands of North Koreans, including many Christians, have fled to China and South Korea, although the Chinese government routinely repatriates those caught crossing the border, or found living in China. Those returned who are suspected of being Christians experience the harshest treatment.
Cry out to God for the people of North Korea, who are brutally oppressed by their government. Especially lift up in prayer Christians enduring beatings and abuse in labour camps; may they know that their suffering will bring an eternal weight of glory (2 Corinthians 4:17). Pray for protection over believers as they meet in utmost secrecy. Ask that they will know peace and unity as they risk their lives to follow Christ.