North Korea: 23 Arrested, 3 Executed for Practicing Christianity

It was recently confirmed that in mid-May, twenty-three North Koreans were arrested and three were executed, after attending an underground Christian religious gathering.  The North Korean Intellectual Solidarity has confirmed the information of the arrests and executions, the group are North Korean exiles. 

 After the Korean War ended in 1953, the regime that currently holds power took over the country and exterminated an estimated 200,000 Catholic worshipers, their churches and abbeys.  There are now only three officially recognized places of Christian worship in the Country.  All are located in the country’s capital Pyongyang.  It is estimated that only 200 Catholics remain in the country, and all are very old. 

Currently there is only one “cult” that is allowed in the country, that of the ‘Eternal President’ Kim Il-sung and his son ‘Dear Leader’ Kim Jon-il. 

The twenty-three North Koreans who were arrested were holding a religious ceremony in a house church in the Pyongan Province.  After the arrest, it is said the members were interrogated at length, and the leaders of the group were sentenced to execution.  The remaining twenty members were sent to Kwan-li-so No 15 in Yod?k, a penal labor colony. 

The raid, and arrests, happened shortly after the country made what turned out to be a disastrous financial reform.  As the economy floundered, many people began to turn to religion for hope and guidance.  The governmental ban on practicing unapproved Christianity has been in place since the Stalinist regime took over after the Korean War.

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