Essential Christmas reading

‘They torture the Christian the most’
North Korean concentration camp

North Korean concentration camp

The following comes from a Dec. 8 email sent by David Alton, a pro-life member of England’s House of Lords.

Lord Alton is co-chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on North Korea.

“Christmas spent in a North Korean gulag will be just another day of grotesque suffering. Evidence given at a recent inquiry held at Westminster revealed a catalogue of egregious and systematic crimes against humanity – with Christians often targeted for especially cruel and inhumane treatment. The Inquiry’s findings add to the demands made last month at the UN, by 111 countries, that those responsible for these violations should be brought before the International Criminal Court.

“We who enjoy political and religious freedom, free to celebrate Christmas with our loved ones, must speak out and take practical actions to help bring the long winter of oppression to an end. This report should be essential Christmas reading for Governments, MPs, and policy makers.”

Quotations from the report:

Kim Il-sung quotes: “religious people should die to cure their habit”.

“(We) cannot carry such religiously active people along our march toward a communist society. Therefore, we have tried and executed all religious leaders higher than a deacon in the Protestant and Catholic churches. Among other religiously active people, those deemed malignant were all put to trial. Among ordinary religious believers, those who recanted were given jobs while those who did not were held in prison camps.” (1962).

The Ten Principles in 1974 DPRK citizens were commanded to “Accept the Great Leader Comrade Kim Il-sung’s revolutionary thought as your belief and take the Great Leader’s instructions as your creed.”

Religious history of DPRK Korea has a rich religious heritage. Buddhism, Confucianism and Shamanism have been practiced on the Korean peninsula for centuries with other religions, such as Christianity and Tonghak arriving much later – Christianity first in the 1600s and Tonghak in the 1800s. Such was the widespread adherence to Christianity in North Korea that, by the twentieth century, Pyongyang was known as “the Jerusalem of the East.” Pope John Paul II said that the Korean church was “unique in the story of the Church.”

One refugee described how he and his wife hid under a blanket to sing hymns, whereas another reported how their friend was taken to one of the most notorious prison camps in the DPRK after being seen saying grace over dinner.

Propaganda In one DPRK book, ‘The Jackals’, a cartoon shows an American missionary poisoning a Korean boy.

State surveillance One former Public Safety Agency employee recounts: “we gave instructions to the neighbourhood unit and the Primary Party Committee to watch certain [Christian] people. We told them to watch them closely and report the people who visit them. We were to be informed every 15 days.”

Treatment in prison camps Kim Sung-Min, a former captain in the North Korean army: “Inside the camp there are two types of prisoner, the anti-government type and the religious type. Neither type gets out – they are in until they die.”

When in a camp, religious followers and particularly Christians are subject to especially harsh treatment. One woman, arrested for her faith, was “assigned to pull the cart used to remove excrement from the prison latrines. Several times the guards made her lick off excrement that had spilled over in order to humiliate and discipline her.”

Jeon Young-ok, who was imprisoned and brutalised in a DPRK camp, testified that “They tortured the Christians the most. They were denied food and sleep. They were forced to stick out their tongue and iron was pushed into it.”

Punishment of families Mr. Timothy’s father was arrested in 2003 for being part of a Christian church whilst in China and was sent to the notorious Yodok Camp. Mr Timothy, 14 years old at this time, was also sent to a labour training camp for one year. Ms Seo Keum Ok was arrested in 2009 for distributing Bibles. She was accused of “spying and of ‘being a Catholic’ with connections with the United States and ROK”. Ms Seo suffered ‘indescribable torture’. Her husband was also imprisoned

and her children went missing. On 16 June 2009, Ms Ryi Hyuk Ok was executed for distributing Bibles. She was also accused of the same crimes. Her husband, children and parents were sent to a political prison camp.

Many whose spouses are caught are forced to divorce them in a bid to save the rest of their family, as described by one woman: “the judge asked my husband whether he wanted to divorce and he nodded his head to say yes… if he disagreed to a divorce, the rest of the family members would face many difficulties… My husband just looked at me with tears in his eyes.”

DPRK refugees Of all the refugees interviewed by the Database Centre for North Korean Human Rights, 99.7% said that there is no religious freedom in North Korea. The interviewees’ testimonies showed that victims of religious persecution were 45.5% Protestant, 0.2% Catholic, 1.3% Buddhist, 1.7% no religion, 1.1% ‘others’ and 50.3% unknown. Many religious people are discovered when forcibly repatriated to the DPRK after trying to flee.

The UN Commission of Inquiry concluded that “in forcibly returning DPRK nationals, China has violated its obligation to respect the principle of non-refoulement under international refugee and human rights law. In some cases, Chinese officials also appear to provide information on those

apprehended to their DPRK counterparts to the known danger of those affected”, noting that “In a number of cases, there seemed to be targeted operations to find and apprehend DPRK nationals.”

UK involvement in Korean war The Korean War, 1950-1953: The UN contingent included troops, not only from the USA and Britain, but also from Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Colombia, Turkey, the Philippines, France and many others. The USA made the largest contribution of troops and equipment; Britain the second. By Spring 1951, Britain’s contribution to the UN forces was 12,000 strong.

Genocide of religious groups Former Chief Justice Michael Kirby said in a subsequent interview, “The proof of the pudding is found in statistics which are published by North Korea itself. The statistics reveal that at the partition…the identifying Christian population in North Korea was roughly the same as it is to this day in South Korea, about 23% identified as Christians. Now, according to figures published by North Korea, the identified Christian population in the country is 0.8%….

To read more from the all-party group in parliament, click here.

To read the announcement of the North Korea report to be released Dec. 10, click here.

 

 

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  1. Abeca Christian says:

    ” crimes against humanity – with Christians often targeted for especially cruel and inhumane treatment.” This is an on going thing happening in all parts of the world. Even here in America. Not as violent but in other ways. Our Beloved Jesus is with us till the end of times. The devil is envious. There is that issue of envy even from within the church as well. People with little regard of each person’s human dignity. This past Sunday our pastor talked about envy and how far it can go. Even Christians who envy the gifts that God gives to others. The enemy has no shame, the enemy pushes a tone of moral relativism. There is no right or wrong…just His or her way, and their way is to destroy the Christian. There is a threat, it seems like its those in power who hate Christianity, but those who hold the power are actually threatened by the message that Christian’s share. It is a form of spiritual envy, that want to kill the Christian and destroy what they can in their power. God protect all Christians who risk their lives to share His message.

  2. Abeca Christian says:

    “To Love and To Suffer” – The Science of the Saints
    We live in a world that flees from suffering. Since the time of our youth, we have been raised to view suffering as an impediment to happiness; that the less we suffer, the happier we will be. This belief is common not only to secular society, but also to religious groups and philosophies as well. Even certain eastern religions were founded on the principle that suffering is the primordial evil in life, from which mankind must escape (for example, the central tenets of Buddhism; the “Four Noble Truths”). For many people, suffering is viewed as an evil without value, and thus any means should be taken to avoid even a common cold. Yet, in the writings of the saints, we find an entirely different reality; that it is precisely suffering that strengthens us, humbles us, and forges us into saints. But more than this, we discover that suffering is of such inestimable redemptive worth, that nothing equals it in heaven or on earth. As Our Lord told Saint Faustina; “If the angels were capable of envy, they would envy us for two things: one is the receiving of Holy Communion, and the other is suffering.” (p.1805)

  3. Abeca Christian says:

    “You who are envious, let me tell you that however often you may seek for the opportunity of injuring him whom you hate, you will never be able to do him so much harm as you do harm to yourselves. He whom you would punish through the malice of your envy, may probably escape, but you will never be able to fly from yourselves. Wherever you may be your adversary is with you, your sin rankles within. It must be a self-willed evil to persecute a person whom God has taken under the protection of His grace; it becomes an irremediable sin to hate a man whom God wishes to make happy. Envy is as prolific as it is hurtful; it is the root of all evil, the source of endless disorder and misery, the cause of most sins that are committed. Envy gives birth to hatred and animosity. From it avarice is begotten, for it sees with an evil eye honors and emoluments heaped upon a stranger, and thinks that such honors should have been, by right, bestowed upon himself. From envy comes contempt of God, and of the salutary precepts of our Savior. The envious man is cruel, proud, unfaithful, impatient, and quarrelsome; and, what is strange, when this vice gains the mastery, he is no longer master of himself, and he is unable to correct his many faults. If the bond of peace is broken,it is often envy that hurries him on to crime.

    –Saint Cyprian of Carthage

  4. Abeca Christian says:

    “You who are envious, let me tell you that however often you may seek for the opportunity of injuring him whom you hate, you will never be able to do him so much harm as you do harm to yourselves. He whom you would punish through the malice of your envy, may probably escape, but you will never be able to fly from yourselves. Wherever you may be your adversary is with you, your sin rankles within. It must be a self-willed evil to persecute a person whom God has taken under the protection of His grace; it becomes an irremediable sin to hate a man whom God wishes to make happy. Envy is as prolific as it is hurtful; it is the root of all evil, the source of endless disorder and misery, the cause of most sins that are committed. Envy gives birth to hatred and animosity. From it avarice is begotten, for it sees with an evil eye honors and emoluments heaped upon a stranger, and thinks that such honors should have been, by right, bestowed upon himself.
    –Saint Cyprian of Carthage

  5. Abeca Christian says:

    From envy comes contempt of God, and of the salutary precepts of our Savior. The envious man is cruel, proud, unfaithful, impatient, and quarrelsome; and, what is strange, when this vice gains the mastery, he is no longer master of himself, and he is unable to correct his many faults. If the bond of peace is broken, if the rights of fraternal charity are violated, if truth is altered or disguised, it is often envy that hurries him on to crime. What happiness can such a man enjoy in this world? To be envious or jealous of another, because such a one is virtuous and happy, is to hate in him the graces and blessings God has showered down upon him. Does he not punish himself when he sees the success and welfare of others? Does he not draw down upon himself tortures from which there is no respite? Are not his thoughts, his mind, constantly on the rack? He pitilessly punishes himself, and, in his heart, performs the same cruel office which Divine Justice reserves for the chastisement of the greatest criminal.”

    –Saint Cyprian of Carthage

  6. Christians in Korea, China and many other nations suffer unimaginable privations, imprisonment and torture for their faith. Here in the U.S., where we have religious freedom, many people don’t bother to go to church or support Christian prinicples. Why is that?

  7. St. Christopher says:

    Beyond sad — where are our bishops in condemning this treatment? Our country?

    Interesting that, regarding these martyrs, a very small number are Catholic; the highest part, by far, are Protestants — likely evangelicals. And, around Washington, DC, evangelical “Korean Christian” churches are sprouting everywhere. It is good to see that someone is spreading the word to the World.

    You see, Catholic evangelizing is pretty much a non sequitur, particularly since Vatican II and very much so under Francis. What does the Pope say, that he dislikes “proselytizing”? Interesting that this word is defined, in part, as “convert or attempt to convert [.]” But Christ’s own Church does not do much of this at all anymore. What was it Christ said (in part) before He left this world: “Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost//Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you[.]” Matt. 28, 19-20 (DRA).

    Strong language, with absolutely no discretion to the receiver, and no whining about “respecting other cultures” and “be sensitive” and “welcoming those who persist in sin”, none of that — Christ said to “go” into the world, “baptize” pagans, and “teach” them “to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” Wow.

  8. I often find myself thinking about and praying for those suffering in dark, forgotten cells around the world who are guilty of nothing more than being Christians. China does unspeakable things to Christians in the western provinces and it is believe that these prisonors are used for the hideous human organs trade, as well as other crimes such as medical experiments. Reagan called N.Korea one of the three evil empires but if we could speak openly about a nation we’re deeply in debt to, there are certainly more than three. They spy on everything and use our secret information which when they feel strong enough we’ll see how effective our military designs are against us. May we keep these beautiful faithful souls i prayer…who live their faith despite tremendous odds . Think of having no one to care whether you live or die in a state that doesn’t even respect your humanity. Dennis Rodman should be deeply ashamed and actually he shouldn’t even be allowed there.

  9. Let us pray, dear friends,
    That God the almighty Father
    May heal the sick,
    Comfort the dying,
    Give safety to travelers,
    Free those unjustly deprived of liberty,
    And rid the world of falsehood,
    Hunger and disease.

    Almighty, ever-living God,
    You give strength to the weary
    And new courage to those who have lost heart.
    Hear the prayers of all who call on you in trouble
    That they may have the joy of receiving your help in their need.
    We ask this through Christ our Lord.
    Amen.
    From the Good Friday Prayers of the Catholic Church

  10. This is what “Social Justice” looks like.

  11. Please do not buy religious articles “made in China”, or any other Communist country.

  12. North Korea is the Left in its purest form….

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