World Watch List 2015

North Korea

Main Source of Persecution: Dictatorial Paranoia

For the thirteenth year in a row, North Korea sits atop the Open Doors World Watch List as the hardest place to be a Christian.

Kim Jong Un still has a lot of power. He demands God-like worship, and his rule includes the Worker’s Party, the Army, Administration and all strands of society. No one is allowed or able to challenge or question this rule, meaning that there is no room for any other religion.

For Christians, pressure is high in every sphere of life. It is dangerous even to keep a Bible, let along to read it or to worship, alone or with other believers. Very rarely does a believer share their faith with family members, as doing so can have extreme consequences.

According to the World Factbook, "autonomous religious activities almost nonexistent; government-sponsored religious groups exist to provide illusion of religious freedom."

If Christians are discovered, they will be punished and their families will suffer too. It’s likely that immediate family members will serve a sentence in a re-education camp, if they are not discovered being Christians themselves. Christians are sent to political labor camps from which there is no release possible, meaning they will work there until they die. Meeting with other Christians under these circumstances is virtually impossible.

North Korean police officials hunt down and vigorously prosecute North Koreans who convert to Christianity while in China or those who attempt to bring Christian literature, primarily Bible verses, back with them to North Korea.