A two-year-old is set to spend his entire life in a prison camp after his Christian parents were found with a Bible in their homes, according to a report by the US State Department
According to the US State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report, a distressing account emerged of a toddler who was allegedly sentenced to life in a North Korean prison camp due to his parents’ possession of a Bible in their home.
The report also highlighted numerous instances of Christians in North Korea facing severe persecution, including executions and torture.
The report mentioned the firing squad execution of a woman and her grandchild in 2011, along with the agonizing practice of “pigeon torture,” where believers were suspended with their hands tied behind their backs for days, rendering them unable to sit or stand.
Victims described it as the most excruciating form of torture, leading some to contemplate death as a preferable alternative.
Sleep deprivation was another method of torment employed, with one woman in solitary confinement driven to suicide in 2020 after being denied sleep by prison guards. Under the regime of Kim Jong-un, it is estimated that as many as 70,000 Christians have been imprisoned for their faith, out of a possible population of 400,000.
The report also noted that some North Korean Christians concealed their faith from their children due to the intense scrutiny and monitoring by authorities. Children were encouraged to report any indication of religious activities in their parents’ homes to their teachers.
Propaganda in schools portrayed Christian missionaries as engaging in evil deeds such as rape, bloodsucking, organ harvesting, murder, and espionage.
Although religious freedom is guaranteed in North Korea’s constitution, the report revealed that the churches operating in Pyongyang primarily serve as showcases for foreigners, rather than as genuine places of worship for the local population.
Those who lingered near churches or showed an interest in their activities were at risk of arrest. Visitors also observed that church services appeared attended mostly by older individuals, with a notable absence of children and younger adults.
While punishments for followers of shamanism ranged from forced labor camps to reeducation facilities, Christians faced even harsher penalties, including execution or imprisonment ranging from 15 years to a lifetime.
Moreover, these penalties could extend to three generations of the guilty person’s immediate family, as Christians were perceived as a “hostile class” and a threat to the state’s loyalty.
The harrowing conditions and pervasive persecution faced by Christians in North Korea present a grim reality that stands in stark contrast to the official portrayal of religious freedom by the regime.
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