North Korea (MNN) — For the 10th
straight year, North Korea tops the Open Doors World Watch List as the country where Christians face the most severe persecution.
North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un hasn't made any essential changes in the year after the death of his father, Kim Jong-Il. He has been too preoccupied with building his image and tightening security to make changes.
The "Dear Leader" Kim Jong-Il told the people three years ago that in 2012, North Korea would once again be a strong and prosperous country. He died in December of 2011, leaving the country to his son, Kim Jong-Un.
Open Doors USA reports, "The regime tried to model this young leader after his grandfather. His appearance and public speeches mirror North Korea's 'Eternal President.'" There are still many differences. Kim Jong-Un's attendance of performances with Disney figures, female musicians, and an orchestra playing music from a Rocky movie were widely televised. However, the dream of a strong and prosperous nation is still far from reality.
The number of trained North Korean spies in China is growing. Border patrol has been taken over by the National Security Agency, which puts pressure on captured smugglers to disclose information about Christians helping refugees.
In at least one region of North Korea, citizens are pressured to confess their crimes. A person told a reporter from DailyNK.com, "They are gathering people by factory, school, and people's units and telling them to write letters confessing precisely what foreign media they have viewed up to now. When they give you the paper, they warn you, saying they know everything anyway so just write it down: when, where, and what you saw; where and from whom you got it; and your impression of it."
Open Doors contacts that live in North Korea have reported no changes in their circumstances. There is no sign that Kim Jong-Un will improve religious freedom. Some arrested Christians were tortured and then released in order to betray their brothers and sisters or to serve as bait.
One Open Doors co-worker in North Korean said, "It's so dangerous to help Christians who have been released by the government. Some have been tortured so severely they cannot walk anymore. Often we cannot help them, because that would bring too much risk to us. We can pray for them. We know that Jesus will not leave them, nor forsake them."
Pray for the Christians who are being persecuted on a daily basis. Ask God to be with those who are being tortured. Pray that God's Word will continue to be shared.