China Targets North Korea's Christian Refugees, North Kills Them
Christian refugees in Communist China are forcibly abducted and returned to North Korea by agents of Pyongyang’s Ministry of State Security, under a 2021 immigration policy of Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping, the authors of a new report published on Thursday revealed.
Christians who escape to China are flagged as believers by the Chinese authorities who return captured defectors, setting them up for additional persecution when back in North Korea, revealed the authors a new report published by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom on Thursday. Many Christian refugees in China are forcibly abducted and returned to North Korea by agents of Pyongyang’s Ministry of State Security, specialists emphasised.
The North Korean regime sends returned refugees to the death camps, including the uranium mines or extreme-conditions labor that deteriorate their health.
The specialists based their conclusions on the analysis of interviews with victims of the Commission-identified sixty-eight cases of state prosecution over religious issues. These interviews are extremely hard to obtain in the world's most tightly closed society of a totalitarian country.
They authors of the report informed that twenty-four cases were related to Christianity, and one case was related to Cheondogyo, a native pantheistic religion, and the rest to to the adherents of shamanism.
The Commission obtained an evidence for execution of six Christians in the country in 2020, with as many as 40 others sentenced to life at that time, according to Ms. Suyeon Yoo, co-director of human rights organization Korea Future, which co-produced the report. The system “relies on fear of the state, rather than a faith in Mr. Kim.” She noted that where North Korea had an estimated 250,000 Christians in 1950, that number has dwindled to a few thousand today due to the intense persecution.
The US federal religious liberty panel that launched the report said that North Korea’s government “poses an acute challenge” to religious practice in the country, with an organized and intensifying campaign of harassment against an expanding array of faiths.
Ms. Yoo said Wuhan virus lockdowns along the China-North Korea border have stopped any delivery of Christian materials from leaders and caretakers working along the divide, and restricted contact between those mature Christians and the young North Korean believers.
Said Inje Hwang, a Korea Future investigator who co-authored the report, One Christian victim was nearly beaten to death and left on the floor to be seen by other prisoners. He added that Christianity is persecuted because of its connections to the West and its emphasis on evangelism. Believers get “severe persecution” within the system, facing either summary execution or a life sentence to a prison camp, Mr. Hwang informed.
Another reason for the persecution of Christians by North Korean regime is internal security. The regime concerned about its illegitimacy must generate praise and worship to the leader, stated Dr. Joe Willbone, a former advisor on North Korea to the European governments. The appearance of widespread and shared devotion is crucial from the security perspective. It does not have to be an authentic and genuine one, he added. This appearance of praise to the leader is the source of stability for the insecure Communist Party.
The specialists also emphasised that Mr. Xi Jinping changed the immigration laws in September 2020, not allowing Christian refugees to settle or even transfer to Communist China. In some cases, Chinese police have permission to imprison Christians in specially designated locations. These are, mostly, inaccessible by anyone camps in Xinjiang, the witnesses told specialists.
Kim's Party War Against Christianity and Any Religious Belief
The Workers’ Party of Korea enforces the absolute denial of religious belief through the active mobilization of the Ministry of State Security, the Ministry of People’s Security, the Prosecutor’s Office, and multiple organizational units, among other mechanisms, that govern the daily lives of citizens, the report concluded.
Accountability is in this respect as much about the process as the end goal. It’s not about targeting North Korea, but upholding international law, stated Mr. James Burt, Korea Future’s chief strategy officer, and the other report co-author.
He called for a United Nations invoked trial on the order of the Nuremberg war trials of Nazi leaders and functionaries at the end of World War II.
The panel monitors religious freedom violations abroad and makes policy recommendations to the White House and Congress.