North Korea is perhaps the most secretive, secluded countries on the planet. A place where few if any enter, and even fewer leave alive. This past week, a South Korean newspaper reported that at least 80 people were put to death for “owning Bibles and watching television.” Consistent with prior executions committed by the Kim Jong-un regime, this particular story of mass murder has merit. In August, Kim Jong-un had an ex-girlfriend and a dozen other persons executed by firing squad. The oppressive communist regime claimed they were killed for violating pornography laws, but the truth is they had Bibles in their possession. This is an automatic death sentence.
On November 3rd, as many as 80 people were viciously executed in North Korea at seven different locations across the country. In the first large-scale public executions of the Kim Jong-un terror regime, groups of eight people, in the various location, were systematically slaughtered by firing squad. This is the horror of North Korea.
A source, who is familiar with internal affairs in the North and who recently visited the country, told the paper that about 10 people were killed in each city.
Wonsan authorities gathered a crowd of 10,000 people, including children, at Shinpoong Stadium and forced them to watch the killings.
What were those executed charged with? The regime claims they were killed for watching illicit South Korean TV dramas, and some with prostitution.
Kim Jong-un’s regime, like his father’s before him, is notorious for its persecution of Christians. Merely possessing a Bible can be a cause for execution. And this appears to be the case in this instance. Having the Bible in one’s possession is an unforgivable offensive.
It is impossible to imagine the terror and the horror of being forced to watch a public execution. Watching people with their heads covered being riddled with bullets, and knowing that anyone could face execution for any number of “crimes” would be terrifying. Persecution in North Korea is this extreme. And the outside world is powerless to intervene.
Both the Huffington Post and the Daily Mail reported that some of those executed may have been punished for owning Bibles.
And here is the truth. They owned Bibles. The Bible is a direct threat to a dictator like Jong-un who demands his people worship him as a god. But more than this, the gospel offends. And just as Christians are brutally tortured and killed in Islamic countries for refusing to submit to Islam, so too are Christians massacred in Communist North Korea.
Relatives or accomplices of the execution victims implicated in their alleged crimes were sent to prison camps. There is no clear reason for the executions. Simultaneous executions in seven cities could suggest an extreme measure by the North Korean government to quell public unrest or any capitalistic inclinations that may accompany its development projects.
Practicing the Christian faith is illegal in North Korea, where merely owning a Bible is considered criminal. According to Fox News, “any person caught with one is sent – along with three generations of his or her family – to prison.”
American Pastor Eric Foley has been air-dropping Bibles into North Korea using GPS-guided balloons filled with hydrogen since 2003. His group, Seoul USA, says it has dropped 50,000 Christian texts into North Korea this year alone, according to its website.
North Korean Christians truly are persecuted beyond belief. In a nation as secluded and isolated as North Korea, their sufferings are often overlooked because of this secrecy.
The North Korean leadership forces its citizens to embrace the Juche ideology “which mixes Marxism with worship of the late ‘Great Leader’ Kim Il Sung and his family,” Fox News reported.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide has called the human right’s violations in North Korea “appalling” and quite possibly, the worst of any country in the world. And given this latest story of mass public execution by firing squad, this assessment would be precisely accurate. The people of North Korea have no freedom and with a tyrant like Kim Jong-un having absolute power, the situation for those under his oppressive regime is bleak.