Leah Barkoukis

Earlier this year, persecution watchdog group Open Doors USA ranked North Korea as the most dangerous place in the world to be a Christian. Sadly, this is a good example of why the repressive country landed in the No. 1 spot for the 12th consecutive year.

Via The Daily Mail:

Thirty-three North Koreans face execution after being charged with attempting to overthrow the repressive regime of Kim Jong-un.

The Koreans have landed themselves in hot water after it emerged they had worked with South Korean Baptist missionary Kim Jung-wook and received money to set up 500 underground churches. It is understood they will be put to death in a cell at the State Security Department.

Experts believe the North Koreans are being punished more harshly than usual as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un combats a wave of dissatisfaction at the regime's isolationist "juche" doctrine.

Missionary Kim Jung-wook was arrested and jailed last year for allegedly trying to establish underground churches. Last week he held a press conference at which he apologized for committing "anti-state" crimes and appealed for his release from North Korean custody.

He told reporters that he was arrested in early October after entering the North from China and trying to make his way to Pyongyang with Bibles, Christian instructional materials and movies.

[…]

A South Korean intelligence source in China took issue with Kim's account, saying that the missionary did not enter North Korea voluntarily, but was kidnapped by agents of the Pyongyang government in China.

And as PJ Media's Rick Moran notes, we shouldn't be using the word 'executed' here. "Using that word would lend some legality and moral framework to Kim’s action," he writes. "This is nothing less than a massacre of innocent human beings — a slaughter that should raise an outcry in every civilized nation of the world."

According to Open Doors, there are approximately 50,000-70,000 Christians currently imprisoned in the country's notoriously brutal labor camps.


Leah Barkoukis

Leah Barkoukis is the Managing Editor at Townhall Magazine.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography