Did atheist N. Korea's leaders really say they'll "pray" for Kim Jong-il?
Why have his successors called for three minutes of prayer at the end of his official mourning period?
BY: Rob Kerby
The portraits must be hung on the best wall of every home, and nothing else can be hung under the portraits. Families with high loyalty to the Party bow down under the portraits even when nobody is watching.”
“Religious freedom is not allowed in North Korea because it will ruin the deification of Kim Il Sung.”
“Having faith in God is an act of espionage. Only Kim Il Sung is a god in North Korea.”
“Juche itself is a religion, therefore they worry that people may forsake Juche for another religion.”
How is that worry expressed against underground Christians when they are discovered?
Hawke tells of two interviewees who told stories of persecution of Christians. One told him:
“A young woman, in her twenties, was washing clothes in a tributary to the Tumen River (the border between China and North Korea). When packing up the clothes, she dropped what was believed to be a small Bible. The actual words used by the North Korean authorities were “Christianity book” (kiddokyo chaek).
“Another washer woman reported the girl to the police. According to Interviewee 4, the informer may not have known that the book was a Bible, but all suspicious activity had to be reported to the police.
“The young woman and her father, looking to be roughly sixty years old, were arrested and held by the local Gukgabowibu police for some three months. During that time, the woman and her father were presumably investigated and interrogated. Apparently, they were deemed guilty of a capital offense. On a summer morning in 1997, the two were taken to a market area near where the Seong Cheon River runs into the Tumen River.
“The two were accused of trafficking and condemned as traitors to the nation and Kim Jong Il.
“Teachers and students from elementary (4th grade and up), middle, and high school were assembled, along with persons who had been sent over from the nearby market. Seven police fired three shots each into the two victims, who had been tied to stakes a few meters from the “trial” area. The force of the rifle shots, fired from fifteen meters away, caused blood and brain matter to be blown out of their heads. Interviewee was in the fifth row.”
Hawke relates this account from a refugee he calls “Interviewee 17″:
“While Interviewee 17 was in the North Korean Army, his unit was dispatched to widen the highway between Pyongyang and the nearby port city of Nampo.
“They were demolishing a vacated house in Yongkang county, Yongkang district town, when in a basement between two bricks they found a Bible and a small notebook that contained 25 names, one identified as pastor, two as chon-do-sa (assistant pastors), two as elders, and 20 other names, apparently parishioners, identified by their occupations.
“The soldiers turned the Bible and notebook over to the local branch of Department 15 of the Korean Workers Party (KWP), but the Party officials said it was up to the military police unit, Bowisaryungbu gigwanwon, to investigate.
“Tracked down at their place of work through the listing of occupation in the notebook, the 25 persons were picked up without formal arrest by the military bowibu.
“In November 1996, the 25 were brought to the road construction site. Four concentric rectangular rows of spectators were assembled to watch the execution. Interviewee 17 was in the first row.
“The five leaders to be executed – the pastor, two assistant pastors, and two elders – were bound hand and foot and made to lie down in front of a steamroller. This steamroller was a large construction vehicle imported from Japan with a heavy, huge, and wide steel roller mounted on the front to crush and level the roadway prior to pouring concrete. The other twenty persons were held just to the side.
“ The condemned were accused of being Kiddokyo (Protestant Christian) spies and conspiring to engage in subversive activities. Nevertheless, they were told, ‘If you abandon religion and serve only