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North Korea

Country Profile

Language: Korean

North Koreans speak a dialect of Korean that is significantly different than the Korean spoken in South Korea. Due to the communist government’s secretive nature, little is known about the current status of Christians inside North Korea. Pyongyang, the capital, was known as the “Jerusalem of the East” in the early 1900s because of its 2,000-plus churches. The communist government depends on Juche (the North Korean religion that requires worship and subservience to the Kim family) to maintain stability, and Christianity is considered subversive. Anyone discovered to be a Christian (or, in many cases, discovered to have had contact with Christian ideas) is considered an enemy of the state. The gospel is still proclaimed in North Korea through various creative means, including shortwave radio and bold evangelists who risk their lives smuggling materials into the country. Religious freedom is nonexistent, and the government claims all North Koreans follow the Juche religion. If discovered, Christians face harsh persecution from the government and from members of the community. In general, all North Koreans fear being accused of acting benevolently toward an “enemy of the state.”