Seoul (AsiaNews) - Christians in North Korea "celebrated Christmas as others
did around the world, but in underground tunnels that are hidden from the
authorities. They risked their lives, and continue to risk their lives every
time they pray. Although here in South Korea there are many churches, Christians
in the South have no idea how fervent the prayers of those in the North are,"
said Han Min, a North Korean who fled Pyongyang's Stalinist regime. With the
help of a Protestant Church, he was able to escape persecution and converted.
Han is a
member of the Durihana Church in Seoul, which is run by Rev Chun Ki -won. For about
14 years, this community has been committed to helping those who want to leave
the northern part of the peninsula.
his estimates, the congregation has helped about 1,000 North Koreans flee over
this period of time. After escaping to China, they usually travel to Southeast
Asia and then South Korea.
is convinced that the aid his Church provides these desperate people "naturally"
leads them to Christianity.
North Korea, a virtual cult is in place," he said. "Everything is focused on
Kim Il-sung, the way a religious believer would focus on God. Exiles know this
reality and so can easily adapt to the Christian system."
In one of
the last totalitarian regimes in the world, some state-controlled churches exist,
but "just for propaganda, to show the world that they have freedom of
"I do not
recognise these churches because their intentions are not sincere. But in North
Korea, there are places that we could call churches but they are underground,
places where two or three gather in secret, risking their life, to celebrate
about hundred people celebrated the holy day together with Han Min in freedom,
in Rev Chun's church.
"This is a time when one should be with
those one loves, especially one's family. For me, it would be enough to know if
my family is still alive, since I have not heard from them for about 16 years."