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    » 04/09/2014, 00.00


    Pyongyang arrests scores for "religious activities", questions 100 people who could end up in concentration camps

    After a raid late last year, Kim Jong-un's regime has cracked down on North Koreans who have gone abroad and "met members of religions for the purpose of overthrowing the legitimate government." A source says the move is to "engender fear" in people.

    Seoul (AsiaNews) - The North Korean regime is questioning about 100 people in the capital Pyongyang for alleged "illegal contacts with religious groups in China." The decision was taken "to engender fear" and prevent contacts that might "destabilise the government", this according to sources contacted by DailyNK, an online newspaper that monitors the situation in the northern part of the Korean Peninsula.

    According to "credible sources", Kim Jong-un's regime wants to "hit it as hard as possible" people interested in religion in order to make them "an example for others". Kim Jong-un is the third son and heir of the late "dear leader" Kim Jong-il.

    "Having sent 30 people off to prison camps, I am told that a total of around 100 more residents have been taken in for questioning by the Department of State Security," a Pyongyang resident, anonymous for security reasons, said.

    All those arrested had travelled to China for various reasons where, according to the authorities, they entertained a "close relationship" with local Protestant churches involved in helping refugees and more generally North Koreans.

    Under North Korean law, religious freedom "is guaranteed by the constitution" (although in practice it does not exist) but "contacting members of foreign religious groups, who only want to destabilise the government in Pyongyang, is forbidden."

    The campaign against all forms of religiosity, the source said, "has been going on for quite a while, and now everyone is afraid to talk about any visits they might have made to China. Even those who travelled complying with the law, visiting perhaps relatives living abroad for decades, are now trying to pass as unnoticed as possible."

    In North Korea, only the cult of the leader Kim Jong-il and his father Kim Il-sung is allowed. The regime has always tried to crush religious activities, particularly by Buddhists and Christians, and requires that religious believers register with organisations controlled by the Party.

    Christians who are not registered with the former or those who engage in missionary activities are frequently the victims of violent and brutal persecution.

    Since the communist regime consolidated its power after 1953, about 300,000 Christians disappeared. Currently, there are no known priests and nuns in the country; all of those who did exist were likely murdered in a wave of persecutions.

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    See also

    10/11/2004 SOUTH KOREA – NORTH KOREA
    South Korean Buddhist monk travels to the North to rebuild temple
    He is the first Buddhist religious man from the South to travel to the North since the Korean War.

    18/08/2005 NORTH KOREA – SOUTH KOREA
    Archbishop of Seoul appeals for religious freedom in North Korea
    Speaking before a congregation of 20,000 people, Mgr Cheong Jin-suk, Archbishop of Seoul and Apostolic Administrator for Pyŏngyang, calls for religious freedom in the North, key to the country's social development.

    11/04/2005 NORTH KOREA – VATICAN
    N Koreans hold Mass for late Pope

    19/04/2006 NORTH KOREA
    Week of prayer for religious freedom in North Korea
    The initiative was launched by the North Korea Freedom Coalition and backed by Open Doors, an NGO that published the evidence of a woman who survived the Stalinist regime of 'Dear Leader' Kim Jong-il.

    10/06/2014 NORTH KOREA - CHINA
    Korea, Kim jong-un unleashes crackdown on Christianity
    Detention and repatriation for those with ties to the church in China. This outward expansion from the border region is a reflection of the regime's determination to deal with the possibility of mass desertions and thwart the potential of ideological unrest.

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