South Korean Christians see North Korea missionary opportunity
"As North Korea begins to cautiously open its locked society to get the aid it needs to survive, South Korean Christian groups supporting a network of largely Protestant underground worshipers see an opportunity to increase membership," reports a front-page story in today's Washington Post. But the country's opening the door a crack doesn't mean things are getting any easier for Christians in the country, as the article makes clear: "Despite North Korea's official policy of religious tolerance and expanded activities of the government-sanctioned churches, the proselytizing that is fundamental to Christianity is still seen as a threat to the Pyongyang regime that can bring a death sentence." The incidents and statistics reported in the Post piece are horrific. An estimated 6,000 Christians are incarcerated in one "notorious" prison—and there's only between 10,000 and 300,000 Christians among the country's 22 million residents. One of the most horrific stories comes from Lee Soon Ok, a former political prisoner who is not herself a Christian, but saw how they were treated in prison. "The torture, and the worst ways of execution, were most harsh on the Christians," she tells the Post. "They didn't give them clothes. They were considered animals. And in the factories, they killed them by pouring molten steel on them." And the North Korean government is apparently well aware that opening the door to humanitarian aid may lead to secret missionary work. The Post reports that the government has increased rewards for anti-missionary informants and launched "education sessions" on how to identify and "extract" Christians.

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