Seoul (AsiaNews) – Religion “is spreading like a cancer inside North Korea’s armed forces, whose mission is to defend Socialism;” for this reason it “must be eradicated without delay since it comes from our enemies from around the world,” this according to a booklet prepared by the Propaganda Department of the North Korean Army titled 'Saving Our Soldiers from the Threat of Religion'. A copy reached a member of the Committee for the Democratisation of North Korea, a group of political exiles and refugees that had it translated and released.
“We should not look, listen, read the documents, broadcastings and video or audio materials made by the enemy. The enemy is using radio and TV to launch false propaganda through well-made, strategic news and intrigue,” the booklet warned.
“They are placing spies within international delegations entering our borders to spread their religions and superstitious beliefs and win our citizens over to their side. [. . .]
“Religion and superstition are like poison that corrupts socialism and paralyses class consciousness. Our soldiers must, more than ever, instigate a revolutionary awakening to defy the enemies’ manoeuvres.”
Religious worship is allowed in North Korea as long as it is the personality cult of Kim Jong-Il and his father, the late Kim Il-Sung.
Followers of traditional religions have obstacles to surmount, especially Buddhists and Christians, such as joining Communist Party-controlled organisations.
Those who do not join are persecuted, often brutally and violently. Anyone engaged in any kind of missionary activity is the recipient of a similar treatment.
Since the end of the Korean War in 1953 about 300,000 Christians have disappeared in North Korea—any priest or nun who was alive then has disappeared, most likely persecuted to death.
About 100,000 are surviving in labour camps with hunger and torture as their main companions and, for some, with death just around the corner.
This is corroborated by former North Korean officials and ex prisoners who have said that Christians in the camps are singled out for especially harsh treatment.[ religious-freedom ] [ religious-intolerance ]