South Korea and North Korea United for Winter Olympics
The Winter Olympics have kicked off in Pyeongchang. South Korea and North Korea are marching under a unified flag. And with a joint women’s ice hockey team, it’s the first time the two countries have competed together in years.
Dr Matthew Rees, Advocacy Policy Officer at Open Doors, said, “As many nations come together to take part in the Winter Olympics, let us not forget that every day over 300,000 Christians are denied the right to take part in the religious observance of their choice. They are a beleaguered community who are fighting for their very survival.”
“Every aspect of life in North Korea is controlled by the state,” Rees continued. “The belief that God is a higher authority than the nation’s leader, Kim Jong-un, is seen as a threat that must be crushed. Tens of thousands of Christians are incarcerated in horrific labour camps, and thousands more keep their faith in Christ a complete secret.”
“They ignore all freedoms,” said Timothy, a North Korean refugee. “The human rights level is zero per cent. Religions are not allowed. The leader of North Korea has to be worshipped as god, and this will not change unless the regime collapses.”
In South Korea, however, a 2015 study revealed about a third of the population considered themselves to be Christian.
Pray many North Koreans can discover Christ through their South Korean team members during the Winter Olympics.
Despite the tremendous persecution believer’s face, the church in North Korea still continues to grow.