"As the tragedy of Korean separation continues after almost seven decades, one remembers ... that the northern half of the Korean Peninsula was once of the cradle of the Korean Presbyterian Church," Greg Scarlatoiu, the executive director of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea who has led in the publication of at least 24 reports and books on the Kim regime's human rights abuses, said during a panel discussion with other human rights experts.
"Prior to the Communist takeover, the capital city of Pyongyang used to be known as the 'Jerusalem of the East,'" he continued. "In North Korea, Christianity was once a way of life with two churches on the same street corner [being] a common sight."
... for the past 15 years, North Korea has ranked as the top persecutor of Christians by Open Doors USA. Although there are state-run churches in North Korea, Scarlatoiu asserted that they are run by government officials disguised as pastors and priests.
Real Christian worship, or religious worship, is illegal and can lead to arrest, torture and even execution.
Despite the lack of access to North Korea, there are believed to be at least 120,000 people who are being tortured, beaten and forced to do hard labor in North Korean prison camps. In 2014, the United Nations reported that hundreds of thousands of prisoners have died in North Korean gulags in the last 50 years.
... "I have never seen a country this closed and difficult to get access," Kumar said. "It's a completely isolated country. I was thinking which country to compare. There is no country to compare."
In the western corridor of North Korea, in three provinces of North Korea, there are at least 60,000 underground Christians.
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