Thursday, November 17, 2005

Korean Reds Targeting Christians - November 16, 2005 - The New York Sun - NY Newspaper

Korean Reds Targeting Christians - November 16, 2005 - The New York Sun - NY Newspaper: "Korean Reds Targeting Christians

By MEGHAN CLYNE - Staff Reporter of the Sun

WASHINGTON - A woman in her 20s executed by a firing squad after being caught with a Bible. Five Christian church leaders punished by being run over by a steamroller before a crowd of spectators who 'cried, screamed out, or fainted when the skulls made a popping sound as they were crushed.'

These and other 'horrifying' violations of human rights and religious freedom in North Korea are reported in a new study by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, titled ''Thank You, Father Kim Il Sung': Eyewitness Accounts of Severe Violations of Freedom of Thought, Conscience, and Religion in North Korea.'

The report, released yesterday, comes as President Bush is touring Asia, calling for increased political freedom. In remarks prepared for delivery early this morning in Japan, the president called on Red China to extend more freedom to its population of 1.3 billion. In an advance text of the speech, President Bush also extolled Taiwan, which Beijing considers a renegade province, as 'a free and democratic Chinese society.' And the president noted North Korean human rights abuses while reassuring the Hermit Kingdom's people.

'Satellite maps of North Korea show prison camps the size of whole cities,' Mr. Bush said. 'We will not forget the people of North Korea.'"


The study was compiled by the author of "Hidden Gulag: Exposing North Korea's Prison Camps," David Hawk, who was assisted by two South Korean researchers, Jae Chunwon and Philo Kim. Together they interviewed 40 re cent North Korean defectors to gain insight into the religious lives of average North Koreans.

From the interviews, according to Mr. Cromartie, the Commission had obtained a "horrifying picture" of the abuses suffered by Christians and other believers in North Korea.

All of the interviewees had fled to South Korea through China, which has become something of a "safety valve" for North Koreans fleeing religious persecution, Mr. Smith told the Sun yesterday. According to the study, China has received a flood of refugees fleeing the Kim dictatorship, and between 50,000 and 100,000 North Korean exiles remain in China, the commission reported.

China, however, considers dissident North Koreans "economic migrants" subject to repatriation, and the study presents a dismal account of those forced to return to North Korea. According to one defector who was grilled by North Korean border guards, the Kim regime fears that "Juche will be toppled by Christianity," referring to the state ideology, and exercises brutal control over North Koreans who have been exposed to Chinese or South Korean Christian churches.

According to the study, in order to preserve the complete control Kim Jong Il exercises over his subjects' minds, repatriated North Koreans are harshly interrogated to determine whether they will infect their countrymen with ideas and information obtained abroad, and Christian believers are often slapped with long prison sentences and hard labor, punishments sometimes passed on to their families and descendants.

The documented fear of Christianity is accompanied by an extensive account of the pervasiveness of the Kims' cult of personality, and the title of the study, "Thank you, Father Kim Il-Sung," refers to the phrase North Korean parents are required to first teach their children.

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