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Christmas in North Korea: the most dangerous place in the world to be a Christian

24 December 2017

Christians in North Korea are not free to celebrate Christmas. Christianity is seen as an American religion and blamed for the fall of Communism in Europe. Anyone who wishes to celebrate the birth of Jesus must do so in complete secret.

“Christmas is mainly celebrated in the hearts of the Christians,” said an Open Doors worker. “A meeting usually consists of only two people. They may sit next to one another on a bench in the park. Sometimes it is too dangerous to speak to one another. But the knowledge that they are both Christians is then enough. If a whole family comes to faith, they can organise a type of Christmas celebration. But even then, they have to keep it secret from the neighbours.”


An Open Doors partner told The Express, “I met Hae Woo, a Christian lady imprisoned for her faith, who celebrated Christmas inside a North Korean labour camp. Hae Woo had daily ideological training, where the prison guards read newspapers to the inmates. Christians therefore, always knew when it was Christmas, so every Christmas day she and her five secret Christian converts would celebrate in the toilet building with a short worship meeting. They sang softly.” 

They risked a lot in doing so but miraculously she and the other Christians with her were never caught. “We did not get into trouble despite our secret meetings,” said Hae Woo. “All five of us survived the camp, because we looked after each other.”


The North Korean people are forced to worship the Kim family who have ruled the country with an iron hand since 1948. Before that Christian missionaries had been allowed into the country from the late 1880’s and set up lots of schools and hospitals. Many people became Christians. Now Christianity is so dangerous most people can’t even tell their children they are Christian because the children are used to spy on their parents by the state.

In North Korea today, Juche ideology is upheld, in which only the leaders, Kim Il Sung, and Kim Il Jung and Kim Jong-un are worshiped like God. Any suggestion that there is a higher authority than the nation's leader, Kim Jong-un, is immediately crushed. Open Doors estimates 70,000 Christians are incarcerated in horrific labour camps, and over 300,000 more keep their faith in Christ a complete secret.

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