North Korea: A Hell on Earth
A Country Where Faith Is Illegal

There is little information on what North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is trying to do with his country.

What is clear is that he has been diplomatically proactive ever since his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in March. And upcoming is the planned meeting with U.S. leaders. It is almost as if his missile development has now reached a stage that has given him agency in the international community.

No matter how influential they become, however, North Korea’s system of controlling her people through fear and violence has not changed one bit since becoming an independent country in 1948.

“Recent defectors tell that the living standards inside North Korea are slowly getting worse,” says Hiroaki Saeki Secretary General of The Society to Help Returnees to North Korea. Regarding religion, he continued, “Christian missionary work originally started in the North of the Korean Peninsula, so there were many believers at first. But communism forbids religion, so the believers were considered a danger to the government and were slaughtered. Most clergymen were executed along with the rise of communism. Still they cannot get rid of it completely: the people still go to the Underground Church. They use underground passages and caves in the mountains to continue their activities”.


A North Korean Christian Defector

The Liberty Magazine had an exclusive interview with Kim Mihwa (alias), a North Korean defector who had been partaking in Christian activities in North Korea. Her private information has been protected to ensure the security of her family who remain behind in North Korea.

“No matter how much the authorities oppress the believers, it is impossible for them to remove it all, “she says. “It is impossible for them to gather detailed information on the brothers and sisters who spread the word of God and pray to Him”.

Mihwa’s family have been Christians since the time of her great-grandfather, so she was brought up with knowledge of God. Religion has been oppressed for as long as she could remember, and she recalls not being able to go to church in daylight. Instead the Christians gathered in the Underground Church, and Mihwa read the Bible at home.

She began to work in the medical profession, and when she went into the mountains to look for medical plants, she spread the word of God to the people who accompanied her and prayed for them.

“There were about 120 of them. We sold our medicine to the wealthy, but as an act of love we gave them to the poor for free. None of those 120 followers ever let our secret out.”


Say “Yes” And Your Family Dies

One day, disaster struck. A hearing-impaired man who had accompanied her to the mountains told an undercover government agent, without knowing so, that Mihwa had prayed for him. Mihwa was immediately sent to a concentration camp.

When the official questioned her if she had “prayed to God (hananim)”, she told them that the man’s hearing was impaired and had misheard her saying. She claimed that she had “relieved him of his grandfather’s (hal-abeoji) ghost”.

“Had I said ‘Yes, I was praying to God’ they would have killed me along with my whole family,” Mihwa told the Liberty Magazine. “That’s why I had to keep denying it. Then they tortured me: they ripped my nose, fractured my forehead, and stepped on my torso and limbs. I still limp because of it. Once I was covered in my own blood, they would dunk water on me and start all over again”.

Nevertheless, she kept denying her faith to the authorities for 1 year. Finally, she was given a sentence of 10 years imprisonment.

“I thanked God that I was not given the death sentence. In prison, I was forced to work until my back became bent. I was assigned to a factory that made homeware. The police and military use the prisoners as free tools, and even make money out of the produce. Our meal was 200 grams of a hardened paste made from corn and soybeans. This would get reduced to one quarter whenever we incur punishment. On Sundays, we were taken to watch public executions or to study politics as a means of discipline.”


How Strong Is Faith?

While some of the prisoners were genuine criminals and murders, many of them were innocent victims of government-fabricated crimes.

“Workers at the State Security Department have to fulfill a quota of 30 arrests per month in order to get promoted. Even without orders from Kim Jong-un the State Security Department workers use their power to bring suffering over the people in order to get promoted.”

After serving her 10 years, Mihwa was released. Underground Church members came to visit her and congratulate her on her safe return. “I was released properly because they protected our secret,” she says. “We resumed our religious activities with added zeal. I continued to spread the word of God like I used to do for the next 10 years until I defected”.

She left North Korea in 2011 and with the help of South Korean Christians she now works teaching religious faith to the children of families defecting from North Korea.

When asked whether her suffering ever made her want to give up faith, she replied, “If possible, I would like to return to North Korea and guide those Christians”.


Hell on Earth Will Continue With The Kim Regime

In North Korea belief in God is a crime punishable for the entire family. The government authorities are incriminating people for innocent deeds to make money from their labor in concentration camps. A country that denies faith is a hell on Earth.

Saeki, of The Society to Help Returnees to North Korea, says thus:

“Human rights groups in South Korea maintain that concentration camps support 20-30% of North Korea’s economy. Ever since the founding of North Korea they have had a controlled the economy, but that collapsed after a huge famine in 1995, and now the market economy has developed. The same goes for the military industry. They now make money through every means possible including smuggling, drugs, and counterfeit products.”

A different support group for North Korean defectors says that they were able to get in contact with a North Korean who went to China on Kim’s surprise visit in March. He allegedly boasted that, “things have been going exactly according to Kim’s plan for the past few years. In the near future, the two Koreas will unite under North Korea’s directions. Our nuclear technology has developed and China and the U.S. are being forced to face us. We are attracting investments, and we are aiming for more freedom in our culture and economy. But in exchange, we have to reinforce surveillance and punishment in the area of religion and politics. That’s why we cannot get rid of the concentration camps”.

It is clear that as long as the Kim Regime continues, North Korea will remain a hell on Earth.


A 372-page long report on the North Korea human rights problem by the UN in 2014.


An illustrated book made by a North Korean defector contains highly graphic material based on truth.


Kim Jong-un waves goodbye from a train on his departure from China in March.





The North Korea Problem Is Not Just About Abduction

The Liberty Magazine interviewed a specialist and supporter of North Korean defectors.




Hiroaki Saeki

Born in 1944 in former Manchuria, he graduated from Gakushuin University and began to work in newspaper companies such as Sankei. He now serves as the Vice-Director of North Korean Refugees Relief Fund and The Society to Help Returnees to North Korea (both in Japan).

A route often used to escape from North Korea passes through China into Vietnam or Laos, then into Thailand, and then finally into their final destination, wherever that may be. In January of this year I went to speak with the Thailand police because they often cooperate with the North Korean Refugees Relief Fund. And we found some North Korean defectors being detained there, two of whom were mothers with babies.

Most of the refugees who end up in Japan are those with relatives already living there. In Japan from1959 into the 1980s there were around 93,000 Koreans who went over to North Korea with their Japanese wives as part of a ‘returning home’ project. Now their children and grandchildren are escaping out of North Korea to return to Japan.

According to people who went to North Korea for the project, as soon as their boat hit the North Korea harbor, all of their hopes melted away when they saw impoverished people and children wearing rags. But they weren’t allowed to return to Japan. It only got worse from there: they were thrown into concentration camps, and many died from the effects of torture. Specialists think that the victims number into the tens of thousands.

A great many defectors who arrive in Japan urge the country to push for human rights in North Korea. This is because Japan is the leader of democracy and freedom in Asia. Japan must stand up, not just against the abductions, but also for returnees living in Japan, families separated by the 38th parallel, and the North Korean abduction of South Koreans.

A UN report in 2014 stated that North Korea has been behind over 200,000 abductions and missing persons cases of foreigners, and that the government has them locked up.

Before WWII Japan fought for the freedom of Asia, but after the war they were isolated and are now unable to see things on a global level. The Japanese people must realize the need to become the leaders of Asia.





Freedom of Religion for North Korea and China


People usually feel the pangs of conscience and guilt after misleading, and mistreating and killing people. The only reason why North Korea and China can instigate laws that force obedience through violence and fear is because they are atheistic and materialistic countries.

The U.S., on the other hand, was founded by people who crossed over to North America in search of freedom under God. President Trump said at the 66th Annual National Prayer Breakfast in February, “Our founders invoked our Creator four times in the Declaration of Independence. Our currency declares, ‘In God We Trust’ . . . Our rights are not given to us by man; our rights come from our Creator. No matter what, no Earthly force can take those rights away”.

The main difference between countries that protect human rights and countries that don’t is their religion. In other words, freedom of religion is an absolute necessity in resolving the human rights issues in China and North Korea.

And this will lead into reforming politics itself.

As writer Liu Yanzi says, “The spreading of a religion like Christianity, that teaches the universal values of freedom and equality, can create the basis of democracy in an atheistic country”.

At the root of democracy is the idea that each and every person is a child of God who is equally responsible for thinking about how best to run society. This is a huge difference to the Communist Party of China and the North Korean Kim Regime where a central authority controls and dominates the people.

That being said, democracy in these countries will be impossible to achieve without pressure from neighboring countries. Economic pressure is the most effective means to achieve this.

The U.S. is currently reinforcing its economic sanctions on North Korea and adding pressure on China through tariffs. It is a misunderstanding to see this as an act of protectionism. The Trump administration has been critical of China’s oppression of religion and North Korea’s invasion of human rights. Their economic sanctions are a method of stopping these human rights oppressions.


Japan’s Role as A Superpower

Looking at Japan now, the Abe administration has made no physical action against North Korea’s abductions of Japanese people, and have done absolutely nothing against North Korea’s atrocities against her own people. With regards to China, Japan has continued to emphasize the importance of maintaining their economic relationship, and is turning a blind eye to China’s human rights violations.

Japan is placing more importance on economic profit than on God’s justice. This means they are closer to the mammonism of China than to the American approach to politics through God.

In terms of power, Japan is the only country in Asia that could potentially stand up against China. In order to stand alongside the U.S. in resolving the China/North Korean problem, Japan requires a political stance based on religious values.

Master Ryuho Okawa, founder and CEO of Happy Science, says, “We must make a choice. Is it going to be the U.S.-Japan system of freedom and democracy that will lead the future world? Or is it going to be the China-North Korea totalitarian system, with no freedom of speech or press, and where the world is governed through fear?”

Xi Jinping is strengthening his dictatorship and Kim Jong-un is trying to maintain his position as a nuclear country. Before long this will be set in stone: it will be too late.

Can Japan become a country that can determine right from wrong, and make decisions through the eyes of God? And can they become the power to spread freedom and democracy throughout Asia?

It was not just through hard work and respect for the victims that Japan was able to achieve such momentous growth in the post-WWII period. It was also the will of God. Japan became a superpower through the will of God, and now they must think about what God desires of them.

North Korea: A Hell on Earth
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