Christianity appears to be growing in North Korea despite the country ranking as the most dangerous country for Christians.
A new survey by the Database Center for North Korean Human Rights suggests that knowledge of Christianity has grown consistently in the country based on the testimony of defectors.
In 2000, only 16 North Korean defectors claimed to have seen a Bible while still in North Korea. By 2020, that number has increased to 559.
When asked about the punishments for Christianity in North Korea, 46.7% said that North Korean Christians caught by authorities most often go to forced labour camps.
A total of 38.6% claimed to have never heard of Christianity before defecting from North Korea.
Open Doors USA ranks North Korea as the most dangerous country for Christians. Christians are routinely arrested, tortured and executed in the secretive dictatorship.
Both identifying with Christianity and owning Christian material are illegal offenses.
A recent report detailed some of the gruesome methods used to torture Christians, including how one man was trapped in a 3-ft high cage for multiple hours.
“There were steel bars on all four-sides that were heated with electricity,” one man reported.
“Usually prisoners lasted only three or four hours in the cage, but I sat there for 12 hours and prayed. I kept praying to God to save me.”
Open Doors USA estimates that there could be as many as 300,000 Christians practicing in secret in North Korea.