A North Korean woman who was forced to work in a prison camp where she started a secret Christian church and won converts for the faith despite immense persecution, has revealed that people living under the regime are taught that Christians kill people and drink their blood.
"Christians were not capable of 'revolutionary acts' and so were enemies," explained Hae Woo about how she was taught to hate Christians prior to her conversion.
"Every form of religion, and especially Christianity, was like opium: addictive and destructive. I heard stories about Christians who went to hospitals, enticed people into cellars, killed them there and sucked the blood out of their bodies so that they could sell it. The thought of it was horrifying to me," she said, as reported by the National Catholic Register.
Christianity is illegal in North Korea, which is identified by watchdog groups, such as Open Doors, as the world's worst persecutor of Christians, with those who display their faith publicly sent to prison camps.
"Offering a message of hope inside hell on earth, she won a handful of converts, and a tiny secret church was formed. On Sundays and religious holidays, the faithful few would gather to worship at the toilets or another unwatched corner of their wretched home," the Register reported of Hae Woo's work.
She explained in her own words that it was God who helped her survive her time at the prison camp, and gave her the desire to spread the Good News among the other prisoners. She was eventually able to escape to South Korea, where she can practice her faith freely, but thousands of other Christians in North Korea are not so fortunate.
"I still feel as if I'm in my honeymoon period," Hae Woo said. "Of course, there are lots of things wrong here and some people think that South Korea is too materialistic, but what do they know about freedom? For that matter, what does anyone know about freedom? I learned what freedom is in the camp."
Open Doors CEO David Curry told The Christian Post back in January that precise statistics on the number of Christian prisoners and number of people executed for their faith is hard to get out of North Korea, but estimated that over 70,000 Christians were imprisoned in 2015 alone.
"You have executions — we don't know how many, but we know of enough. There has been no let up in persecution in North Korea," Curry told CP.
A major report released in September by British-based human rights advocacy organization Christian Solidarity Worldwide revealed further details about the horrors Christians face at the hands of the Kim Jong-un regime.
"Documented incidents against Christians include being hung on a cross over a fire, crushed under a steamroller, herded off bridges, and trampled underfoot," the report explained.
"A policy of guilt by association applies, meaning that the relatives of Christians are also detained regardless of whether they share the Christian belief. Even North Koreans who have escaped to China, and who are or become Christians, are often repatriated and subsequently imprisoned in a political prison camp," the report noted.
Still, as Francis Lee, a translator for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea pointed out, Kim's government attempts to create illusions of religious freedom by recognizing some official Christian churches in the capital Pyongyang, including a Roman Catholic one.
Lee argued that such churches are nothing but "showcase venues," as there is no priest or any member recognized by the Vatican serving there.