North Korean defector Ji Hyeona couldn’t help but shed a few tears while sharing her account of abuse and torture at the U.S. State Department’s first-ever Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom.
The Christian woman, who now lives in South Korea after escaping from North Korea for the last time in 2007, pled with those gathered from around the world at the Harry S. Truman Building Tuesday to not be silent about the human rights abuses committed by the Kim Jong Un regime.
As North Korea consistently ranks as the worst country in the world for Christian persecution, Ji said that she was attending the ministerial to represent all Christians being persecuted in the rogue state, which is said to imprison as many as 120,000 Christians, defectors and political dissidents in labor concentration camps.
“Since I first escaped from North Korea in 1998, I have since escaped from the North a total of four times and got repatriated to the North three times until I finally came to South Korea in 2007,” Ji explained. “In between, I fell victim to human trafficking and I was also subjected to abortion violently forced on me even with no anesthesia because the North Korean regime couldn’t accept what they call ‘mixed love.'”
As a devout Christian, Ji recalled how she felt forced to deny her faith when questioned by regime authorities each time she was repatriated.
“Each time when I got repatriated, which is a total of three times, they never finished their interrogation without asking me those Christian-related questions, such as whether I went to church, whether I knew Jesus and whether I believed in God,” she recalled. “If there is a slightest indication or confession that you believe Jesus and went to church, then you will surely be sent to political prison camp or executed. Just like Peter denied Jesus three times, I lied each of those three times that I got repatriated and got interrogated.”
As a child, Ji remembers being “brainwashed to believe that you must worship the three generations of the Kim dictatorship.” She told the ministerial that North Korean people are even forced to memorize the birthdays of the Kim dictators.
“I was forced to believe that Kim Il Sung was literally the son in the Heaven and God of North Korea,” she said. “I grew up watching propaganda on the TV depicting [Christian] missionaries as evil. I remember particularly watching a movie where an American missionary poured hydrochloric acid on the forehead of a North Korean girl that [called her] a thief just because she pulled an apple and ate it during the midst of the Korean War.'”
As the Bible is outlawed text in North Korea, Ji said that she first gained access to a small Bible thanks to her mother smuggling it in a sack of rice when she went to China to buy food for her family during a famine one year. But that same Bible would later became the focal point of a five-hour security interrogation.
“I read the Bible secretly every evening and one day I was summoned by state security department and got tortured by them. Initially, I didn’t even know why I was being tortured. But as I was kicked with boots on and beaten mercilessly, my whole body got bathed in blood. During this torture, security agents asked me, ‘Since when have you stayed in touch with the South Korean CIA and American missionaries and what mission were you given by them?'”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith