North Korea took her name, stripped her clothes and shaved her hair. But there was one thing they could not take from “Prisoner 42”: her faith in Jesus.
She survived what seemed like a death sentence after fleeing to China during a famine to feed her family. Watchdog organization Open Doors USA estimates she was one of 250,000 imprisoned North Koreans—50,000 of whom are political prisoners jailed for their Christian faith. She spent one year in solitary confinement and was released after two years of hard labor.
North Korea has been the No. 1 persecutor of Christians on the group’s annual list for 18 years now. Open Doors was hopeful that diplomatic efforts — including the 2018 Winter Olympics and the Trump-Kim summit — would mean easing pressure and violence against Christians. But that has not been the case.
“Am I a Christian? Yes. I love Jesus. But I deny it. If I admit that I was helped by Chinese Christians, I will be killed, either quickly or slowly,” she said. “They will murder me in this North Korean prison. Every day, I’m beaten and kicked—it hurts the most when they hit my ears. My ears ring for hours, sometimes days.”
– The North Korea prison camp survivor
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