Christian charity warns against North Korea's persecution of believers amid Olympic unity show

An anti-persecution charity has urged Christians not to forget North Korea's persecution of believers despite its show of unity with South Korea during the pro-unification flag show in the Winter Olympics.

(REUTERS / Eric Gaillard)Hwang Chung Gum and Won Yunjong of Korea carry the national flag. February 10, 2018.

Aside from the pro-unification flag show, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister and South Korea's president also shook hands during the event in Pyeongchang.

In light of these events, Open Doors told Christians not to be fooled by the reclusive state's attempt to forge a friendly façade to the world, Premier detailed.

"As many nations come together to take part in the Winter Olympics, let us not forget that every day over 300,000 Christians are denied the right to take part in the religious observance of their choice," Open Doors advocacy policy officer Dr. Matthew Rees said. "They are a beleaguered community who are fighting for their very survival."

A North Korean refugee named Timothy has described the country's human rights level to be "zero percent" and said the citizens absolutely have no freedom and were required to revere their national leader as a god. However, even with the extreme persecution, Open Doors said the Christian church there was flourishing and that there were now around 300,000 believers in the country.

Last month, The Express published photos provided by Open Doors showing "show churches" that North Korea allegedly used to cover up its human rights abuses against Christians. These so-called fake churches were reportedly filled with worshippers, particularly during times when there are foreign visitors, to prove that people have religious freedom in the country.

Defectors, however, have reportedly claimed that the churches were merely "show pieces."

Some photos also had television screens where parishioners sitting at the back watched preachers deliver their sermons, while others featured churches with its worshippers scattered widely around the pews.

North Korea's treatment of Christians has earned it the top spot once again in Open Doors' annual persecution watch list.