December 29, 2011
As North Korea held a farewell ceremony for Kim Jong Il on Tuesday, the country rallied around his son and successor, Kim Jong Un. However, according to a Voice of the Martyrs worker on the Korean peninsula, no significant changes appear likely for Christians there, at least not in the short term, Mission Network News reports. It is thought that Kim Jong Il was ill for some time, and it seems the people who kept things going on his behalf will continue to be in charge behind the scenes for Kim Jong Un, according to Todd Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs USA. The reclusive nation claims to have freedom of religion, but in reality, there is no freedom to build churches or even worship in homes; owning a Bible or Christian material is illegal and punishable by death. Authorities have stepped up their surveillance of Christians in recent years, but an estimated 400,000 Christians continue to practice their faith in underground networks.