From the Jerusalem of the East to a Totalitarian Regime: North Korea’s History Behind Christian Persecution
By Rebecca Pankratz, HRNK Research Intern
Edited by Rosa Park, HRNK Director of Programs and Editor, and Sophia Hapin, HRNK Research Intern
January 21, 2021
It is astonishing that Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, was once called the “Jerusalem of the East” for historically being one of the largest contributors to the spread of Christianity throughout Korea in 1907. This movement led to the conversion and rededication of thousands of people to the Christian faith, which made North Korea one of the main places for Christian seminaries and teachers in Asia. Today, the reality of Pyongyang is quite different. It is now controlled by a regime that sees religion, especially Christianity, as a threat to the worship of its leaders and to their communist party.
HRNK staff members and interns wish to dedicate this program to our colleague Katty Chi. A native of Chile and graduate of the London School of Economics, Katty became a North Korean human rights defender in her early 20s. Katty was chief of international affairs with the North Korea Strategy Center (NKSC) in Seoul from 2010 to 2014 and worked with the Seoul Office of Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) from 2019 to 2020. A remarkable member of our small North Korean human rights community, Katty brought inspiration and good humor to all. Katty passed away in Seoul in May 2020, at the young age of 32. She is survived by her parents and brother living in Chile. With the YPWP series, we endeavor to honor Katty’s life and work.