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North Korea – No Freedom of Speech

Criticism of the regime or the leadership in North Korea, if reported, is enough to make you and your family ‘disappear’ from society and end up in a political prison camp. It goes without saying that there is no free media inside the country. The only opinion allowed to be voiced inside the country is the regime’s.

– Liberty in North Korea

The History of the two Koreas

1945: The Division of the Korean People

Following Japan’s defeat in 1945 the Soviet Union and United States agreed to split the post-war control of the Korean peninsula between themselves. On August 10, 1945 two young U.S. military officers drew up a line demarcating the U.S. and Soviet occupation zones at the 38th parallel. The divide should have been temporary, a mere footnote in Korea’s long history, but the emergence of the Cold War made this a seminal event. Seeking to ensure the maintenance of their respective influences in Korea, the U.S. and USSR installed leaders sympathetic to their own cause, while mistrust on both sides prevented cooperation on elections that were supposed to choose a leader for the entire peninsula. The United States handed control over the southern half of the peninsula to Syngman Rhee, while the Soviet Union gave Kim Il-sung power over the north. In 1948, both sides claimed to be the legitimate government and representative of the entire Korean people.

August 15, 1948

Syngman Rhee declares the formation of the Republic of Korea in Seoul, claiming jurisdiction over all of Korea..

September 8, 1948

Kim Il-sung declares the formation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in Pyongyang, also claiming jurisdiction over all of Korea.

From the Liberty in North Korea website

North Korea – No Freedom of Movement

No Freedom of Movement

It is illegal for the North Korean people to leave their country without the regime’s permission, and the regime attempts to restrict the people’s movement even inside their own country. If you wish to travel to another part of the country, you are supposed to have a specific purpose and obtain permission from your work unit. If you do not live in Pyongyang, the showcase capital where most resources are concentrated, you will likely be denied access. The regime has also forcibly relocated hundreds of thousands of North Koreans to less favorable parts of the country as a form of punishment and political persecution.

from the Liberty in North Korea site

 

The Great Revival in Pyongyang 1907

Pyongyang Great Revival (1907-1910) – Korea

 

From 150 Years of Revival by Mathew Backholer
The first Protestant missionary to Korea was a Welshman, the Rev. Robert Jermain Thomas. He arrived in Korea in 1866 where he sold classical Chinese Bibles (which could be read by Koreans, Japanese and Chinese) and risked decapitation if caught. Korea, known as the Hermit Kingdom was still a closed land to foreigners…On the 2 September 1866, Rev. Robert Jermain Thomas was martyred on the river bank (alongside all the crew of the merchant-marine schooner that he was travelling on) outside of Pyongyang, (the present capital of North Korea) and the centre where the 1907 revival broke out.

…In 1886, the first Protestant Korean was baptised and by 1887 there was seven Korean converts. Korea saw its first revival in 1903 and it was known as the Wonsan Revival Movement and both the Presbyterians and Methodists reaped large harvests as they were united to exalt Jesus Christ. In 1904, there was 10,000 converts in Pyongyang and by the middle of 1906, after 30,000 new converts in that year alone, the revival had waned and died out.

Pyongyang, Korea, in 1907 was known as a city of wine, women and song. It was a dark city in the early twentieth century with sin abounding. It even had its own Gisaeng (Korean geisha) training school. It was in this city that Korea’s second revival began in January 1907 after months of persistent prayer, 50,000 people were converted in that one year and Korea was set ablaze – it was known as the Pyongyang Great Revival (1907-1910).

Missionary, John McCune in a letter wrote: ‘…The work of the Holy Spirit here at the Jangdaehyun Church where revival first broke out would far surpass what we have read about the great revival in Wales and India…’

…In September 1906, Dr. Howard Agnew Johnston, of New York, whilst in Seoul, informed a group of missionaries and Korean Christians about the Khasi Hills Revival, (1905-1906) in India. Jonathan Goforth, a missionary to China and Manchuria wrote that because of this more than twenty missionaries from Pyongyang Presbyterian and Methodist missions resolved to meet together to pray daily for ‘greater blessings.’ Over the Christmas period the Pyongyang Christians met each evening for prayer, instead of their usual festive celebrations. The evening prayer ceased at the start of the Pyongyang General Class but continued at noon for those who could attend.

A Bible colporteur from Kan Kai Church along the Yalu River, of 250 believers was also in Seoul. He heard Dr. Johnston and encouraged his church to meet for prayer at 5am through the autumn and winter of 1906-1907. For six months they prayed until the Holy Spirit came as a flood.

…Jonathan Goforth, missionary to China and Manchuria on his tour of the country in June 1907 said, “Those missionaries seemed to carry us right up to the throne of God. The Korean movement was of incalculable significance in my life, because it showed me at first hand the boundless possibilities of the revival method. Korea made me feel, as it did many others, that this was God’s plan for setting the world aflame.” Jonathan Goforth went on to have a powerful ministry and saw revival in China and Manchuria during 1907-1909 and again in 1915 in various cities.

…South of Pyongyang, Jonathan Goforth passed through Songdo, the ancient Korean capital. In 1907 the revival had added 500 to the Church, but during a month of special meetings in 1910, 2,500 were added to the Church because of the incredible fields which were white unto harvest (John 4:35).

Jonathan Goforth wrote: ‘When we visited Seoul in 1907, every church was crowded. A missionary said that on a six weeks tour he had baptised 500 and recorded 700 catechumens, and that his five out-stations, in one year, had increased to twenty-five. During 1910 there were 13,000 people in Seoul who signed cards saying they wanted to become Christians, and in September of that year the Methodist churches of the city received 3,000 by baptism.

‘Directly west of the capital, at the port of Chemulpo, the Methodist Mission, in 1907, had a church with 800 members. Opposite the harbour was an island with 17,000 inhabitants. The churches on the island had a baptised membership of 4,247, and more than half of them had been brought in that year. The Christians were praying that soon the whole island would become the Lord’s.’

…In 1910, the British and Foreign Bible Society through its Bible Colporteurs sold the immense total of 666,000 books to the people of Korea, most of them single gospels! A Church at Sang Sim Li, which had birthed sixteen other churches in the district, in connection with the ‘Million Movement’ (the aim of which was to win one million souls for the Lord) were believing for four hundred new converts; their share of the million, and so stepped out in faith and enlarged their church from 36ft. sq. to 225 ft. sq.!

…Paget Wilkes, founder of the Japanese Evangelistic Band visited Korea in March 1911. In his journal he wrote about the story of the Sensen Magistrate, a town in the north, where one in three of the population were Christian. When asked how things were going in his city he replied, “Go and ask the missionaries; they rule in Sensen.” Paget wrote: ‘He had but little to do. Quarrels and differences were settled before the Church, and not brought into the public courts – as St. Paul lays down in the Corinthians letters.’

Paget Wilkes wrote that on the 26 March 1911 he ‘spent a pleasant evening with Dr. Underwood, one of the oldest missionaries in Korea’ who said, “Twenty-four years ago I came to Korea and there was not one protestant Christian. Today there are 200,000, i.e. one to every fifty of the population…”

150 Years of Revival by Mathew Backholer

Shin Dong-hyuk’s Odyssey

 

The story of Shin Dong-hyuk (Danny). He was born in Camp 14. He betrayed his mother and brother because they were planning to escape. He reported them to the guards. He was part of a breeding program in the camp and he was raised by the guards of the camp to snitch on his parents. So Shin gave his mother and brother up for more food! He watched their public execution and felt no guilt because he had been trained to do this. This is a horrifying story of what continues in North Korea.

Kim Jong-Un is about the same age as Shin. Shin is the only one who has escaped Camp 14 and lived to tell about it.

 

Author of “Escape from Camp 14” Blaine Harden speaks about Shin Dong-hyuk’s life and his escape from a political prison camp in North Korea, where he had lived for the first 23 years of his life.

The North Korean Refugee Crisis

China returns North Korean escapees. They face detention, torture, punishment and death when returned.

 

From the Liberty in North Korea website

 

There are an estimated 30,000 North Korean refugees in China, living in a precarious and sometimes desperate situation. They fear harsh punishment or even death if they are caught and sent back to North Korea

Goryeo Kingdom (고려) 918-1392 A.D.

The Goryeo Dynasty or Kingdom is where the name Korea is derived. You might find that I spell the name different ways. That’s because I can’t decide which romanization to use. Korea used to be spelled with a ‘C’ Corea. Some Koreans say the reason it was changed to the ‘K’ is because when Japan occupied the peninsula they wanted Korea’s name to start with a letter after theirs ‘J’. I don’t know about that, but there has been some discussion as to whether to change the spelling back to the ‘C’.

Goryeo 1374

Goryeo 1374

From Wikipedia:

Goryeo, also known as Koryŏ (Hangul: 고려; hanja: 高麗; Korean pronunciation: [koɾjʌ]; 918–1392), was a Korean dynasty established in 918 by King Taejo. This kingdom later gave name to the modern exonym for Korea.[2] It united the Later Three Kingdoms in 936 and ruled most of the Korean peninsula until it was removed by the leader of the Joseon dynasty in 1392. The Goryeo dynasty expanded its borders to present-day Wonsan in the north-east (936–943) and the Amnok River (993) and finally almost the whole of the Korean peninsula (1374).

“Korea” is the modern spelling of Corea, a name attested in English as early as 1614.[4] It is an exonym derived from Cauli, Marco Polo‘s transcription[5] of the Chinese 高麗 (simp.高丽, MCKawlej,[6] mod.Gāolì). This was the Hanja for the Korean kingdom of Goryeo or Koryŏ (고려; 918–1392), which ruled most of the peninsula during the time of his travels.

I did a post earlier about the Shilla Dynasty. Shilla preceded Goryeo.

Here’s how things looked during the Shilla Dynasty:

History_of_Korea-576

Two of Goryeo period’s most notable products are Goryeo celadon pottery and the Tripitaka Koreana — the Buddhist scriptures (Tripitaka) carved onto roughly 80,000 woodblocks and stored, and still in, Haeinsa. Subjects and officials of the Goryeo dynasty also created the world’s first metal-based movable type in 1234; the oldest surviving movable metal type book, the Jikji, was made in 1377.

Examples of the celadon pottery here:

 

Tripitaka woodblock Buddhist writings housed at Hae In Sa (temple)

Tripitaka Koreana woodblock Buddhist writings housed at Hae In Sa (temple)

The capital cities of this kingdom were mainly located in North Korea. Goryeo dynasty diminished and the next dynasty to take over, the last one before the Japanese occupation, was Joseon Dynasty.

From Wikipedia:

Commerce

In the Goryeo dynasty, trade was frequent. In the start of the dynasty, Byeokrando was the main port. Byeokrando was a port close to the Goryeo capital. Trade included:

# Trading country Import Export
1 Song dynasty Silk, pearls, tea, spices, medicine, books, instruments Gold and silver, ginseng, marble, paper, ink
2 Liao dynasty Horses, sheep, low-quality silk Minerals, cotton, marble, ink and paper, ginseng
3 Jurchen Gold, horses, weapons Silver, cotton, silk
4 Japan Mercury, minerals Ginseng, books
5 Abbasid dynasty Mercury, spices, tusk Gold, silver

 

Goryeo Kingdom

Goryeo Kingdom