Fake Underground Churches Established by the National Security Agency for Money

Daily NK
Yoon Il Geun, Lee Sung Jin

Yanji, China — According to a testimony from a source inside the North, some underground churches operating in the North are, in fact, fake churches which take orders from the National Security Agency and whose mission is to unmask underground Christians.

“It was found to be true that the conspiracy department of the National Security Agency operating in the border area had established a fake church consisted of its security agents,” said the source to a DailyNK reporter on Monday at a private place in Yanji. The source himself is involved in an underground church within the North.

The source revealed a shocking reality, saying, “Some security agents disguise themselves as defectors and deliberately approach those Korean churches operating in China. From the churches, the agents receive money and bibles. Then, the agents establish a fake church.” The source added, “While taking money from the Korean churches in the name of financial support for missionary work, the agents devote themselves to hunting down domestic underground churches connected to the churches in China.”

The source said that he heard about the above-mentioned activities from an individual working at the National Security Agency, and such activities were an open secret among security agents.

“The received bibles are used as wastepaper and taken to paper processing plants, and the received money goes to the National Security Agency,” said the source. “The agent who told me about the agency’s secret activities said sneeringly, ‘The paper from the bibles is good for cigarette rolling paper,’” said the source resenting the agent’s anti-religious behavior.

The source said that the security agency runs the fake church not only to crack down Christians but also to make money. Many Christian organizations in the South provide financial support for pastors engaged in missionary work for North Koreans in the China-North Korea border areas. The source said that those security agents operating the fake underground church make a decent living thanks to the money they receive from the South’s Christian organizations.

“Unless the churches of the South tightly manage their supporting activities for underground churches and Christians of the North, their activities might end up enriching the security agents and causing harm to underground Christians,” the source said.

In the North, the act of missionary work is considered a felony, and individuals convicted of the felony are either sent to a political concentration camp or executed in public.

Todd Nettelton, director of news services with the Voice of the Martyrs, a US-based Christian missionary organization, said, “North Korean Christians defend their faith in the midst of oppression, arrest and torture by the regime.” The director said, “When these Christians gather together for bible study or worship, they have to be careful for safety. For instance, they form a small group of three to four people and cloak the windows of their meeting place.”

“Hometown,” a South Korean monthly run by individuals who were born in the North but displaced into the South during the Korean War, reported in its November edition that the North Korean authorities recently arrested Mr. Cho who was secretly engaged in missionary work in Dongrim of North Pyongan Province along with his mother and two younger siblings. The monthly said, “The remaining three family members trembled in fear and eventually took their life by jumping from the Dongrim Waterfall on October 12th.

In October, the US State Department again designated the North as one of “Countries of Particular Concern (CPC)” for the country’s persecution of religion. In fact, the North has been designated as the CPC for seven years in a row.

Every year, the US State Department releases a report on religious freedom in the world. The 2007 report said, “Although the Construction of the DPRK guarantees freedom of religion, there is no such thing in reality. The country’s situation of freedom of religion remained as bad as it was before this year.”


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