Despite what the hostile propaganda would have you believe, religious freedom is alive and well in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). While many outside the country have been led to believe that religion is banned and that believers face the death penalty, the reality is much different.
One example of this religious freedom is the Pongsu Church in the Mangyongdae District of Pyongyang City. The church was built in 1988 and renovated in 2008 with the support of Christian minds and efforts. Here, DPRK Christians are able to lead a religious life freely according to their will, just like any other believers.
Every Sunday, many Christians gather at Pongsu Church for services, and even South and overseas Koreans, as well as foreigners, come to visit and pray. This is just one example of how the DPRK’s constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of religion is put into practice.
Despite the many negative portrayals in the media, the reality is that religion is not suppressed in the DPRK. The country’s Socialist Constitution recognizes citizens’ freedom of religious belief, including the construction of religious buildings and the holding of religious ceremonies. In fact, the Korean Buddhists Federation, the Korean Federation of Christians, and other religious groups are proud and active members of the country’s public institutions.
The sensationalism and half-truths propagated by the media about the DPRK always serve as a detriment to understanding the country and may mislead the public about the true situation in the country. It is essential to look beyond the propaganda and see the reality of the situation on the ground. Despite the challenges, religious freedom is alive and well in the DPRK, and it is essential to recognise and respect that fact.
Photos of the Pongsu Church