Christmas is a time for spreading love, joy and cheer — but not for the last remaining Christians of North Korea. Dictator Kim Jong-un has ordered the few Christians living under his fascist regime to celebrate the birth of his grandmother–Kim Jong-suk — instead of the birth of Jesus Christ, according to a report by the New York Post. Kim Jong-suk was born on Christmas Eve in 1919 and was wife of North Korea’s first dictator, Kim Il-sung and the mother of Kim Jong-il, the father of Kim Jong-un. The late Korean anti-Japanese guerrilla and Communist activist died at the age of 29 for reasons unknown. Some say she died of tuberculosis, some say she died while giving birth, some even say she was shot to death.
Many North-Koreans pay their respects to the “Sacred Mother of the Revolution”, and “revolutionary immortal” by visiting her grave at the Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery and taking a pilgrimage to her birthplace
This is not the first time that the officially atheist communist regime has cracked down on Christmas celebrations. In 2014, the baby-faced dictator Kim Jong-un had reportedly been highly agitated when neighbouring South Korea had planned to install a large illuminated Christmas tree on their border. South Korea shelved their plans after North Korea saw it as religious and political propaganda and threatened to attack it. North Korea has warned the world that it will use nuclear weapons if threatened.
Kim Jong-Un also banned sarcasm in fears of citizens agree with him “ironically” earlier this year.
Christians can be arrested for celebrating Christmas in the state and the government also closely monitors religions such as Buddhism and Cheondoism, despite granting “freedom of religious belief” to its citizens under its constitution. A 100,000 Christians practice their religion in secret underground churches. Some places in Pyongyang even put up Christmas trees but without any religious symbols to avoid risking the wrath of the state.
In the early 1900s, Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, was known as the “Jerusalem of the East” for the large number of Christians present. All that changed after the Korean War (1950-1953) which divided the peninsula. The authoritarian North began cracking down on Christians and human rights groups estimate 50,000 and 70,000 have been imprisoned for practicing their faith.