On Wednesday, Jan. 8, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un will hold a lavish birthday party while over 200,000 people suffer atrocities in the extensive political prison system, including as many as 70,000 Christians. Ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman arriving in Pyongyang Monday with a team of former NBA players planning to hold an exhibition basketball game as part of the festivities. He told the Associated Press on Monday, “….not every country in the world is that bad, especially North Korea.”
On the same day, during a press conference in Washington, D.C., Open Doors will release its 2014 World Watch List (WWL) of 50 countries that are the worst persecutors of Christians. Will the hermit communist country of North Korea be ranked the worst persecutor of Christians for an unprecedented 12th year in a row?
The press conference will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. at the National Press Club, First Amendment Lounge, 529 14th St. NW. Open Doors is an international ministry which has been supporting and strengthening persecuted Christians for almost 60 years.
“Just last month Kim Jong-Un reportedly executed the No. 2 man in power, Kim’s uncle Jang Sung Taek. Kim is a ruthless dictator who will do anything to maintain his power base,” says Open Doors USA President/CEO Dr. David Curry. “North Korea is certainly a candidate to remain high on the list. But there are many countries, such as Iraq, Somalia and Iran, which need to be exposed for their persecution of Christians.”
Religious freedom experts who will speak at the press conference include veteran journalist Dr. Ronald Boyd-MacMillan, head of Strategy and Research for Open Doors International; Dr. David Curry, CEO/President of Open Doors USA and Dr. Paul Marshall, senior fellow at Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom and author of more than 20 books.
The World Watch List ranks countries according to the intensity of persecution Christians face for actively living out their faith. The WWL is the only annual survey of religious liberty conditions of Christians around the world.