December 20, 2011. (Romereports.com)
North Korean state media has reported that President Kim Jong Il suffered a heart attack and died on Saturday, December 17 at the age of 69. His death now raises many questions on the political status of the one million prisoners being held in North Korea, many of whom are Christians.
The organization Open Doors works to help persecuted Christians around the world, they have contact with tens of thousands of people in the country. It's believed there's around half a million Christians in North Korea who are forced to practice their faith in secret.
The North Korean government has strictly forbidden Christianity. Open Doors has said that anyone caught with a Bible can be sent to one of the country's many concentration camps along with their family.
The Vatican foundation Aid to the Church in Need has said North Korea is probably the most difficult place in the world for a Christian to live.
South Korean bishops have said they hope that the death of Kim Jong Il can be a turning point for the country and toward a reunification of North and South Korea.