Christmas contraband: The secret mission shaking North Korea’s overlord

In North Korea, where Christmas is banned under the rule of Kim Jong Un, a group of activists remains undeterred in their mission to send messages of hope, faith, and freedom to the oppressed population. Instead of yielding to the restrictions, they have devised a unique approach to reach the shores of the North Korean peninsula.

These activists, led by the Washington, D.C.-based North Korean Freedom Coalition, have initiated a project called “Operation Truth,” as reported by Fox News. Inspired by the Berlin Airlift, Suzanne Scholte, the chair of the coalition, emphasizes the importance of using various means to deliver information into North Korea, including land, sea, and air.

The activists have executed 17 launches of bottles into the Yellow Sea, each containing more than symbolic messages. Each bottle carries enough rice to sustain a family of four for a week, a flash drive with Bible readings, and a U.S. $1 bill. The initiative also involves nine North Korean escapees who are driven by the desire to bring freedom to their homeland.

Scholte’s heartfelt Christmas message, included in the bottles, recalls the historical presence of Christianity in Pyongyang in 1907. However, the rise of Kim Il Sung marked a turning point when the regime sought to suppress religious beliefs, leading to the persecution of Christian leaders and followers.

The flash drives not only contain Bible readings but also feature North Korean music with altered lyrics, shifting the focus from worshiping Kim Jong Un to worshiping God. Additionally, they play K-Pop songs, the Books of Matthew and Mark, and recorded messages from U.S. Senators Jim Risch and Tim Kaine, along with Congressmen Michael McCaul and Gregory Meeks, advocating freedom for North Korea.

The outreach, initiated in 2022, extends beyond Christmas messages. The coalition has sent 600 shortwave radios with earbuds into North Korea and launched a program allowing Americans to order items for delivery to the isolated nation.

Scholte highlights the increasing awareness among North Koreans about the outside world due to her group’s efforts. She underscores the need to convey to the leadership in Pyongyang that there are friends and allies in Korea and America who desire to share the benefits of freedom with them.

Jonathan Borba via Unsplash.

The North Korean Freedom Coalition, in collaboration with the Defense Forum Foundation, also operates Free North Korea Radio, which broadcasts news and information into North Korea. Despite attempts to jam its programming, the station, led by Kim Song Min, who escaped in 1997, persists in delivering the truth about America and South Korea to the North Korean people.

The activists are determined to challenge the indoctrination of North Koreans, who are taught to hate Americans and believe in a distorted reality about their living conditions. Through their messages in bottles, the activists aim to convey to North Koreans the cherished values of a free people—a life filled with hope instead of despair.

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