Kim Jong-un, supreme leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, has taken his dislike of Christianity to a whole new level this Christmas by forcing people under his regime to celebrate the birth anniversary of his grandmother Kim Jong-suk instead of Jesus Christ.
Kim Jong-suk was born on Christmas Eve in 1919. She was an anti-Japanese guerrilla and Communist activist, according to the New York Post. She was also the wife of North Korea's first dictator, Kim Il-sung, and former leader Kim Jong-il's mother.
Called the "Sacred Mother of the Revolution," she died under mysterious circumstances in 1949. Every Christmas, Kim Jong-un mandates North Koreans to pay their respects by visiting her tomb.
At the same time, Kim Jong-un has reportedly banned Christmas celebrations in North Korea. The dictator even threatened an all-out war back in 2014 when he found out that South Korea was planning to erect a huge Christmas tree along their border. The tree was never put up.
He has prohibited North Koreans from putting up Christmas trees as well. However, several people bravely stood up against the dictator's warnings and put up Christmas trees in the capital of Pyongyang. The trees were erected in upscale shops and restaurants but were stripped of any religious symbols so as not to incite the attention of government authorities.
Human rights organisations believe that the Pyongyang regime has about 70,000 Christians imprisoned over religious or political offences. The crackdowns reportedly began in the 1950s.
"The DPRK ostentatiously treats anyone of faith, but especially Christians, as hostile," Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at a U.S. think tank, wrote for Forbes Magazine in October. "Between 300,000 and 500,000 Christians are thought to remain in North Korea today. Refugees from the North report religious involvement ranging from 1.2 percent participating in to 5.1 percent witnessing secret religious activities."