Voice of the Martyrs Korea, an NGO which ministers to persecuted Christians worldwide, held a press conference today to unveil a plaque on its Martyrs Timeline commemorating “The Unknown Martyrs of Communism” and to officially release its new booklet, “Communism Is Not Dead”, an educational resource for Christians and churches.
“Since 1921, an estimated 25 to 30 million Christians have been killed so far by atheist and Marxist regimes because of their faith, according to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary,” says Voice of the Martyrs Korea Representative Dr. Hyun Sook Foley. “June 29 is the day many churches around the world remember the martyrdoms of the Apostles Peter and Paul. So it is an appropriate time to remember ‘The Unknown Martyrs of Communism’. We should also remember that today more than 3 billion people still live in countries where Christians face Communist oppression. Martyrs continue to lay down their lives in these places even now.”
Representative Foley says that while China, Vietnam, Laos, North Korea, and Cuba are considered the last “Communist” nations, the ideology remains influential in other countries, including India and Nepal. “In India, Communist groups are called Naxalites,” says Representative Foley.
“The name originated from the town of Naxalbari in northeastern India where an uprising occurred in the late 1960s. The Naxalites claim to represent the poorest in Indian society, especially those from a low caste or no caste in the Hindu-dominated country.” Representative Foley says that although the Naxalites do not commonly persecute Christians, they were responsible for the 2019 murders of two Christians in separate incidents. “In October 2019, they tied an evangelist to a tree and beheaded him for refusing, after repeated warnings, to stop sharing the gospel,” she says.
Representative Foley says that Eritrea should also be included in the list of countries where Christians experience Communist oppression.
“Eritrea’s president, Isaias Afwerki, studied in China during the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976),” says Representative Foley. “He absorbed Chairman Mao Zedong’s strong-arm approach to governance. When he returned to Eritrea, Afwerki founded his own Marxist revolutionary movement — the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front, later renamed The People’s Front for Democracy and Justice—and fought a 30-year battle for independence from Ethiopia. When Eritrea became independent in 1993, the situation for Christians worsened sharply. Christians in Eritrea are harshly persecuted to this day. Some endure imprisonment in shipping containers in extreme heat and cold. In June 2019, about 500 believers were arrested in multiple raids. In one raid on an underground church, authorities arrested 45 believers, including children, pregnant women and elderly people.”
Representative Foley says that despite the efforts of Communists to suppress and eradicate the church since 1921, Christians under Communism have remained faithful to Christ, and the church continues to grow today under Communist oppression.
“Rev. Richard Wurmbrand, the global founder of Voice of the Martyrs, spent 14 years in prison under Romanian Communists,” says Representative Foley. “He was once asked if Communism was a threat to the church. He said, ‘Communism is no threat to the church of Christ. Even the gates of hell cannot prevail against the church. It is Communism which is rather endangered by the existence of the church, because the last victory is ours.’ Rev. Wurmbrand said, ‘We don’t tremble before Communists. They should be in panic because of us.’”
At the press conference, Voice of the Martyrs Korea officially released its new booklet, “Communism Is Not Dead”, which presents a historical overview of the Church under Communism, as well as up-to-date information, trends, and testimonies. It is designed to be used as an educational tool for Korean Christians and churches. It is being offered in bundles of 10 for 10,000 KRW, which includes shipping.
Representative Foley says she believes Korean Christians have a growing interest in the situation of the church under Communism today, but they often lack detailed information since it is not reported in the mainstream media.
“The most popular book in our Voice of the Martyrs Korea online bookstore is Rev. Wurmbrand’s Marx and Satan, which traces the historical links between Satanism and Communism,” says Representative Foley. “The book is still as relevant today as when Rev. Wurmbrand first wrote it. But we also need to provide Korean Christians and churches with current information about Christians under Communism so that they understand that this is not past history that ended when the Soviet Union collapsed. Christians are continuing to make a bold witness and to pay for it with their lives in China, Vietnam, Laos, Cuba, North Korea, Eritrea, and India.”
Individuals interested in purchasing the “Communism Is Not Dead” booklets can do so in packets of 10 for 10,000 KRW by calling VOMK at 02-2065-0703 or by going to www.vomkorea.com/shop. Rev. Wurmbrand’s book, Marx and Satan, is available through the same source for 10,000 KRW.