A Death Threat from North Korea and 18 “Letters from Heaven” from South Korea


By Suzanne Scholte, Seoul Peace Prize Laureate

For over twenty years now, I have had the great honor of working for the freedom and human rights of the North Korean people.  As a result of this work, it is not unusual for the North Korean regime to attack me on their propaganda website, Uriminzokkiri.  Because I believe that North Koreans are deserving of the same freedom and human rights as South Koreans and Americans, the Kim Jong Un regime has labeled me “a female monkey”, a “dirty miser”, “an ugly political swindler”,  “a witch” and other unprintable words.  They even depicted me as a kangaroo in a cartoon attacking the annual North Korea Freedom Week when we first hosted it in Seoul.

But in July something happened that went way beyond these typical slurs and attacks.  I got this message directly in my email: “To Suzanne Scholte, This is your destiny.  You will DIE!! We see you everywhere.  We will Kill You.  Go home, and Wait Die.”  The threat was accompanied by a horrific real photo of a badly mutilated woman’s head.  The message and the photo haunted me for a day or two, and I was very ashamed about it and did not want anyone to even know about it.  It is something truly rattling to have someone hate you so much to have taken the time to have sent that message and to have taken the energy to search for the most horrific photo to accompany the death threat.  I did not want anyone to see the message or the photo for fear they would think of it when they thought of me.

Since the death threat was sent on the same day as other death threats against North Korean defectors, I knew it was from someone acting on behalf of the North Korean regime.  And it pained me that someone who does not even know me, could hate me so much simply because I wanted them to be free. I then finally realized how I should respond to this death threat: I prayed to God for this person and I now long for the day when I can meet them in person and tell them how much I love and care about them and that is why I do this work.  It is only because they are blocked from the truth by their regime that they could send such a message.

Then, something else happened about a week later: eighteen postcards arrived from South Korea.  The death threat from North Korea came on July 7th, but on June 29th, someone in South Korea, who also I do not know, arranged for 18 South Korean young people to send these postcards- all handwritten with illustrations from students in South Korea .  All were mailed from Korea on June 29, 2018 from “GY. DEOKYANG” and each of them had the same return address: “South Korea, A letter from Heaven” and the same message ” I love Scholte” and then different notes of encouragement with illustrations, Bible verses, etc. on the reverse side.

One wrote: “The reason I wrote this letter is to give you strength”; another wrote: “Jesus will give you strength All the Time”. Almost all wrote: “Thank you for helping the people of North Korea.”

And I realized that at the same time when someone in North Korea was looking for that horrible photo to send me and preparing a death threat, God was prompting someone in South Korea to encourage these students to send these powerful messages of love and support and prayers for freedom for North Korea and wisdom and strength for me.

It was truly awesome because I do not have any idea who is the North Korean who sent the death threat or who are the South Koreans who sent the postcards?  The reason why I decided to write this OPED is because I hope this message will reach them all.  These young South Koreans need to know how much their messages meant to me and how the timing was so important.  And they all need to know I have the same message for both: I love you, North Koreans and South Koreans.

I choose to stand on the messages in those 18 beautiful “Letters from Heaven” and I hope that one day I can thank the South Koreans in person who sent them, and one day soon I also hope to meet and hug that North Korean who sent a different kind of message, so they will know how much I care about them.

This article was originally published by Munhwa Daily.

President Signs North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act

Image result for george w. bush institute logo

JULY 23, 2018

by Victor Cha

On Friday, President Trump signed the North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act of 2017 into law.  This legislation is the latest update to the original North Korea Human Rights Act, which President George W. Bush signed into law in 2004.  

The law provides support for efforts to get information into the largely isolated country, including broadcasting and other efforts; NGOs that are providing assistance and conducting research on human rights conditions inside North Korea; and provides for a State Department Special Envoy on North Korean Human Rights. As with the previous versions of the law, the extension signed last week had strong, bipartisan support in Congress. 

What does this act mean for U.S. – North Korea relations?  George W. Bush Institute Fellow Victor Cha answers our questions.

Continue reading “President Signs North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act”

Victims of Communism Memorial Annual Wreath Laying Ceremony

Join us at 9 AM Friday, June 8 for the Victims of Communism Memorial for the annual Wreath Laying Ceremony: We will once again be representing the people of North Korea and laying a wreath to remember the millions of innocent men, women and children who have died because of the Kim family dictatorship.  It is very fitting on the days just before the Trump-Kim summit to remember that North Korea is one of five remaining dictatorships where the people continue to suffer and die under the tyranny of communism that has already killed over 100 million people worldwide.   Everyone is welcome to join us for this event. Note for the media:  Park Sang Hak of Fighters for Free North Korea and Grace Jo of NKinUSA will be attending the event and available for press interviews.  You can learn more here:


Letter to President Trump from North Korean Defectors

April 28, 2018

Mr. Donald J. Trump
President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington DC 20500

Dear President Donald Trump,

We are writing to you today as defectors from North Korea who have survived and left the most oppressive regime on the earth.

Today, we are holding the 15th North Korea Freedom Week event and are sending this letter to let you know how we, North Korean defectors, feel about freedom and liberty for the North Korean people.

Your meeting with Kim Jong-un has only come about because of your policy of ‘maximum pressure and engagement’ against North Korea. Please know that this meeting gives a great deal of hope to the 25 million North Koreans. Most of the North Korean people hope that the Kim dynasty, which has been in existence for 73 years, will end.

The thirty-two thousand North Korean refugees, who have left their beloved parents, family members, and relatives in North Korea, would like you to consider the following: Continue reading “Letter to President Trump from North Korean Defectors”

15th North Korea Freedom Week 2018 Press Release

15th North Korea Freedom Week 2018 (April 28~May 5)


‘North Korea Freedom Week’ is co-organized by NGOs in South Korea as well as international community to promote the freedom and human rights of North Korean people, which is held in the last week of April.

The events of North Korea Freedom Week focus on raising awareness on dire human rights situation that North Korean people face every day, and open to the public so that anyone can join.

The 15th North Korea Freedom Week is organized by the Honorary Chairman Suzanne Scholte of North Korea Freedom Coalition, and the representatives of North Korean defector NGOs and civil society leaders cooperate to form the Organizing Committee.

The theme of the 15th North Korea Freedom Week is “Truth Will Set Them Free”, and aims to achieve following goals:

1) To highlight the North Korean defectors’ actions to bring the freedom to North Korea (including balloon launch, sending PET bottles with rice)
2) To save North Korean refugees in China and call for the Chinese government to stop repatriating North Korean refugees
3) To introduce the education program for North Korean defector children
4) To expose the ongoing human rights violation of political prison and human trafficking, and find the solution

Continue reading “15th North Korea Freedom Week 2018 Press Release”

China Detains 7 More North Korean Refugees

Forced Return Threatens Torture, Sexual Abuse, and Mistreatment

Sophie Richardson
China Director
Human Rights Watch

All day, Park anxiously checked her cell phone, awaiting news of her sister, who was being transported along with six other North Koreans from China’s northern Liaoning province to southern Yunnan province.

Then came the news she dreaded: a text message saying Chinese police had apprehended her sister and two other North Koreans, including a teenager, while they were waiting for a train that day in late March. The other four members of the group briefly hid out in a safe house, but they too were apprehended a few days later.

Today, Park, who only uses her surname for fear of retaliation against relatives living in North Korea, joined a gathering of North Korean exiles and their supporters outside China’s embassy in Seoul, South Korea. The group meets monthly to call on the Chinese government to stop forcibly returning North Korean refugees back across the border to face torture, forced labor, sexual abuse, and worse.

“My sister has only me,” Park said. “And we need to do all we can before China decides to send her back to unimaginable horrors of torture, beatings, threats, and being treated like less than an animal.”

Continue reading “China Detains 7 More North Korean Refugees”

International Day of Prayer and Fasting for North Korea


April 28

Please commit to pray and fast with us for the people of North Korea on Saturday, April 28, the International Day of Extraordinary Prayer and Fasting to Almighty God for North Korea.

While there have been many prayer vigils and services focused on North Korea, we believe that not just prayer — but also fasting — is necessary to combat the evil that reigns over the people of North Korea.

In January, 2018, Dr. Thomas Belke, one of the world’s leading experts on Juche and author of JUCHE: A Christian Study of North Korea’s State Religion, testified before the Congressional International Religious Freedom Caucus about the spiritual evil pervading North Korea explaining that it can only be defeated by prayer and fasting. Citing Matthew 17:21, when Jesus told his disciples, “This kind [of demon] does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21), Dr. Belke reminded us of the many times in America’s history (e.g., President James Madison in 1814) when Americans appealed to Heaven with prayer and fasting to change the course of history.

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