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North Korea bans crosses amid fresh crackdown on Christians

by Antony Bushfield

The dictatorship has banned crucifixes and crosses, according to Radio Free Asia.

Clothing, books, jewellery and other items are being binned by officials in a bid to wipe out all signs of faith.

Kim Jong-un's regime is atheist and believes North Koreans should only worship the country's leaders.

Students have even been warned to take care when writing plus signs in maths lessons to avoid them being mistaken for a cross.

"We've always had to make sure there were no Korean characters on the labels of products that we brought in from China," said one shop keeper on Radio Free Asia.

"Now we have to check again to see that there isn't anything that looks like a cross.

Flickr John Pavelka

"Some designs on women's clothing can look a lot like a cross, depending on who is looking at it.

"Cross designs also appear on women's hairpins and hair bands and on men's neckties.

"These products are more likely to be confiscated during customs checks."

Advocacy charity Open Doors ranks North Korea the worst place in the world to be a Christian.

Christians face arrest, torture, imprisonment and death for believing there is a higher authority than the nation's leader, Kim Jong-un.

Open Doors estimates there is up to 400,000 Christians in North Korea but 70,000 are in prison.

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