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Home  >  News  >  Asian Christians Face Increasing Persecution


Asian Christians Face Increasing Persecution

Wednesday January 16 2019

Asia is the new hotbed of persecution for Christians, according to figures published today in the Open Doors World Watch List 2019.

These figures show that persecution in Asia has risen sharply over the last five years, with one in three Asian Christians now suffering high levels of persecution.

India entered the List's top ten for the first time, due to a rise in violent attacks on Christians and churches by Hindu extremists. This is driven by growing ultra-nationalism, which has brought waves of violence against India’s significant non-Hindu religious minorities. Rising nationalism is leading to similar persecution in other countries such as Bhutan, Myanmar and Nepal where national identity is tied to religion.

China has also moved up the list (up 16 places to 27) due to new laws seeking to control all expression of religion.

Open Doors UK and Ireland CEO Henrietta Blyth said: “Our research uncovers a shocking increase in the persecution of Christians globally. In China our figures indicate persecution is the worst it's been in more than a decade – alarmingly, some church leaders are saying it’s the worst since the Cultural Revolution ended in 1976. Worldwide, our data reveals that 13.9 per cent more Christians are experiencing high levels of persecution than last year. That’s 30 million more people.”

The World Watch List is a ranking of the 50 countries where the persecution of Christians is most extreme, using data gathered across ‘five spheres of life’: private, family, community, national and church life – plus a sixth sphere measuring levels of violence. North Korea remains top of the list, followed by Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Sudan, Eritrea, Yemen, Iran and India.

In terms of violence, Open Doors’ monitors have reported that 4,305 Christians were reported killed because of their beliefs in 2018, of which 3,700 were in the North and Middle Belt of Nigeria, where Christian deaths at the hands of Muslim Fulani herdsmen were declared ‘genocide’ by the Nigerian House of Representatives.

However, the observers warn that many more deaths go unreported.

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