THE number of countries where Christians suffer from very high or extreme levels of persecution has doubled over the past 12 months, the latest report by a global monitoring body suggests.
The charity Open Doors, which monitors persecution of Christians around the world, published its 2019 World Watch List on Wednesday. It said that 245 million Christians experience high levels of persecution, including one in three Christians in Asia.
In China, persecution of Christians is now at its highest level for a decade, and some church leaders say that it is at its worst since the Cultural Revolution.
The number of Christians in China is still growing, and by 2030 it is forecast to have the biggest Christian population in the world, exceeding 247 million.
The rise has prompted a tightening of control by the Chinese government over expressions of religion. A new regulation on Religious Affairs came into force last February, which prohibited children from hearing religious teaching and forced churches to place signs at their entrance forbidding anyone under 18 from entering. Many churches have been forcibly closed, and church leaders and worshippers have been arrested.
In one area, Roman Catholic churches had been told to replace pictures of Jesus with pictures of President Xi. read more…