'Worst in a Decade': One in Three Christians in Asia Faces Risk of Persecution, Says Report

Paris: One in three Christians in Asia faces high levels of persecution after a “shocking increase” of religious-based threats and violence across the world, particularly in China and sub-Saharan Africa, a global advocacy group said Wednesday.

Around half of China’s 100 million Christians encounter persecution, “the worst it’s been in more than a decade”, following “new laws seeking to control religious expression”, the Open Doors watchdog said.

Persecution worldwide increased for the sixth straight year, with a total of 245 million Christians — one out of nine worldwide — facing high levels in 2018, up from 215 million, or one in 12, the previous year.

“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,” Open Doors UK and Ireland CEO Henrietta Blyth said in a statement.

More than 4,300 Christians were killed due to their beliefs worldwide last year, over 3,700 of them in Nigeria, according to the 2019 World Watch List.

The number of deaths in Nigeria almost doubled, with attacks from the jihadist Boko Haram group and ethnic Fulani herders posing a “double threat” for Christians, the NGO said. read more