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Open Doors sounds alarm on China

A Christian church in a neighborhood due for redevelopment in Dandong, China Getty Images/Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP

Open Doors sounds alarm on China

WASHINGTON—Every day last year, an average of eight Christians were killed for their faith, and about 23 Christian women suffered rape or sexual harassment, according to the persecution watchdog Open Doors, which released its annual World Watch List on Wednesday. The 2020 report reveals that 260 million Christians live in countries with high levels of persecution, a 6 percent increase from 2019. Every week saw the closure of 182 churches or Christian buildings on average, and about 309 Christians went to prison each month.

What’s changed? China rose from a rank of 27th in 2019 to 23rd this year on the list of countries that severely persecute Christians. The country levied tougher restrictions against churches, using facial recognition technology inside many of them and shuttering more than 5,000 in recent years. Open Doors CEO David Curry said that increasing surveillance in China represented a “blueprint for dictators around the world” on how to oppress religious minorities. Other countries, including India, may follow its lead, he warned.

North Korea remains the most dangerous place to be a Christian. The other countries in the top 10 are Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Eritrea, Sudan, Yemen, Iran, and India.

Dig deeper: Read about the case of Chinese Pastor Wang Yi, sentenced to nine years in prison for trumped-up charges.

Harvest Prude

Harvest is a former political reporter for WORLD’s Washington Bureau. She is a World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College graduate.



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