Christian persecution watchdog Open Doors has released its annual “World Watch List”, detailing and ranking the many countries around the world that continue to actively oppress their Christian populations. The 2019 list, which is topped by North Korea for the eighteenth year in a row, indicated significant increases in persecution within the world’s most populous countries — India and China.
“China jumps a shocking 16 spots on the Open Doors World Watch List from No. 43 to No. 27, while India enters the top 10 list for the first time,” the organization noted in a press release Wednesday. “Russia, which last appeared on the list in 2011, enters at No. 41.”
Why have these two countries shot up the list?
Over the past year, we have seen a marked increase in the persecution of Christians across this nation, particularly at the hands of Hindu radicals. As Open Doors noted, Hindu nationalists have continued to “fuel a crackdown on Christians and churches, promoting the widespread oppression of religious minorities.”
This has led to a rapid deterioration in the security situation with regards to Christians, as “non-Hindus are increasingly regarded as outsiders in their own country.” Such radicalism has also, Open Doors added, “translated to brutal violence against Hindus who have converted to Christianity.”
“The situation in India is volatile,” it noted, adding that “religious minorities in particular face extremely dangerous situations with mobs of violence breaking out and demanding death sentences.”
As we have documented here at Faithwire, the Chinese government has, over the past year, launched an increasingly brutal crackdown on Christian ministry activities across its vast landscape. This culminated in the arrest of a prominent Chinese pastor, Wang Yi, at the beginning of December after he called on President Xi Jinping to repent of his sins. Yi is still behind bars at this time.
“China’s dramatic rise in 16 spots from last year’s ranking is one of the highest jumps on the list,” noted Open Doors. “The heightened power of the Chinese government is being wielded to remove any challenges to the absolute authority of President Xi Jinping, even if those challenges are related to personal faith in a god other than the State.”
“New regulations and government crackdowns have made open worship for unregistered churches increasingly risky, particularly in certain regions of the country,” the charity added. “Pastor Wang Yi’s recent arrest along with some 150 Christians is a recent indicator of the expanding level of control and religious persecution.”
Upon the release of the new list, President and CEO of Open Doors USA, David Curry, said that his organization “continues to see ominous persecution trends against Christians.”
“Islamic radicalism continues to dominate and influence all spheres of life for Christians, and we are watching China and India very closely,” he said.
Open Doors USA President/CEO David Curry will reveal the 2019 Open Doors World Watch List—a ranking of the top 50 countries where it is most dangerous and difficult to be a Christian—and provide an update on the state of persecuted Christians worldwide.
Posted by CBN News on Wednesday, January 16, 2019
“The distressing impact of billions of people living in an environment in which the government oppresses freedom of religion is unraveling day by day as millions of Christians are being attacked, imprisoned or killed,” he noted. “Open Doors will continue to walk alongside these Christians and advocate on their behalf for human rights we take for granted in America.”
Is there any good news?
Yes. Compared to the dire statistics published in last year’s report, the nations of Iraq and Malaysia have made significant improvements in their treatment of Christians. According to Open Doors, Iraq saw a dramatic decrease in persecution around “private, family, national and community life” which is “mostly due to the territorial defeat of ISIS.”
The charity also praised Iraq for declaring Christmas a national holiday.
World Watch List 2019 – Top 10:
- North Korea
Here are five of Faithwire’s top stories from 2018 which detailed Christian persecution in various countries across the globe:
Please join us in praying for all those who are persecuted for their faith in Jesus.