Home News Asia witnesses highest rate of Christian persecution in 2023

Asia witnesses highest rate of Christian persecution in 2023

Asia recorded the highest rates of persecution in 2023, with two out of five Christians facing persecution, according to the annual World Watch List released by Open Doors.

North Korea maintains its notorious position as the most hostile country for Christians, where freedom of worship is nonexistent, and practicing the faith could lead to imprisonment or death. 

In 2023, North Korea further fortified its border with China, making it even more challenging for Christians to escape persecution.

In China, which ranks 19, at least 10,000 churches were closed last year. “Digital surveillance is growing, with Christians in one province required to register on a state-controlled app before attending church services,” the report read.

Among the top ten countries with severe persecution, Yemen (5), Pakistan (7), Iran (9), and Afghanistan (10) in Asia, along with Somalia (2), Libya (3), Sudan (8), and Nigeria (6) in Africa, continue to pose significant threats to Christians. 

Pakistan stands out globally, securing the second position after Nigeria for anti-Christian violence.

Nigeria remains the deadliest country for Christians, particularly targeted by Boko Haram Islamist terrorists and Muslim Fulani herders. The 2023 Presidential elections briefly eased violence, resulting in a slight decrease in the global number of Christians killed compared to the previous year.

- Newsletter -

Open Doors, a non-denominational advocacy organization, indicated that a record number of Christians faced persecution in 2023, marking the highest figures in the past three decades. 

The report highlighted that more than 365 million Christians globally, equivalent to one in seven, are currently experiencing high levels of persecution for their faith.

The latest data, collected between October 2022 and September 2023 through Open Doors’ extensive local networks, revealed a grim global scenario. 

Attacks on churches and Christian properties surged in 2023, with an increase in violent assaults. The number of countries categorized with an “extreme level” of persecution rose from 11 to 13 compared to the previous year’s report.

The hostile acts against Christians range from killings, assaults, torture, and kidnappings to pervasive harassment and discrimination in various aspects of life, including the workplace, access to healthcare, education, and places of worship.

The year 2023 witnessed a sevenfold increase in attacks on churches, Christian-run schools, hospitals, and cemeteries globally. This surge was propelled by mob violence in India, church closures in China, and attacks in Nigeria, Nicaragua, and Ethiopia.

The destabilization caused by conflict or extremism exposed Christians to heightened risks, leading to over 295,000 Christians being displaced in 2023—more than double the previous year’s total. 

Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for about 3 percent of all displaced Christians across the most dangerous countries for believers.

Amidst the distressing findings, Open Doors also reported some positive developments. In Mali, voters adopted a new constitution in June 2023 that expressly recognizes non-Muslim minorities, including Christians. 

In India, an anti-conversion law was rolled back in the state of Karnataka after the Congress Party won a crucial election, challenging the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

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