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Christian persecution likely to worsen in Asia in 2023

We urge all Greek Orthodox Christians and all people of good will to continue to pray for persecuted Christians worldwide, that God will comfort the afflicted and illuminate the persecutors with the light of His truth, so that they end their persecution.

“Christian persecution to worsen in Asia in 2023,” UCA News, January 6, 2023:

The persecution of Christians in seven Asian nations including China is predicted to increase in 2023 due to political pressure and radical religious views, says the latest report from UK-based Christian rights group, Release International (RI).

The RI report titled “Persecution Trends 2023” released on Dec. 28, 2022, highlights China, North Korea, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Malaysia, and Iran in the list of nations where Christians face persecution, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported on Jan. 4.

The group’s report highlighted the extensive control placed by Chinese President Xi Jinping on Christians in the nation labeling them as “unpatriotic” citizens through official messages.

“The government under Xi Jinping wants to control everything, and currently Christianity is not fully under its control [as it sees it],” the report said, quoting an unnamed source.

“Christianity is being pictured as unacceptable to an atheistic, communist country, rather than an acceptable but minority belief,” the report read.

The report highlighted the numerous reports of Christian leaders and followers arrested or summoned for questioning related to their activities in China.

The increasing number of Christians facing charges related to cults and illegal financial and religious activity was also pointed out as an indicator of Christian persecution in the Communist-ruled nation.

Beijing has sent out clear and strong messages to youth, teachers, and parents that “religion will harm their education” demanding them to report anyone engaging in religious activities to the authorities, the report read.

The report also pointed out instances of companies withdrawing job offers where applicants expressed “Christian beliefs.”

The situation of Christians in neighboring North Korea, a close ally of China was also highlighted in the report as worsening.

“North Korea is perhaps the most severe persecutor of Christians in the world today,” stated Andrew Boyd, Public Affairs Officer of Release International, RFA reported.

The regime under Kim Jong-un views Christianity as a tool used by Western powers to colonize other countries and “continues to educate the public on the ‘dangers’ of the clergy, missionaries, and Bibles,” the report read.

The report also highlighted the crackdown Beijing has begun on North Korean Christian defectors in China citing Covid-19.

The Chinese authorities have indicated their intent to deport the defectors to North Korea where they would probably be interrogated on their church attendance, missionary interaction, and receiving Bibles.

Citing the Hindu extremist groups’ pressure on Christians in India which is “increasingly emboldened by the nation’s right-wing Hindu Government” the report indicated continuous attacks on Christians in the country

The report claimed that the attacks on Christian missionaries from Hindu nationalist groups have increased since the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014.

The National Solidarity Forum and Evangelical Fellowship of India noted around 500 reported attacks on Christians in 2021, with about 200 recorded in the first five months of 2022, the report cited.

The country has seen the implementation of various anti-conversion laws which the ruling BJP party cites as a move to curb forced conversion.

Ten states — Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh— have enacted their anti-conversion laws, which have been challenged in courts in many places.

However, Christians and other minority groups have cried foul over the law that is often misused against Christian groups with politically motivated ill will….

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