More than 245 million Christians worldwide face high levels of religious persecution.
This sobering news was divulged with the release of the 2019 Open Doors World Watch List, which shows the rankings of the top 50 countries where it is most dangerous and difficult to be a Christians.
As it has in done over the past several years, the report shows a dramatic increase in the persecution of Christians, according to Open Doors USA President David Curry.
Although Islamic oppression fuels persecution in eight of the top 10 countries on the list, he especially pointed to the world's two most-populous countries – India and China – which are using the strength of their governments to harass Christians … or even sometimes eliminate the faith.
Curry noted that India entered the top 10 list for the very first time.
"There's a strong push – they're number 10 on the World Watch List – by the movement to Hindu-ize the entire country, making Christianity essentially illegal, and you see in that an increased pressure,” Curry noted. “A lot of violent attacks, people beating up Christians, hundreds of attacks on Christians this year."
China jumped from the 43rd spot last year to number 27.
"They're using technology,” Curry continued. “For example, they shut down a church in September of 2018 – Zion Church in Beijing – because [the church] refused to put closed-circuit television cameras on the pulpit to watch the congregation. [China] is violating the privacy and sanctity of churches in order to monitor who's there [and] why are they there."
Topping the list as the worst persecutor of Christians for the 18th year in a row is North Korea.