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LIST: Christian Persecutions Happening Around the World

"Today’s martyrs are more numerous than those of the first centuries," Pope Francis says.

Just recently, the 2020 World Watch List said that there is an unprecedented level of persecution against Christians around the world. This persecution is reportedly even worse than what the Church experienced during the first few centuries of its existence.

According to the report, there are 260 million Christians who faced persecution last year. Persecution, defined as any kind of violence from murder to daily pressure to intimidations and discrimination, usually stems out of hatred toward a religion or faith. (Read: Holy See Calls for Peaceful Solutions to Belarus Conflict)

Pope Francis, at the celebration of the International Day of the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion, said that a lot of Christians from around the world are making a “supreme sacrifice of martyrdom” for simply practicing their faith. He even said that today, many are facing “the same cruelty” as the one that Christians faced during the first centuries.

“How many of our brothers and sisters in faith endure abuse and violence, and are hated because of Jesus! I shall tell you something: today’s martyrs are more numerous with respect to those of the first centuries,” said Lolo Kiko. (Read: Did the CBCP Violate the Separation of Church and State in Pastoral Letter?)

In line with Pope Francis’ appeal for peace and harmony among different religions and regimes around the world, we list three instances of persecutions happening in this day and age. May these Christian brothers and sisters find strength in prayers and faith.

Surveillance of Church Activities in China and India

In September 2016, Local authorities in Wenzhou, China, installed CCTV cameras outside the funeral of Bishop Vincent Zhu Weifang to monitor the gathering. (Photo from Zhuminghai / UCA News)

One of the most alarming things happening around the world is the lack of freedom to practice one’s faith. In countries like China and India, persecution becomes digital through state surveillance. Church and other religious activities are being monitored through biometrics, artificial intelligence, and facial recognition. Some churches are required to install CCTV cameras so the government can monitor their members’ activities through facial recognition. (Read: Pope Declares September 4 as Worldwide Day of Prayer for Lebanon)

Imprisonment of Practicing Christians in North Korea

Screenshots from The Voice of the Martyrs Canada (North Korea: Persecuted Christian Starts New Life)

North Korea’s population is estimated to be roughly 24 million. Before the Korean War, it was believed that 13 percent of the population practices Christianity. Today, only two percent are Christians—one of whom was 31-year-old Kim Eun Jin, a North Korean born to a Christian family.

Kim was taught that there is no God in school and the people should worship the country’s leaders. However, growing up with Christian beliefs, Kim and her family would quietly gather for Bible studies every Saturday night—covering their heads to muffle the noise. (Read: 5 Religious People Who Were Detained in Their Fight for Human Rights)

Eventually, the state police arrested Kim’s father and uncle, and she never saw her father again. Kim, along with her mother, grandmother, and siblings escaped North Korea. Today, she is married, has a child, and frequently speaks to groups about human rights abuses in North Korea.

Arresting of Catholic Clergies in China

(Left) Coadjutor Bishop Augustine Cui Tai (Photos from UCA News and AsiaNews)

The Chinese government has been imprisoning members of the Catholic clergy—including bishops—who refuse to support the Communist Party. (Read: Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia Reconverts Into Mosque After 86 Years)

UCA News reports that priests in the Diocese of Yujiang who refused to join the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA) have been placed under house arrest. As such, they have been forbidden from “engaging in any religious activity in the capacity of clergy” as part of their punishment. Moreover, the Chinese Communist Party attempted to rewrite the 10 Commandments to reflect communist principles. Reports say they are also in the process of rewriting the Bible.

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