Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Friday 15 January |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Nikolaus Gross
home iconNews
line break icon

Group identifies North Korea as worst country for Christians



Nabożeństwo protestanckie w Korei Północnej.

John Burger - published on 01/20/19

China and India move higher on list of offenders.

North Korea tops the list of the 50 countries where it is most dangerous to be a Christian, according to a report from a watchdog group that monitors religious freedom.

Open Doors, which assists Christians in areas of the world where persecution is rampant, publishes the World Watch List, an annual report on the global persecution of Christians. The report, which comes out at the beginning of each year, ranks the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted for their faith. The list uses data from Open Doors field workers and external experts to quantify and analyze persecution worldwide.

Countries are ranked by the severity of persecution of Christians, calculated by analyzing the level of violent persecution plus the pressure experienced in five spheres of life.

This year, the group has found a sharp increase in persecution of Christians in the world’s two most populous countries. For the first time since the start of the World Watch List, India has entered the top 10. And China jumped 16 spots, from 43 to 27.

The source of the persecution in India is Hindu nationalist extremists, Open Door says. “Since the current ruling party took power in 2014, attacks have increased, and Hindu radicals believe they can attack Christians with no consequences,” according to the report. “The view of the nationalists is that to be Indian is to be Hindu, so any other faith— including Christianity—is viewed as non-Indian. Additionally, in some regions of the country, converts to Christianity from Hinduism experience extreme persecution, discrimination and violence.

Meanwhile, China, which historically has been suspicious of Christianity at best, became even more hostile over the past year as President Xi Jinping has consolidated his power.

“The management of religious affairs lies with the Communist Party now, not just with government, and Christians are feeling this strongly,” Open Doors reports. “Crackdowns against Christians happen country-wide and in both state-approved and non-registered churches. The youth are increasingly being removed from church life, worship is monitored via CCTV and spies, and teachers and medical workers are told they are not allowed to have any religious affiliation.”

In North Korea, where there are about 300,000 Christians out of a total population of 25.6 million, Christians are seen as “hostiles to be eradicated,” the report says. “There was hope that new diplomatic efforts in 2018— including the 2018 Winter Olympics—would mean a lessening of pressure and violence against Christians, but so far that has not been the case. Kim Jong-un has maintained tight control over the populace, and dissent or worshiping anything else is not tolerated.”

After North Korea, the other nations on the top 10 list are Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Sudan, Eritrea, Yemen, Iran and India.

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Cerith Gardiner
Meet the dad who's teaching basic skills on Y...
Bret Thoman, OFS
An exorcist teaches 4 steps to forgive
Philip Kosloski
What is the Holy Cloak of St. Joseph?
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful...
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Why God loves ordinary stuff: Pope Francis' r...
POPE FRANCIS; Ash Wednesday
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Vatican: Imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday...
Cerith Gardiner
Meet the family of 12 siblings with a very sp...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.