An annual report by Christian charity Open Doors has revealed the extent of persecution of Christians around the world.
The World Watch List reveals that around 260 million Christians are experiencing high levels of persecution.
The report, presented on Wednesday to members of Parliament, lists the 50 countries where persecution is at its worst.
It found that North Korea remains the most dangerous place on earth to follow Jesus.
Tens of thousands of Christians are held in prison camps or sent to remote villages to work as forced laborers.
Open Doors estimates that almost 3,000 Christians worldwide were killed because of their faith last year.
China and India
When Open Doors U.K. CEO Henrietta Blyth spoke to BBC Radio 4, she also highlighted worrying developments in China.
“China has rocketed up our World Watch List”, she said. “We’ve seen churches closed; we’ve seen pastors imprisoned. It’s no longer possible to buy Bibles online. People under the age of 18 can’t attend Sunday school or church.”
In India, she said Christians are “experiencing extreme persecution from nationalist extremists” who want to eradicate Christianity from the country.
She also described Islamic extremism moving into West Africa which has resulted in increased persecution.
The U.K. government has recently pledged more support to Christians suffering persecution abroad.
Last year, the Rev. Philip Mounstephen, the bishop of Truro, published a report which concluded that the persecution of Christians is so extreme it amounts to genocide in some parts of the world.
He made a number of recommendations, which the government has now said it will adopt “in full”.
SOURCE: The Christian Institute