The Pew Research Center puts the number of Christians in China at 67 million, 58 million of whom are Protestant and 9 million Catholic.
While Christians are one of the most persecuted religious groups in the world, it’s generally ignored because, unlike Muslims and Jews, Christians have no good word to describe it, a UK archbishop has said.
Anba Angaelos, the Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London, said because there is no Christian equivalent for words such as “anti-Semitism” and “Islamophobia,” the problem is not perceived as “the phenomenon which we know it is.”
Because there is no agreed-upon expression to describe Christian persecution, it is simply “left to happen,” he argued, according to The Telegraph.
“We know it’s a phenomenon in many countries, just as deplorable as anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and anything else that targets people precisely for their faith and so therefore must be addressed at the same level,” Angaelos said.
He highlighted the need for an expression by which people could easily grasp Christian persecution. This, he said, would allow people of “all faiths” to come together to combat it.
But currently, such persecution is largely ignored, even though 75 percent of all religiously motivated violence worldwide is committed against Christians, he said.
A 2017 report from Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) found that the situation of Christians around the globe is worsening, and yet “the extent of this persecution is largely ignored by our media.”
“In terms of the number of people involved, the gravity of the crimes committed and their impact, it is clear that the persecution of Christians is today worse than at any time in history,” said John Pontifex, the editor of the report titled “Persecuted and Forgotten?”
Additionally, a study from the Pew Research Center Report revealed that Christians reported incidents of harassment in more places around the world than any other tradition – 144 countries in 2016 compared to 128 countries in 2015 and 108 in 2014. Incidents included discrimination, verbal assault, physical attacks, arrests and the destruction of religious sites.
Persecution watchdogs like Open Doors USA and The Voice of the Martyrs also argue there is more persecution of Christians today than at any other time in history. On average, 255 Christians are murdered, 104 are abducted, 180 Christian women are raped, sexually harassed or forced into marriage, 66 churches are attacked, and 160 Christians are detained or imprisoned without trial because of their faith.
Last year, Vice President Mike Pence pledged that the Trump administration would redirect aid money formerly given to the United Nations to the U.S. Agency for International Development to assist persecuted Christians.
“Christianity is under unprecedented assault in those ancient lands where it first grew,” the vice president said. “Across the wider Middle East, we can now see a future in many areas without a Christian faith. But tonight, I came to tell you: Help is on the way.”
He specifically identified “radical Islamic terrorists” who have perpetrated “vile acts of persecution animated by hatred for Christians and the Gospel of Christ.” He promised to “[take] the fight to terrorists on our terms, on their soil,” and that “we will not rest, we will not relent, until we hunt down and destroy ISIS at its source, so it can no longer threaten our people or anyone who calls the Middle East home.”