Religious Persecution Has Risen in 200 Countries, U.S. State Department Reports

The U.S. State Department said in its annual report released this week that religious persecution has risen in nearly 200 countries.

CBN News Senior Reporter Gary Lane, who extensively reports on Christian persecution around the world, said he believes the violence will continue until people begin to ask how they can help.

“The key is, how serious are we when it comes to China?” Lane asked. “You’ve got as many as 3 million Uyghurs imprisoned, facing genocide. We say it’s genocide being committed, and what are we doing about it? Why are we still buying Chinese products?”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken reported there are 16 countries of “particular concern” where governments are targeting religious minorities.

“Unfortunately, the report also documents the continuation, and in some instances, the rise of very troubling trends,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“Governments in many parts of the world continue to target religious minorities using a host of methods, including torture, beatings, unlawful surveillance, and so-called re-education camps,” he said.

He said one of the worst abusers of human rights and religious freedom is in the Xinjiang province of China.

He also addressed the situation in Iran, where protests have continued after a woman was arrested by police for her hijab. She later died.

The report said that in the months after her death, government security forces killed 512 protestors, including 69 children, arrested 19,204 individuals and executed at least one person linked to the demonstrations on the charge of “enmity against God.”

Other countries mentioned in the report include India, Russia and occupied Ukraine.

“Authorities continued to investigate, detain, imprison, torture, physically abuse persons, and seize their property because of their religious belief or affiliation or membership in groups designated ‘extremist,’ ‘terrorist,’ or ‘undesirable,’ including Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatars, Hizb ut-Tahrir, Tablighi Jamaat, followers of Turkish Muslim theologian Said Nursi, the Church of Scientology, Falun Gong, and multiple evangelical Protestant groups,” the report says.

Photo courtesy: Juliana Kozoski/Unsplash

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.