Christian charity Release International is forecasting that persecution of Christians in China and India will increase in 2021.
The report says China has managed to avoid the scrutiny of the international community thanks to its strong trading relationships.
Chinese authorities “have bought freedom from censure due to trade with China. Many countries now regard this trade as essential to their own economies,’ International Release partners say.
“The government of President Xi Jinping is increasing its “clean up” of anything that does not advance the communist agenda. They appear to believe that they can achieve this by systematic opposition,” they continued.
Non-registered churches have been raided and closed in 2020 and increasing numbers of registered churches have been made to install CCTV cameras.
Earlier this month, Bob Fu, one of the leading advocates for persecuted Christian in China, faced bomb threats against his family in the US.
According to Mr Fu, the Chinese government has taken advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to strengthen restrictions on underground believers.
“The Chinese government is trying every way to take advantage of the virus by increasing the crackdown against Christian churches,” Mr Fu said. ‘It has accelerated particular campaigns, such as the forced removal of crosses,” he continued.
In India, there is also a growing intolerance towards Christianity. In September 2020, Hindu extremists gathered crowds of up to 3,000 people to attack Christians in three villages.
It is believed that prejudice against Christians increased following the landslide victory of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May 2019.
According to India’s Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), Christians suffered 225 incidents of religiously motivated violence during the first ten months of 2020 – compared to 218 incidents in the same period in 2019.
Chief Executive of Release International, Paul Robison said: “Our partners tell us that attacks are on the rise under Communism in China, Islam in Iran and Malaysia, and under militant Hinduism in India.
“Yet despite persecution and pandemic, we see clear evidence of the boldness, courage and trust in God of Christians under pressure around the world,” he concluded.