Christian persecution includes, but not only limited to physical harm

Illustration depicts modes of CCP persecution.
(Photo: Flickr/Angela Xu)

(ChinaAid, Midland, TX—October 28, 2021) In the NOLA article, “What Counts as Persecution When Applying for Asylum or Refugee Status,” Ilona Bray, J.D. asserts that many things, including, but not limited to physical harm may qualify as persecution for a person seeking asylum or refugee status. The United States immigration law’s definition of “refugee” mentions the word “persecution” (See the Immigration and Nationality Act at I.N.A. Section 101(a)(42)). The law, however, does not provide a separate definition of persecution, nor specifically list any types of harm that could qualify for consideration, except for the law that states people who have or fear being “forced to abort a pregnancy or to undergo involuntary sterilization….”
In most cases, refugees must prove that their suffering or fear constitutes persecution. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals stated that “Persecution covers a range of acts and harms,” and “[t]he determination that actions rise to the level of persecution is very fact-dependent.” The Seventh Circuit noted nevertheless, that, “actions must rise above the level of mere ‘harassment’ to constitute persecution.”
The following types of harm can equate to persecution:

  • physical violence: for example, beating, assault, handcuffing, rape or sexual abuse, female genital mutilation, electric shocks, invasive physical examinations, forced abortion or sterilization, forced labor, and so on, whether or not this caused serious injuries or long-term damage or required medical attention
  • torture: a severe human rights violation that may involve physical violence, deliberate infliction of mental harm, prolonged unlawful detention, rape, and sexual violence, and so on

  • other
    violations of human rights: for
    example, genocide or slavery

  • threats of harm: particularly if the threatened harm is serious, caused emotional or psychological damage, or are credible, for example, because the persecutor has already inflicted harm on the person or his or her family or others similarly situated
  • unlawful detention: punishment for a regular crime is not persecution, but if the person is detained without due process or formal charges or for discriminatory or political reasons, this may rise to the level of persecution, particularly if the detention was combined with mistreatment
  • infliction of mental, emotional, or psychological harm: this can include intimidation, surveillance, interference with privacy, long-term threats, or being forced to engage in conduct that is not physically painful or harmful but is abhorrent to the person’s deepest beliefs

  • substantial economic discrimination or harm: for example, deliberate deprivation of food, housing, employment, or other life essentials, or ransacking, destruction, or confiscation of property

  • other discrimination or harassment: for example, passport denial, pressure to become an informer, or restrictions on access to education; also, some applicants might need to show a combination of actions against them if none by themselves was serious to fit traditional understandings of persecution.

The 2019 Flow Report  revealed the top ten countries whose citizens received grants of asylum from USCIS included (from most to least):

  1. Venezuela
  2. China (PRC)
  3. Egypt
  4. Turkey
  5. Russia
  6. Guatemala
  7. El Salvador
  8. Mexico
  9. Nigeria
  10. Honduras.

The Flow Report also provides figures for the top ten countries whose citizens received grants of asylum in immigration court proceedings, including (from most to least):

  1. China (PRC)
  2. El Salvador
  3. India
  4. Guatemala
  5. Honduras
  6. Mexico
  7. Cuba
  8. Cameroon
  9. Nepal
  10. Venezuela.

The persecution a person seeking asylum or refugee status suffered must have been based on at least one of the five following grounds: 

  1. race,
  2. religion, 
  3. nationality, 
  4. political opinion, or 
  5. membership in a particular social group. 


And there will be great earthquakes in various places, 
and famines and pestilences; 
and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. 
But before all these things,
they will lay their hands on you and persecute you,
delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. 
You will be brought before kings and rulers
for My name’s sake. 
But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony.
                                                                                  ~ Luke 21:11-13 (NKJV)


China Aid exposes abuses in order to stand in solidarity with the persecuted and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law. If you wish to partner with us in helping those persecuted by the Chinese government, please click the button below to make a charitable donation.

ChinaAid Media Team
Cell: +1 (432) 553-1080 | Office: +1 (432) 689-6985 | Other: +1 (888) 889-7757
Email: [email protected]
For more information, click here

Scroll to Top