By Lauretta Brown, National Catholic Register, 2/6/20
Lauretta Brown is the Register’s Washington-based staff writer.
WASHINGTON — The World Health Organization declared the deadly coronavirus a “global health emergency” last week — and China’s vulnerable and persecuted religious minorities, including Christians, could be at particular risk as the Asian nation’s health crisis worsens.
That’s the warning that Italian Catholic sociologist Massimo Introvigne, founder of the Center for Studies on New Religions in Turin, Italy, delivered in Washington Tuesday regarding the negative effects the coronavirus is having on China’s religious minorities.
Introvigne, editor of Bitter Winter magazine that monitors religious liberty in China, told the Register that the coronavirus already has had a “dramatic” effect on persecuted religious people like the Uyghur Muslims and Christians. He said that the outbreak has had two effects on religious minorities in China.
“Those who want to escape now, even if they have a visa, there are no flights, and the effectiveness of the visa they may have to Italy and some other countries is suspended, so it’s more difficult or even impossible to escape,” he explained. ….