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Laos Facts

Score: 71 / 100
Region: Asia
Persecution Type: Communist and Post-communist Oppression
Persecution Level: Very High
Population: 6,961,000
Christians: 225,000
Main Religion: Buddhism
Government: Communist State
Leader: President Bounnhang Vorachith

Profile of Persecution

Violence 27%
Church Life 89%
National Life 88%
Community Life 85%
Family Life 54%
Private Life 78%

Communism and violence increasing 

In one of the world’s poorest countries, Communism is growing bolder again, as authorities heavily monitor all religious activities, including those of registered Christian churches. House churches are forced to operate illegally. Because Christianity is seen as a Western ideology that challenges Communism, state authorities oppose any perceived Western influence and seek to control the small Christian minority.

To justify monitoring believers, local authorities often leverage society’s hostile attitude towards Christians. In 2018, violence against Christians increased with provincial and local authorities often cooperating with community leaders like Buddhist monks to pressure Christians, especially converts.

How Christians are suffering

Converts to Christianity face the most severe forms of Christian persecution. Abandoning Buddhism or tribal animist beliefs is seen as a betrayal to family members and the community, which fuels the perception that Christians essentially excommunicate themselves from the Buddhist-animist community.

Consequently, believers are persecuted by their immediate and/or extended family (usually one Laotian household is composed of three generations under one roof) and by local authorities who often stir up the community. Christians must take extreme caution to avoid negative reactions from government officials. And in rural areas, ordinary residents watch Christians with suspicion and sometimes even drive them out of their villages.

Examples 

In November 2018, police in Laos arrested a 78-year-old grandmother and three other Christians while they were worshipping, according to Human Rights Watch for Laos Religious Freedom. Police also evicted them from their homes and property.

Upon hearing multiple reports of people coming to Christ through a local evangelist’s healing ministry (he was healed and began healing others), police targeted him for capture and arrest. He was sentenced to five months in prison.

The 2017 Decree on Associations law has already been leveraged primarily against Christians, shutting down and limiting believers’ gatherings, especially in rural areas. The law requires that any gatherings, political, civic or religious, must first get approval from multiple government offices.

 

 

Pray for Laos

  • Pray with Laotian Christians for both courage and wisdom to know when and where to gather for prayer and worship.
  • Pray for protection of believers as violence against them increases. Ask God to give them discernment as they pursue Him.
  • Pray for religious freedom to increase and that more house churches will have the opportunity to register and operate legally.
  • Ask God to continue to draw Laotians to Him in miraculous ways that lead them to share their testimony and make disciples who make disciples.
  • Pray for Christians’ discernment in witnessing to their Buddhist neighbors and family. Pray their efforts would be well received.

 

Stories from Laos

June 9, 2019

‘Christians Are Useless’–Pray With House Church Leader’s Family Under Violent Attack

Laotian house church leader Tao and his family have endured persecution for almost a decade. Recently, villagers have become increasingly…

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December 23, 2017

‘Our Family Tied Us Up, Locked Us Out and Left Us”

When 17-year-old Nani* and sixteen-year-old Nha Phong* turned from their family's animistic beliefs and converted to Christianity, their family became…

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October 20, 2017

Faith and Courage—Jik’s Armor for Persecution in Laos

Today, by God’s grace, 62 churches and more than 3,000 believers are scattered throughout Oum province through the leadership of…

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