Leader: President Choummaly Sayasone
Government: Communist state
Population: 7 million (192,000 Christians)
Main Religion: Buddhism
Persecution Level: Moderate
Source of persecution: Tribal antagonism
Especially in rural areas, Christians are affected by tribal antagonism as animism is still strong in the country. Tribal leaders and villagers continue to preserve these practices and anyone who turns their back on this belief and converts to Christianity faces the risk of getting expulsed from the community. Communities who practice animism see Christianity as a foreign element which may anger the spirits who protect the village. In one reported incident, authorities in a village tried to force Christians to worship ancestors and swear an oath to animist spirits, thereby proving their “loyalty, innocence, and submission” to local authorities. Refusal of this can lead to corporal punishment or to being banned from the village.