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Laos Facts

Score: 67 / 100
Region: Asia
Persecution Type: Communist and Post-communist Oppression
Persecution Level: Very High
Population: 7,038,000
Christians: 225,000
Main Religion: Buddhism
Government: Communist State
Leader: President Bounnhang Vorachith

Profile of Persecution Methodology

Violence 21%
Church Life 89%
National Life 83%
Community Life 81%
Family Life 51%
Private Life 77%

Where Persecution Comes From

In Laos, Christian persecution originates from communist authorities, local leaders and their immediate communities and families. Due to the tight grip of the Communist Party in this Southeast Asian country, religion is seen as a hostile element. Christianity, in particular, is considered a Western influence and especially dangerous. The government has recently made efforts to increase the monitoring of illegal house churches with the help of registered churches, resulting in the arrest and detention of Christian believers. Provincial and local authorities hinder Christian activity, often cooperating with community leaders like Buddhist monks to put pressure on Christians, especially converts. Families of converts heavily contribute to this persecution within the home.

How Christians are Suffering

Because the communist authorities heavily monitor all religious activities, including those of registered Christian churches, all religious gatherings must be reported beforehand. House churches are forced to operate illegally, in secret. Converts to Christianity become outsiders within their Buddhist-animist communities, pressured by family members and local authorities to recant their new faith. Some believers are arrested and detained when caught engaging in illegal church activities, or when Bibles or other Christian literature are discovered. Others are threatened, fined or beaten in an attempt to make them renounce their faith.

Examples

Buddhist teachings are often considered part of Lao “cultural education,” so they are included in the curriculum at some schools. In one case, Christian students were required to attend a Buddhist temple ritual.

In September 2016, the families and fellow villages of 50 people gave them three days to give up their Christian faith. On the second day, one of the 50 was murdered.

In January 2017, the house of a church leader was burned down.

Pray for Laos

  • Pray that Christians would have wisdom in witnessing to their Buddhist neighbors and family members. Pray that their efforts would be well received.
  • Pray that Christians in Laos would be able to freely access Bibles and register churches. Pray also that Christian children in Buddhist schools would not be discriminated against and receive low marks simply because of their faith.
  • Laos is one of the five remaining Marxist-Leninist countries in the world, and as such, it is strictly opposed to any influence deemed foreign or Western. The Communist Party puts enormous pressure on the small Christian minority. Please pray for increased openness and acceptance towards Christianity.

 

Stories from Laos

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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August 1, 2017

How Prison Made Me a More Efficient Evangelist

Buddhist-background believers in Southeast Asia risk imprisonment in very difficult circumstances. Dok* from Laos was imprisoned for 13 years. Recently,…

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