Persecution in Laos
Laos, the world’s third-largest illicit opium producer, is a country with primitive infrastructure. It has a rudimentary road system, limited telecommunications, and no railroads.
Electricity is available in only a few urban areas. Subsistence agriculture accounts for half the gross domestic product. It is also a country where Christians face severe persecution.
In March 2004 Nambak District officials ordered Christians in the village of Nam Thuam to reject their faith or face the consequences. When they refused, district officials sent government agents to live in the homes of the Christians until they forsake their faith.
Some 35 government agents are currently in Nam Thuam — one agent per Christian household — living with Christian families. The Christian households must cover all the expenses of each agent until they renounce their faith.
‘There are government agents living with Christian families right now’, said a Christian leader from Luang Prabang Province. ‘The Christians have to pay for all the expenses of the agent living with them like food, clothing, drinks, whatever they want. The agents say “We will stay with you until you renounce your faith”.
‘No one has renounced their faith … The agents will not allow the Christians to worship together. The Christians are getting tired. You cannot pray or read the Bible in front of other people, just secretly.’
In the village of Thong Sa Vang, Phinh District, Savannakhet Province, all Christians have been asked to renounce their faith or face arrest. Throughout that Province some 20 churches are routinely forced to close their doors.
Christians in Laos are arrested and placed in forced labour camps to work in rice fields. Sometimes all Christians in a village are arrested at the same time and are forced to work in the rice fields for four to five months without pay.