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Laos: Three U.S. Citizens Arrested for Spreading Christian Materials

“While the constitution of Communist-run Laos technically protects freedom of religion, conflicts between Christians and local authorities often flare up because authorities in the traditionally Buddhist nation consider Christianity a ‘foreign religion.’”

We have also seen this view among authorities in China, India, and elsewhere. This puts the Christians of Laos, and other countries where Christianity is considered alien, in a particularly precarious position, as the ones who should be protecting them are arrayed against them. Please pray for all Christians in such a situation, that the Lord Jesus would turn and transform the hearts of these anti-Christian authorities.

“Three U.S. Citizens Arrested in Laos for Spreading Christian Materials,” Radio Free Asia, April 12, 2019:

Lao authorities have arrested three U.S. citizens in Luang Namtha province’s Sing district for distributing bibles and other evangelistic materials, a Christian organization in the United States told RFA’s Lao Service on Friday.

Identified by their organization only by their given names, Wayne, Autumn and Joseph are believed to have been detained in a guesthouse since Monday, after visiting villages in northern Laos to hand out the materials.

“It appears that the interrogations have been going slowly. [Police] brought them into a room and said they would be back in 10 minutes, then they were gone for 4-5 hours,” said Eric Blievernicht, Operations Manager of Vision Beyond Borders in an interview with RFA.

“Our concern now, if we don’t get them released soon in the next day or so, is that they will be held over the New Year,” he said, referring to the traditional New Year observed in Southeast Asia, which falls on April 13, with celebrations running for more days.

Blievernicht said he was aware that the U.S. embassy in Laos has been notified and has gotten involved. He also said that only the three Americans were detained and no Laotians were.

An official of the Luang Namtha police department confirmed that the three were arrested but denied they are being detained.

“What we know about these three individuals is that they are not detained. Their passports have just been confiscated,” said the official….

While the constitution of Communist-run Laos technically protects freedom of religion, conflicts between Christians and local authorities often flare up because authorities in the traditionally Buddhist nation consider Christianity a “foreign religion.”…

In a 2017 report, the U.S. State Department said that Lao local authorities often arrested or detained members of minority religions during the year, with a district-level official in Houaphan province expelling 26 Hmong Christians from their village, advising them they could return only if they renounced their faith.

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