Laos Govt accused of persecuting Christians
Authorities in southern Laos have evicted three Christian families from their homes for refusing to renounce their religious beliefs, according to Radio Free Asia (RFA), in a move condemned by the US government.
The families, from Muang Phine district in Savannakhet province, are now in the care of a Christian church after being forced out of their homes in late March, the US government-funded network said in a report broadcast at the weekend.
"Frankly, we are disappointed at what appears to be kind of a regression, where earlier it seems like some of the trends were improving," William Inboden, special adviser to the US ambassador-at-large for religious freedom, told RFA's Lao service.
The US State Department official also cited reports that Christians in the northern city Luang Prabang and elsewhere were facing pressure from Lao authorities to renounce their faith or face eviction or detention.
Some people have been arrested "just for speaking freely and openly about their faith and in other parts of the country, Lao Christians have been ordered to close their churches and to stop their worship practices," he said.
Inboden warned that such practices could hinder support in Washington for extending normal trade terms to the impoverished Southeast Asian nation, RFA said in a statement.
[Pakistani] Christian gets life in jail for blasphemy (Daily Times)
Pakistani man sentenced to life in prison for vandalism (AP)
China: Three Clergy, Seminarians, Laywoman Harassed In Southeastern China (UCA News)
28 Apr 2003