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03/02/2012 Laos (HRWLRF) – On February 18, 2012, the Hueygong village chief Mr. KHAMPENG and the Saysawang sub-district police Mr. SOMPON issued an expulsion order against ten Christians families, consisting of approximately 65 believers; eight of the ten families became Christians three months ago. Christians now are holding worship services in the home of their leader Mr. JAR-YANG.
According to the order, Christians have up to March 18, 2012, to recant of their Christian belief or else they must be expelled from the village. Local Christians nearby are uncertain whether officials will use force to follow through with the order. Hueygong village and Saysawang sub-district are located in Pakoo district of Luangprabang province.
The expulsion order came shortly after the Pakoo district government refused to recognize the presence of Christians in its district—even though eight Christian churches now exist there. Prior to the order, district officials informed Christians to report the number of believers and churches to the Pakoo district government office in order to seek permission to be Christians. A Lao church leader northern Laos stated that a request to be Christians in Pakoo district would have to be approved by the Pakoo district chief and the district religious affairs as well as the secretary of the Communist party of the district. Without these district officials approving the request, villagers cannot become Christians or believe in the Christian faith. If they insist on believing it, they would then face punishment in the form of an expulsion or similar action.

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