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02/19/2021 Laos (International Christian Concern) – Two months after a 28-year-old Christian leader in Laos was shot dead by an unknown attacker, the Lao authorities said they still have not identified a suspect in this case.

On the night of Dec. 13, 2020, an unknown gunman shot the ethnic Hmong Christian Cha Xiong, as he was returning to his home in Nam Bak district, Luang Prabang province, in the northern part of the country.

While Lao police remain hesitant to say religion was the motive behind the murder, however, an officer told Radio Free Asia that “[…] we are unable to conclude that because we are still searching for the person who committed this crime. But it is noteworthy that he was trying to propagate Christianity, and had been appointed to be responsible for other followers of that religion.”

In Buddhist-majority communist Laos, it is not uncommon for Christians to suffer discrimination and persecution due to the regime’s hostilities and their fellow citizens’ disagreement over their “foreign faith.”

According to a villager who requested anonymity, the family confirmed that Cha Xiong had no problems with anyone else in the village and did not owe money to anybody, but police have not made any progress in investigating his case.

“We lived close together. He is a good man and I’ve never heard anything bad about him,” another villager told RFA. Cha Xiong left behind four kids and a wife who now has to raise the children on her own.

RFA contacted Cha Xiong’s family for more details but they were unwilling to comment on the situation because they are still grieving their loss. Meanwhile, the authorities are still in search of evidence and witness to determine the motive to investigate this case further.

For interviews, contact Alison Garcia: press@persecution.org.