Laos has been tightening restrictions on Christian practice as an unwelcome Western influence, mirroring the situation of other Asian communist nations.
During the Christmas holidays, incidents of arrests, harassment, and censure of expressions of the Christian feast were reported around the country.
Nine police officers raided a Nakanong Village Christmas service on December 29 and arrested three church leaders on charges of illegally gathering for worship in the country’s southern Savannakhet province without government permission.
After taking the church leaders to the Phin district police station, officers returned to the village and arrested four more Christians and took them to the station as well. The officials later destroyed the stage and sound system at the village church and cut off its power, as well as seizing three cell phones.
Earlier in December, authorities arrested five other Christians in the Non Soung village of the Phin district after a group of Christians invited a pastor from a neighboring village to organize a Christmas celebration for them.