South-East Asia is home to two of the five remaining Communist countries in our world today – Laos and Vietnam.
Communism is both a political and economic philosophy. The main goal of the Communist Manifesto was to focus on class struggle and motivate the common people to rise up and overthrow the oppression of the ruling classes.
The economic model advocated by communists would destroy the upper classes and elevate the lower classes. This would make way for a new political order, where equality of outcome for all is enforced. While some of the aims of communism can be sympathised with, such as the elevation of the poor and provision for all, in practice, communism doesn’t end with mere economic and political reform.
The ideology demands the abolition of both religion and the absolute morality of religion. Countries and states which have adopted communism, become hostile to various faith groups, including evangelical Christians. Freedom of expression and belief are heavily curtailed and churches are forced underground, away from the eyes of governments opposed to them.
In lands where communism has been instituted by the people, the system begins to leave its ideals behind. Those in power often become totalitarian, using force to cling to power. These dictatorships result in great oppression of the people it was supposedly designed to serve, and movements to reverse course and leave communism behind are crushed in brutal fashion.
This pattern is well documented throughout the history of communist nations and regions. Some of the most famous examples include Russia (particularly so under Lenin and Stalin), North Korea under the Kim dynasty, China (under Mao and currently under President Xi), Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge, Cuba under Castro.
Laos and Vietnam can seem worlds apart from the places listed above. Frequented by backpackers, these exotic and tourist-friendly destinations mask much hostility.
Persecution against Christians is common in both lands. Church leaders are regularly arrested or even killed for their faith. Often, officials take more ‘subtle’ approaches in their opposition such as confiscating livestock or expelling entire Christian families from their homes and villages. Persecution is more widespread among the ethnic minorities, and tends to be more prevalent in rural regions, away from the eyes of the world. Bibles are outlawed in both lands, making it very difficult for Christians to obtain God’s Word.
Pray with us for believers living under communist rule and for the Kingdom of God to increase despite the hostility and opposition that exists in places like Laos and Vietnam.