The Asian country of Laos has been ruled by the communist Lao People's Revolutionary Party since the mid 1970s. Sadly, this supposed "people's party" has a rather long track record of human rights abuses against its own citizens. Torture, harassment, confiscation of property, denial of education, and forcing individuals to renounce their Christian faith are just a few of the documented abuses. For a brief period it appeared Laos was slowly making strides toward tolerance, both to avoid sanctions and to court potentially lucrative trade agreements. However, the power and influence of neighboring China, Burma and Vietnam have somewhat insulated Laos economically and geographically, paving the way for a resurgence of abuses from Communist authorities who are threatened by Protestant Christianity and it's supposed American influence. By denying access to education, water and medical care, authorities are forcing families to choose between recanting their Christian faith and merely surviving.