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East Asia The economies of East Asia have been growing rapidly over the past twenty years. China has led the way and is on course to become the world’s largest economy, while Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam have become manufacturing powerhouses. This startling economic growth has caused US President Barack Obama to announce a “pivot to Asia” in American foreign policy, by which America will devote more attention to the region. Most international focus is on economics and business, although China’s growing military power has become an issue in the wake of its involvement in a number of territorial disputes in the East China Sea and the South China Sea. The region is politically diverse: communist governments of various types in China, Vietnam, Laos and North Korea; large democracies in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines; Burma, which is transitioning to democracy after a long period of military rule; and two kingdoms, Bhutan and Brunei.

RUSSIA KAZAKHSTAN UZBEKISTAN

MONGOLIA

KYRGYZ.

NORTH KOREA

TURKMENISTAN TAJIK. IRAN

BAHRAIN QATAR UAE SAUDI OMAN ARABIA

SOUTH KOREA

CHINA

AFGHANISTAN

JAPAN

BHUTAN

PAKISTAN

NEPAL INDIA

TAIWAN

BANGL.

YEMEN

BURMA

HONG KONG MACAU

LAOS

THAILAND

VIETNAM

CAMBODIA SRI LANKA

PHILIPPINES (MINDANAO)

BRUNEI MALAYSIA

MALDIVES

SINGAPORE

INDONESIA TIMOR-LESTE

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

AUSTRALIA

The region is also religiously diverse, though most countries have a single majority religion – Buddhism, Islam or Confucianism. Christianity has been present in the region for centuries (through the efforts of Roman Catholic and Protestant missionaries). The map shows that the predominant persecution category is significant, reflecting the fact that while freedom for Christians to worship is generally permitted in the region, there are many restrictions and prohibitions placed on other Christian activities, and some local opposition. China’s decision finally to close its labour camps (where prisoners were “re-educated” for up to four years) has been seen as a significant advance for human rights, though some observers have reported that some of the facilities have been merely rebranded as rehabilitation centres and extra prisons. In the island nations of south east Asia, Christians are facing growing hostility. This is shown in Malaysia by the decision to reserve the word “Allah” (God) for use by Muslims only; in Indonesia by the increasing number of churches being attacked and closed down; and in Brunei by the introduction of Sharia law punishments.

East Asia

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Church in Chains Global Guide  
Church in Chains Global Guide  

The Church in Chains Global Guide lists 60 countries where Christians face persecution because of their faith. The Global Guide divides the...

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