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Burma (Myanmar)

Myanmar

Myanmar

RESTRICTED

Capital
Rangoon (also called “Yangon”) has been the capital. The government has moved many of its offices to Nay Pyi Taw, making that city the “administrative capital.” (Source: CIA Factbook)

Size
Burma is a little smaller than Texas.

Main Languages
Bangla (also known as Bengali), English

Time
At 6 a.m. U.S. Central Standard Time, it is 6:30 p.m. in Rangoon.

Interesting Fact
Thanaka is a paste or powder made from tree bark. Many women and children in Burma wear thanaka on their faces to prevent sunburn and to keep their skin cool. It is also used as makeup. Some people apply it on their faces in pretty patterns.

 

History
Natural disasters are common in Myanmar. The government has not had a history of treating people fairly. Human rights and freedoms are often not respected.

Religion
About 75 percent of the people in Burma are Buddhists.

Persecution
“The government would like all the people to speak the same language, Burmese, and to follow the same religion, Buddhism,” a Christian worker said. Most Christian missionaries were kicked out of the country in the 1960s.

The government persecutes minority groups. Christianity is strong among some of the groups. This gives the government two reasons to persecute members of the groups.

Christians sometimes have a hard time getting permission to build new churches or repair old ones.


Chiapas

Chiapas

Chiapas

Capital
Tuxtla Gutierrez

Size
More than 4 million people live in Chiapas.

Main Languages
Spanish

Time
At 6:00 a.m. U.S. Central Standard Time, it is also 6:00 a.m. in Chiapas.

Interesting Fact
Cattle in Chiapas sensed danger before a big mudslide in November 2007. The cattle fled to higher ground, and some villagers chased them. The land they fled from was destroyed by the mudslide. The cattle saved the villagers’ lives. (Source: Associated Press) 

History
Mexico was ruled by Spain for 300 years until it became an independent country in 1810.

Religion
The constitution of Mexico states that the country has freedom of religion.

Persecution
Religious freedom is usually respected in Mexico. But “traditionalists” in Chiapas and some other states in southern Mexico sometimes persecute people who do not want to follow their customs. Traditionalists follow some Catholic teachings, but mix the teachings with practices from the ancient Mayan religion, which does not follow the Bible. (See more about the ancient Mayan religion under “Their Beliefs.”)


China

China

China

RESTRICTED

Capital
Beijing

Size
China has more people than any other country in the world. In area, it is the fourth largest country.

Main Languages
Chinese

Time
At 6:00 a.m. U.S. Central Standard Time, it is 8:00 p.m. in Beijing.

Interesting Fact
China covers enough territory to have many time zones. But the government wants everyone to officially use Beijing time. In Kashgar, a city in western China, the sun can rise after 9:00 a.m. in the winter according to Beijing time. Sunset can be as late as 10:00 p.m. in the summer. So people from the Uygur ethnic group in Kashgar follow their own unofficial time.

History
In 1949, communists took over the government of China. They tried to get rid of Christianity. It was against the law to spread the Good News of Jesus. Few Chinese people owned Bibles.

Religion
About half the people in China are not part of any religion. About 40% are Buddhist or followers of traditional Chinese religions. Less than 10% are Christian.

Persecution
The majority of Chinese Christians worship in house churches that are not approved by the government. In some parts of China, police raid house churches, arrest Christians, and take away Bibles. But millions of people are coming to Christ every year.


Colombia

Colombia

Colombia

HOSTILE

Capital
Bogota

Size
In area, Colombia is bigger than Texas and smaller than Alaska. Colombia’s population is about 45 million.

Main Languages
Spanish

Time
At 6 a.m. U.S. Central Standard Time, it is 7 a.m. in Bogota.

Interesting Fact
On Sunday mornings, more than a million people in Bogota ride bikes, skate, hike, and take exercise classes. More than 70 miles of main streets are closed to cars and turned into a system of bike paths called “Ciclovia.” 

History
Colombia became an independent country in 1819. Before that, it was ruled by Spain. In recent decades, violent anti-government groups have been fighting against the government. They do not have enough power to take over the government. But they still cause a lot of sorrow and trouble with their illegal activities and violence in parts of the country.

Religion
About 80 percent of Colombians are Catholic, and about 15 percent are Protestant.

Persecution
In recent years, violent groups have been fighting against the government. The groups persecute Christians. They know that Christians do not approve of their violence, drug selling, and kidnapping. Some groups attack and threaten Christians and sometimes drive them from their homes. Bold Christians sometimes share the gospel of Jesus with people in the groups.


Comoros

Comoros

Comoros

RESTRICTED

Capital
Moroni

Size
Slightly more than 12 times the size of Washington, DC.

Main Languages
Arabic and French

Time
At 6:00 a.m. U.S. Central Standard Time, it is 2:00 p.m. in Comoros.

History
Before Comoros became an independent country in 1975, it was ruled by France. Since then, there have been many struggles by different people to take over the government.

 

Religion
Mostly Muslim.

Persecution
The government does not allow anyone to teach Muslims about a different religion. Children ages 3 to 6 years old attend schools to learn to read and recite the Quran. (The Quran is the Muslim holy book.) In some places, Christians do not have the same rights and freedoms as Muslims.