chapter  I
The Impact of Christianity and Refugee Resettlement on Hmong Society and Health Care
Pages 17

IT HAS BEEN DOCUMENTED THAT CATHOLIC MISSIONARIES INTRODUCED Christianity to the Hmong, or Miao, of China as early as 1863.1 Additional documentation shows that Protestant missionary work began with the Hmong in the Yunnan and Guizhou regions shortly prior to the turn of the century.2 Christian missionaries came to Laos during the 1940s, but mass conversions did not occur until the late 1940s to early 1950s, due to interruptions caused by constant political instability in the region.3 It is widely believed that Catholic missionaries have been more sympathetic and successful in converting the Hmong to Christianity than Protestant, who have maintained a “radical intolerance” of traditional Hmong religious beliefs and practices.4 The successful mass conversions of Hmong to Christianity have tended to occur during periods when Hmong experienced extreme hardship, economic deprivation, and political instability.5 Christianity has been presented to many poor Hmong families as an alternative to traditional beliefs, with their associated practices, which affords relief from expensive ritual or kinship obligations.6 As a result, Hmong Christians often expect a “supreme force to intervene in their favour,” as many were drawn into the Christian fold by the “Saviour aspects” of Christianity.7