Photo credit: Seb Rumsby
In the communist country of Vietnam, religious liberty is not a reality. Recent improvements to their laws are not being followed in practice.
In particular, local & provincial government officials and police remain harsh-to-violent in their treatment of Christians and other religious groups.
Vietnamese authorities have always been extremely suspicious of Christianity, considering it to be a Western religion meant to undermine their power and subvert the government.
Two of the largest Christian ethnic groups in Vietnam are the Montagnards and the Hmong, mostly in the northwest & Central Highlands.
In a typical example of persecution reported to the USCIRF in 2016, authorities arrested at least seven Montagnard Christians from the Central Highlands after police reportedly instructed the individuals to stop believing in God.
In other reports local officials, authorities, and zealous communists have been guilty of religious persecution ranging from rape, beatings, and imprisonment to confiscation of property and land.
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom has recommended that Vietnam be listed as a “Country of Particular Concern” for religious persecution every year since 2002.
Although the United States has at times been highly critical of Vietnam’s religious persecution, the State Department only chose to do so for 2 of those past 15 years.
Pray that the US will use its considerable influence to encourage Vietnam to increase progress towards genuine religious liberty.
Pray that the government of Vietnam will honor their own new laws, and compel those in authority to obey the laws, protecting religious minorities, especially Christians.