Vietnam

300x225x100_0987-2-300x225.jpg.pagespeed.ic.fAE94ppDObBeatings, starvation, torture – these are a reality for the many Vietnamese Christians imprisoned because of their faith. One Christian says of his experience in prison: “If it hadn’t been for my faith in Jesus, I would have committed suicide.” In one village Government forces moved in and beat the Christians in order to stop them from spreading the Gospel. One young man was beaten so badly that he died of his injuries. When his father put a photo of his son laid out in a coffin on the internet, he was jailed for three years.

While there are numerous church buildings inVietnam, Christians, especially evangelical believers, face much persecution from the Vietnamese government and authorities

(Copyright Lu’u Ly, taken from Wikimedia)

All this is happening in a country whose constitution guarantees freedom of religion and belief. Yet local officials often claim that nation-level laws do not apply under their jurisdiction. They also point out that the 2004 Ordinance on Religion and Belief states that it is illegal to “undermine the country’s peace, independence, and unity”, and that the Penal Code sets down penalties for offences such as “attempting to undermine national unity” by promoting “division between religious believers and non-believers”.

Vietnamhas been under Communist rule since 1975. While the growing Catholic Church enjoys a limited amount of freedom to gather, worship and train new leaders, Protestant Christianity is often seen as an import from the West (especiallyAmerica) and as a danger to communism. About two-thirds of Protestant Christians belong to ethnic minorities such as the Degar, who are especially vulnerable to persecution by the Government, often on trumped-up charges. One Degar Christian was evicted from his home together with his wife and their new-born baby in May 2008 on charges of “illegal religious activities”. The real reason for the eviction was that his testimony was bringing scores of families to Christ.

Even though the Believers have been severely persecuted, the Church in Vietnamhas grown 900 % since the Vietnam/USA war ended! PTL