What does persecution look like in Vietnam?
Vietnam is one of five remaining countries in the world which is still ruled by a Communist party. The government monitors Christian activity and exercises a high level of pressure on all Christians.
Historical Christian communities (such as Roman Catholic churches) enjoy a certain amount of freedom unless they become politically active, which can lead to imprisonment, or are involved in land-grabbing cases. Evangelical and Pentecostal congregations, most of whom gather in house churches, are closely monitored and face discrimination at various levels of government and society.
Converts from a Buddhist or Ethnic-animist background face the most severe persecution, not only from the authorities, but also from their families, friends and neighbours. Since most of them belong to ethnic minorities like the H'mong, the Communist authorities are particularly suspicious of them. Their homes are sometimes destroyed and they are then forced to leave their villages. Yet their numbers are reported to be growing.
Who is most vulnerable to persecution?
The pressure on Christians and violence against them is most severe among the ethnic minorities in the Central and Northwestern Highlands.
Converts from Buddhist or Ethnic-animist backgrounds face the strongest persecution, not only from the authorities, but also from their family and community. Many Vietnamese follow age-old traditions of worshipping ancestors and spirits, especially in rural areas. Whoever decides not to join in these traditions puts themselves outside of the family and community and will therefore be put under strong pressure to belong again.
Meet "Nguyen Van Quan"
“When a person or a family in the village decides to follow Christ, they can easily evangelise the whole village and the villagers are likely to believe as well. This is why when someone becomes a believer, he will be kicked out of the village, because the local government is afraid that he will share Jesus to everyone."Nguyen Van Quan is a Vietnamese-born pastor and Open Doors partner
What has changed this year?
While the situation for Christians by-and-large remains unchanged, it is getting increasingly difficult to receive information from the rural Central Highland provinces, where most of the H`mong Christians live, as the local and national authorities are going to great lengths to hinder any reports coming out from there. The situation for these Christians is certainly under-reported.
What does Open Doors do to help Christians in Vietnam?
Open Doors works through local partners to strengthen persecuted believers in Vietnam by providing relief and practical aid, advocacy support, Christian resources, leadership and discipleship training, and socio-economic development projects.
How can you pray for Vietnam?
- Thank God that the church is growing among ethnic minority groups. Pray that new believers will grow in faith and boldness
- Pray for protection over women in northern provinces who are vulnerable to trafficking
- Pray that leadership and discipleship programmes run by Open Doors partners will strengthen the church.
Dear Father, thank You for the witness of Your children in Vietnam. May they be known for their love and kindness, despite the pressures they face. Soften hearts in Vietnam to eradicate violence and discrimination against Christians and other religious minorities. Strengthen Your people to remain bold and steadfast during times of hardship. Bless Your people with jobs and the means to provide for their families. Amen.