21

Vietnam Facts

Score:72/ 100
Region:Asia
Persecution Type:Communist and post-communist oppression
Persecution Level:Very High
Population:97,429,000
Christians:8,737,000
Main Religion:Buddhism
Government:Communist State
Leader:President Nguyen Phu Trong

Profile of Persecution

Violence 59%
Church Life 87%
National Life 82%
Community Life 77%
Family Life 51%
Private Life 74%

Communist suspicion, tribal tensions

Christians in Vietnam are targeted by both the government and, especially in rural contexts, tribal leaders. The government has some level of tolerance for Christian groups, particularly Catholics, but if any believers are deemed to be politically active, they can be imprisoned. In places where religion and ethnic identity are closely tied, Christians who convert from traditional religions are often the victims of pressure and violence from their families and communities.

On the state level, villagers collude with local Communist authorities, beating believers, kicking them out of their villages and stoning places of worship during meetings. Local and national government authorities persecute the Christian minority through their laws, and Christian bloggers and political activists have been arrested and sentenced.

A sweeping 2018 law on religion, which looked like a possible improvement for Christians on paper, has not changed anything substantially, except to add another source of uncertainty. Tighter regulations on online communication are also restricting and limiting the freedom available to Christians.

Despite dropping by one place in the overall ranking of the top 50, the persecution score for Vietnam actually went up by two points. The score for violence and almost all spheres of life increased slightly.

How Christians are suffering

Both non-traditional Protestants and converts from indigenous religions are persecuted intensively. Estimates indicate that approximately 80 percent of the country’s Christians belong to the country’s ethnic minorities, like the Hmong, and face social exclusion, discrimination and attacks. Ethnic minority Christian children are discriminated against in schools; their medical needs also are often neglected. Some are not even allowed to attend school at all.

Non-Christian relatives of Christians are also strong persecutors, cutting family ties and denying any family inheritance. In some cases, relatives force a Christian spouse to divorce and then withhold custody of their children. Believers’ homes are sometimes destroyed, forcing them to leave their village.

Examples

In several incidents, churches and monasteries in Hanoi, Hue and Saigon have been attacked and pressured to accept demolition and the expropriation of their land, partly through the hands of government-hired thugs.

In 2018, Vietnam sentenced and jailed a number of Catholic activists, bloggers and Protestant pastors. In August, a pastor, Le Dinh Luong, was sentenced to 20 years for an alleged attempt to “overthrow the government.”

When tribal students in the central highlands converted to Christianity, their college principal threatened them with expulsion. Teachers also try to discourage Christian students, saying no one would employ them so it would be better to give up their faith altogether.

Population and number of Christian statistics: Johnson T M and Zurlo G A, eds., World Christian Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, accessed April 2019).

 

Pray for Vietnam

  • As the Christian minority in Vietnam grows, the government works hard to monitor churches and curb the growth of Christianity; the government has issued harsh penalties against Christians who are critical of the regime. Pray for a loosening of restrictions and increased freedom.
  • Believers are often attacked by their village and even their family members when they choose to follow Jesus. Christian converts have shared that they experienced expulsion from their villages, the destruction of their homes and being physically beaten. Pray for provision for these believers who knowingly pay a high cost. Pray their love for Christ and each other is a witness to their families.
  • Crackdowns continue against Christians and ethnic minorities, especially the Hmong. The Communist regime does everything possible to keep their actions out of the international spotlight. Pray the truth would come to light and that changes would be made to ensure human rights for all minorities in Vietnam.
  • Pray for suitable discipleship of the many ethnic minorities coming to faith in rural areas.

Stories from Vietnam

July 1, 2020

‘When I wouldn’t say no to Jesus…’—Chu’s story of persecution & perseverance in Vietnam

Chu is one of the thousands of believers in Vietnam who are indirectly yet intensely persecuted by the communist state as the regime works to snuff out Christianity. Read More

+ READ MORE

June 30, 2020

‘Die of hunger or convert to Islam’—a life-or-death choice for Christians in COVID-19

Throughout the world, persecuted Christians are faced with a "die or convert" choice in the midst of the COVID-19 global crisis. Read More

+ READ MORE

June 25, 2020

Open Doors helps more than 100,000 people with COVID-19 relief

Open Doors has been able to deliver food kits to thousands of families in Asia to help with coronavirus relief. Read More

+ READ MORE

Get your copy of God's Smuggler!

Learn more about Open Doors founder

Brother Andrew in this best selling book.

If you're new to Open Doors,

this is a must read.