Six year old Phouc is recovering from a coma after being attacked because her parents converted to Christianity.
Phouc* was hit on the head and punched so severely in the stomach that she lost her appetite and constantly vomited. She became very ill and had severe head and stomach pain and had to be rushed to hospital where she fell into a coma for a month. After a month she recovered but was unable to recognise her parents or remember the incident.
The brutal attack came shortly after Phouc’s parents were beaten and forcibly dragged them out of their village in Northern Vietnam using ropes tied to their hands. Her father Nguyen and his wife had recently stopped the village practice of ancestor worship and become Christians. The local authorities and the whole village had become very angry with their decision to change their religion.
The angry villagers shouted at them to deny their faith but they refused. For more than two hours they were mocked, tied with ropes and severely beaten while being dragged over rocky ground towards the entrance of the village, forcing them to leave. Members of their church took them to a nearby hospital where they were treated for three days.
Nguyen's pastor talked to the local authorities and asked that Nguyen and his family be allowed back to their village. When they returned they said that every day was “a torture”. The villagers continuously threatened and cursed them because of their new found faith in Christ.
Vietnam is number 20 on the Open Doors World Watch List, the annual ranking of the top 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. The Communist government monitors Christian activity and exercises a high level of pressure on all Christians. It is particularly suspicious of the ethnic minorities who live in the central and northern highlands. Tribal leaders will often exclude Christians and new converts from the community, seeing them as traitors of their culture and identity.
Christians from ethnic minority groups face the greatest persecution, which includes harassment, violent attacks and social exclusion. Villagers collude with local Communist authorities, beating believers, kicking them out of their villages and stoning places of worship during meetings. Non-Christian relatives cut family ties and deny inheritance. Local and national government authorities persecute the Christian minority through their laws, and Christian bloggers and political activists have been arrested and sentenced.
Open Doors supports the church in Vietnam through providing Bibles and other Christian literature, training, socio-economic development, advocacy and relief aid to tribal believers.
*Name changed for security reasons