Communist and post-Communist pressure
There are 8.9 million Christians in Buddhist-majority Vietnam, from a population of over 98 million.
The most intense persecution is reserved for non-traditional Protestants and converts from indigenous religions, especially in the remote areas of central and northern Vietnam. The majority belong to the country’s ethnic minorities, like the Hmong, and face social exclusion, discrimination and attacks.
Some Christian women are forced by their families to marry non-Christians. According to youth leaders, many young converts then stop attending church. Women and girls are also more vulnerable to sexual abuse given their lower standing in society. This is especially the case when in police custody and in rural areas, where many Christians live.
Christian men, often a family’s main breadwinner, can face opposition in the workplace, and even lose their job. If they are a church leader, being without work can weaken a congregation and even lead to its closure.
Historical Christian communities like Roman Catholics enjoy a certain amount of freedom, although they may be imprisoned if they become politically active. Large plots of land owned by Catholic churches (for example, surrounding schools or convents) are sometimes confiscated by the state for development purposes.
“We have received healing and blessing from our Lord. He has changed our lives. We will not deny our faith as you have demanded.” Ai and Liem
Ai and Liem – whose names we’ve changed for security reasons – are from animistic backgrounds. The repercussions that greeted their new faith in Jesus highlight the severe opposition converts from indigenous backgrounds can face. The couple became Christians after Ai was healed of sickness when a local church prayed for him. They shared their new faith with their family, and a small house church was birthed which grew to six families (30 people).
In July 2020, villagers and local authorities stopped a church service and beat some of the congregation. Church members were cut off from a government-funded subsidy programme for the poor, and in August the six Christian families were excluded from government Covid-19 aid. And then in September, villagers destroyed the believers’ properties. Their rice harvest was burned, two cows were slaughtered and another was severely injured.
Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Vietnam. Your gifts and prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.
Open Doors partners support the Vietnamese church by providing Christian literature, discipleship training, socio-economic development projects, advocacy and relief aid.
Heavenly Father, keep Your children in Vietnam safe, provide for all their needs, and open up opportunities to have fellowship with other Christians. Help believers to stand firm in their faith despite often tremendous pressure, and use their witness to inspire others to give their lives to Jesus. Work in the hearts of local leaders, that they will soften towards Christians and will influence the way others treat Christians. Amen.
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