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NEW RELIGION LAW IN VIETNAM FUELS CHRISTIANS’ FEARS

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China is not the only country which began 2018 with a new legal crackdown on Christian activity. On January 1st, Vietnam’s new Law on Belief and Religion went into effect, which requires all religious groups and activities to be registered and approved by the Government.

President of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, explains that the law is concerning because it is written so vaguely.

“This can be exploited to suppress Christianity and to support anti-church activities,” Dr. Foley explains.

“In fact, it is already being used in these ways.”

In early February, Asia News reported that a Vietnamese government authority cited the new religious law in order to make a Catholic mass illegal because the priest failed to register the Mass with the government ahead of time.

The new law requires officially registered religious organizations to submit and receive approval for every one of their religious activities 30 days before the activity,” Dr. Foley explains. “Any event that the government does not approve is considered illegal.”

According to Dr. Foley, Christian persecution is not a new phenomenon in Vietnam.

Last month, Maria Tran Thị Nga, a Christian activist and mother of two young children from Ha Nam province, was accused of spreading ‘propaganda against the state’ and was sentenced to nine years in prison and five years under house arrest,” Dr. Foley says. “Christian lawyer Nguyen Van Dai and Pastor Nguyen Trung Ton are both still in custody in Hanoi since their arrests in December 2015 and July 2017. Both were imprisoned because they argued that the government should allow for greater religious freedom. They have been barred from meeting with their attorneys.”

Dr. Foley says that Christian bloggers are also now being targeted by the government.

“Last week, a court in Nghe An province upheld a five-year prison sentence against Christian blogger Nguyen Van Oai for his pro-democracy campaigns,” she says.

Dr. Foley says Korean Christians can pray for their brothers and sisters in Vietnam in three specific ways.

First, we should thank God for the way that relations between the Government in Hanoi and religious groups have improved slightly in recent years. Pray that the new law will not threaten this progress.”

Second, pray that God will use His people who have spoken out about religious rights and about Him to draw many in Vietnam into a close personal relationship with Him.”

Third, pray that God will speak to the hearts of those who persecute our Christian family in Vietnam – and reveal His great love for them.”

Individuals seeking to learn more about the situation facing Christians in Vietnam and persecuted Christians around the world, or to support efforts to stand with them, can contact Voice of the Martyrs at 02-2065-0703 or visit http://vomkorea.kr/.

Maria Tran Thị Nga

(Photo courtesy of Asia News)

Nguyen Van Dai

(Photo courtesy of Front Line Defenders)

Nguyen Trung Ton

(Photo courtesy of Front Line Defenders)

Tags: christian, government, oppression, persecution, regulation, suppression, vietnam, voice of the martyrs, voice of the martyrs korea, religious law, christian posting, surveillance