Relaymedia

Christian NGOs Report on Severe Persecution Against Hmong Christians in Vietnam

( [email protected] ) Mar 20, 2004 10:08 AM EST

According to the Center for Religious Freedom, US-based human rights organization, Christians among Hmong ethnic population in Vietnam are being severely persecuted by the Vietnamese governmental authorities.

The Vietnamese government enforces extreme restriction on religious expression, especially against Christianity. It has been also reported that provincial authorities tried to eliminate all Christian activities by 2002, by sending all Christians who escaped, to jungle.

According to Helping Suffering Churches, in 2002 many Hmong Christians from the provinces of Lai Chau and Lao Cai were beaten, arrested, ordered to deny their faith, and continuously banned from forming any Christian gathering.

According to international Christian Concern based in the U.S., Hmong pastors were being kidnapped from their homes at night, imprisoned, sent to forced labor camps - often times not fed, and forbidden to contact family members.

Human Rights Watch released a report in 2003 about the case of Mua Bua Senth (Lai Chau Province) who was beaten to death by police for not having denied his faith.

In his letter to CRF, Zong Xiong Hang, a Hmong Christian who was in charge of forming pastors and distributing Christian literature, informed of the various methods that the Vietnamese government use to torture Hmong Christians in the village of Na Ling in Lai Chau Province. Recently the government painfully injected Hmong Christians with drugs, forcing them to renounce their faith.

Zong Xiong wrote of the ongoing persecution against Christians in his region: “I became a Christian about 10 years ago. I have served the Lord for nine years, until now, always under persecution. All believers in our village in Lai Chau Province faced persecution.”

He continued, "I would like you to know that on January 17, 2002, the army gave me an injection which almost killed me. They came to force us to not believe in Jesus. We all got sick and it was different from any kind of sickness we had ever had before. Everyone who got sick had pains in their chests and foreheads. Our legs and arms were cold and numb, it felt like our blood was not flowing through them. The pain came fast and then went away. But the most important thing is this only happened in our area of Lai Chau Province, not in the other areas. In the other villages, where there are no Christians, people did not get this kind of sickness."

Na Ling residents have been asking for permission from the government to believe but they have received no response. Yet the persecution against them never stopped. According to Zong Xiong Hang, Christians who haven’t renounced their faith are expelled from Na Ling: “The government forced us to leave our village if we would not deny Christ. They wouldn't let us stay in our village in Lai Chau Province. They say that wherever we want to go is fine. We can go to America or wherever there are believers. We should go stay with them because we are no longer welcome in our home village.”

For this reason Zong Xiong Hang moved to the province of Son La but the persecution didn’t stop. The government forced Christians to leave or to deny their faith.

There are more than 6.5 million Christians in Vietnam – 8% of the entire population. Among them around 250,000 of Vietnam’s 60,0000 Hmong population living along the northern Chinese border are Protestants.