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Press Release — January 22, 2003

Christian Worshippers Attacked with Poisonous Gas in Vietnam: 7 Babies and Children Killed

It was a Sunday worship service on December 29, 2002 in the Huoi Huong hamlet, Huong Nha village of the Dien Bien District, Lai Chau province of Vietnam. Hmong believers had gathered to pray and hear the Word of God. Suddenly, police rushed in, and insisted that everyone leave the worship service. Unwilling to compromise their God-given right of freedom of worship, the believers remained. After the Christians refused to disperse, the police sprayed them with an unknown gas which caused more than 100 of the Christians to become unconscious. Four small children died and three pregnant women lost their unborn babies. All of the worshippers were transferred to the Lai Chau Hospital for treatment and five of them have not recovered and remain hospitalized.

Efforts to eliminate Christianity from the tribal communities of Vietnam continues as a goal of the Vietnamese government. In recent months, three Montagnard pastors of the Dak Lak province were imprisoned and subsequently killed by lethal injection in their cells at Buonmathuot. In addition, fifty-six Ede and Mnong pastors in the Central Highlands disappeared. Futhermore adding insult to injury, 354 of the 412 churches in Dak Lak Province have been forcibly closed by the government and more closures are expected to follow.

International Christian Concern (ICC), a human rights group based in Washington, DC, is urging Christians to protest this treatment of Christians by signing ICC’s petition to President Bush on behalf of Vietnamese Christians at our web site, www.www.persecution.org or to write a letter directly to the Vietnamese Embassy expressing your concern.

Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
1233 20th St. NW Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036
Fax: (202) 861-2293

International Christian Concern, a Washington, DC based human rights organization, advocates and aids Christians undergoing persecution worldwide. More information is available at www.www.persecution.org or by calling the ICC office at (301) 989-1708.