Vietnamese Christians starved, beaten for their faith
Christians who have been imprisoned, beaten and starved for their faith have shared some of their personal accounts of persecution with Release International.
6/9/08 Vietnam (ChristianToday) Christians from the persecuted minority Hmong tribe in Vietnam have been telling Release International how they were jailed and beaten to try to make them renounce their faith.
The plight of other Christians in Vietnam is graphically described in the latest edition of Witness magazine from Release International, which serves the persecuted church worldwide.
A team of investigators from Release International found that some of the harshest persecution in Vietnam is reserved for the ethnic Hmong people, who sided with the United States in the Vietnam War. The authorities regard evangelical Christianity as an American export intended to undermine the communist revolution.
‘Stephen’ and ‘Paul’, whose names have been changed for security reasons, described the brutal treatment meted out to them in jail as the authorities tried to force them to give up their faith.
In jail, Stephen was given hard labour, breaking rocks. If he failed to complete his quota he was beaten.
He could have taken the easy way out to avoid a jail sentence. Before being imprisoned he was told that if he signed a document renouncing his faith he could go free. But he refused.
“I never denied Jesus. Never,” he said.
“I believe that even if I die I will still put my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord never, never left me. Every day, when I breathe the air, I trust in the Lord.”
Paul, also a Hmong Christian, described being jailed for sharing Christianity with his people. He was imprisoned for more than a decade for spreading the religion. It was the second time he had been jailed for his faith.
Paul told Release International that the authorities beat him severely to try to get him to deny his faith, but he continued telling other prisoners about Jesus in the jail.
“They said that because I had been preaching the Gospel for my people, that is why they came for me. And because some of the Hmong had believed the Lord because of my mouth, they beat me in prison.”
Paul was also given the opportunity to renounce his faith. He was told if he signed a paper he could go free.
His reply was clear and to the point: “I said to them even if you nail me like Jesus Christ to the cross I will still not deny him. You can do to me exactly like Jesus Christ and I will still be happy.
Both men run the risk of further imprisonment yet Paul and Stephen continue to share their faith. “I am never frightened about what will happen in the future for me,” says Paul, “because I understand that the Lord is with me and many, many people around the world are praying for me.”
The head of Release International, Andy Dipper, said, “Please pray for these former prisoners, that the Lord will protect them and their families. And pray that Vietnam will stop confusing the Christian faith with politics and will grant full freedom of religion.”