Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

Five Months of Attacks on Mennonite Church in Vietnam Prompt SOS

Christians harassed at center, homes and workplaces.

ICC Note:

In Vietnam, on Wednesday, Nov 12, thugs wielding hammers and metal cutters ransacked a church center and dragged away nine Christians. They were then charged with not having proper papers – documents officials had confiscated from them in previous raids. The thugs were employed by Police who stood by, filming the incident without intervening to protect the Christians who were being attacked. 

11/17/2014 Vietnam (Morning Star)-Police in Vietnam on Wednesday (Nov. 12) employed thugs wielding hammers and metal cutters to ransack a church center and drag away nine Christians, who were then charged with not having proper papers – documents officials had confiscated from them in previous raids.

The toughs – accompanied this time, inexplicably, by provocatively attired prostitutes – arrived just before midnight, screaming and intimidating Christians staying at the center in Ben Cat, Binh Duong Province north of Ho Chi Minh City. An older woman of the congregation asked police if these women were their usual allies in carrying out their duties, leaders of the Mennonite church center said.

Police stood by filming the attack.

Two Mennonite pastors and the son of pastor Nguyen Hong Quang were among those arrested, threatened and interrogated for two hours before being released and charged with not having their ID cards and temporary residence papers. The documents had been confiscated during earlier raids and not returned, church leaders said.

Not having these papers leaves them subject to further police harassment and difficulties with employment and school studies. The nine Christians have been summoned to return for further interrogation.

The church completed repairs of a broken fence, gate and doors at the center on that day following attacks on Sunday and Monday (Nov. 9 and 10).

The unregistered Mennonite Church led by Pastor Quang has been regularly attacked by police and gangs since June. At times authorities have also cut off the center’s water and electricity. Another Mennonite church whose leadership has avoided criticism of the Vietnam’s human rights record is registered and has few problems.

Having distributed detailed reports on many of the attacks on the Mennonite church, Pastor Quang and other church leaders issued an emergency, worldwide appeal following Wednesday night’s attack.

The appeal asserts that a steady stream of attacks and injustices over five months has built a strong sense of helpless indignation among the Christians. Attacks usually come on weekends but sometimes continue for days. In addition, since Oct. 25 roads approaching the Mennonite center have been blocked and Christians coming for worship harassed. One Christian who had his nose broken and bloodied on Oct. 25 required emergency medical attention.

“They send gangs and thugs, strangers, masked people, and police of various units to harass and arrest us during the day and the night, when we worship, when we pray, when we have Bible study, when we have children’s classes, when we eat together, when we have school ceremonies,” states the report, signed by Quang and four others identified only as Hung, Hong, Thach and Du. “They use bricks and stones to damage our building, and they pelt us with rotten eggs.”

All members of the church are subject to attack – pastors, elders and lay Christians – not only at the church center but also at their homes or workplaces, the report notes, adding that officials stole 8.5 million dong (US$394) from one Christian.

“They employ police of the 113 unit, rapid response police, security police in plain clothes, gangs and thugs, all taking turns to harass and threaten us,” the report states. “Thirty-four people have been injured, some to the point they had to be taken to hospital emergency. Pastor Quang was attacked in the church sanctuary in June by a gang with police and officials looking on, not lifting a finger to intervene.”

[Full Story]