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ICC Note:

The article talks about the ongoing control and persecution in Vietnam. With “even tighter reporting, registration, and permission restrictions, there is the increased risk of diminishing the rapidly growing size and number of churches within its borders.” Please pray for Vietnam’s churches facing persecution.

12/15/2014 Vietnam (MNN/VOM) — Two Asian nations are among the top 20 on the Open Doors World Watch List (WWL), a ranking of 50 countries where persecution of Christians is the most severe. Guess which two?

If you said North Korea and Vietnam, you’d be right. North Korea has been the world’s worst persecutor of Christians for nearly a decade. Vietnam ranks 18th, far above China, which is 37th on the WWL.

Yet, with active harassment, oppression, and persecution of Christians within its borders, the prayer vigil for Vietnam’s body of Christ has seemingly gone silent. Todd Nettleton, a spokesman for the Voice of the Martyrs USA, attributes some of that to improvements made on the human and religious rights fronts. “Over the last five years, we’ve seen them open up registration to additional churches. We’ve seen less persecution. We’ve seen some very large Christian meetings held in Hanoi.”

Still, he reminds us, “The reality is: there is persecution, and it is a Communist country. As we know in Communist countries, the issue for them, with regard to religion, is control.” Specifically, “When the Church says, ‘Our first loyalty is to Jesus Christ, not to the Communist Party, not to the Communist government,’ that makes them very uncomfortable and they respond with harassment and persecution to try to regain that control.”

Last year, Nettleton explains, Vietnam implemented a new government policy (ND-92 is a revision of the former, less-detailed ND-22). It’s more restrictive, providing the government with additional legal tools for control and repression. By impeding the day-to-day functioning of church groups with even tighter reporting, registration, and permission restrictions, there is the increased risk of diminishing the rapidly growing size and number of churches within its borders.

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