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12/30/2018 Vietnam (International Christian Concern) – On January 1, 2019, it will mark the one-year anniversary of the Law on Belief and Religion, also known as the religion control law, taking effect in Vietnam.

With the intent to regulate the activities of religious groups, its application however depends largely on the location. The law has not been evenly applied throughout the country, leading Christian groups to have different experiences.

“It doesn’t seem to have made dramatic changes in how this activity is regulated and controlled in Vietnam. We still see churches in cities meeting together with very little interference from the government. We still see Christians in rural areas, especially minority ethnic tribal groups, facing heavy persecution,” Voice of the Martyrs’ Todd Nettleton says.

Mission Network News reports that Nettleton recently spoke with a Vietnamese Christian who described how in one city, Christians were recently allowed to gather in a sports field for a three-hour Christmas program. The Vietnamese source says 20,000 people gathered together that day. While in some of the rural areas, areas home to minority ethnic groups, this type of worship is not tolerated. In some villages, professing a faith in Jesus is met with eviction from the village.

Whether this law will contribute to or against the restriction of religious freedom is still difficult to determine. Regardless, Vietnamese Christians pray that they will be faithful to Christ and keep sharing the Gospel so that other people will keep coming to know Christ in a personal way in Vietnam.

For interviews with Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: