Hmong Christians in Vietnam Repeatedly Beaten and Arrested
By Gina Goh
01/08/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Due to its ethnic background and high percentage of practicing Christians, Vietnam’s Hmong community is often targeted and harassed by both the government and neighboring communities. In a communist country where Christianity is often seen as unpatriotic or a threat to the regime, Hmong Christians constantly face discrimination, harassment, land grabs, torture, and imprisonment.
Hmong Christians are estimated to make up 300,000 of the one million Hmong people in Vietnam. With its rapid church growth in remote areas, these tribal groups “experience the most intense persecution” according to religious freedom watchdog group Open Doors.
One such instance of persecution took place just last month as part of an ongoing attempt to demand apostasy from the Christians. According to Hmong pastor Hoang Van Pa, a Protestant group consisting of 33 Hmong people in the Phá Lóm village, Tam Hợp commune, Nghệ An province was threatened by the government and told that if they do not renounce their religion, they will face consequences. Four of them were arrested and beaten by the authorities last year.
Since the believers refused, they were raided again on November 11, November 24, and December 2. The group recounted that they were on their way to worship at the house of Lầu A Xía, when local authorities raided her home.
“In a communist country where Christianity is often seen as unpatriotic or a threat to the regime, Hmong Christians constantly face discrimination, harassment, land grabs, torture, and imprisonment.”
The team set up by the authorities is called the Interdisciplinary Inspection Team. It includes Tam Hop commune police, People’s Committee of Tam Hop commune, Tuong Duong district police, and Border Guard Police 551. This team took the information of the 33 Hmong believers before bringing them to an open trial before the people in the community.
During the trial, they presented an image of Buddha and forced the Hmong Christians to abandon their religion and worship the Buddha statue instead.
Mr. Dzung, the representative of the Interdisciplinary Inspection Team, announced that in Vietnam there is no Protestant religion, and if one does not renounce Protestantism and convert to Buddhism, they will be expelled from Vietnam.
The Hmong people are stuck in a difficult position, because in such cases, the government will not intervene and they are left to defend for themselves.
In 2018, more than 100 Hmong believers in Yen Bai province and Lao Cai province were expelled from their homeland by the government. They had to find their own way to flee to nearby Thailand, where they have the prospect of applying for refugee status with the Bangkok-based United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The plight of the Hmong Christians continues as we step into 2019. Let us continue to lift them up in prayer to show our solidarity as one body with them.
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