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02/24/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – The Hmong ethnic minor­ity group has lived in Vietnam for many gen­erations. Their ances­tors are believed to have migrated from the south­ern provinces of China since the late 1700s. Their religion is tradi­tionally animist, with the center of Hmong culture being the Txiv Neeb, the shaman (meaning “master of spirits”).

However, in 1987, the Hmong began to hear the Gospel through a radio ministry based in the Philippines. Since then, Christianity has spread swiftly to the northern part of Vietnam, where most of the Hmong live. Today, nearly 30% of the 1 million Hmong population in the country are Christians.

In the 1960s, the US government hired many Hmong to fight against the communist North during the Vietnam War. For this, they became the target of persecution from the Vietnamese government. Once the war ended, Vietnam began to single out Montagnard and Hmong Christians who had assisted the United States. The government accused “hos­tile external forces” of using Christianity to undermine the people’s faith in communism.

As a result, over the past several decades, Hmong Christian converts have been intim­idated, arrested, fined, beaten, forced to renounce their faith, and had their property confiscated.

Stripped of their land, access to legal iden­tification, and right to worship freely, many have been forced to flee to nearby countries. Given that Bangkok has a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office and can process refugee and asylum status applications, those who are financially capable collect their belongings and cross through Cambodia with the help of smugglers to arrive in Thailand.

Stay tuned for Part 2, coming tomorrow.

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