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3/28/2024 Vietnam (International Christian Concern) Last week, President Vo Van Thuong resigned after one year in office. His resignation follows that of former president Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who resigned in 2023 after serving as president for two years. 

According to the Constitution of Vietnam, elected presidents commit to a five-year term with no limit for how many terms they can serve. Vice President Vo Thi Anh Xuan replaced Thuong as part of the recent anti-corruption campaign deemed the Communist Party’s “blazing furnace.” In the statement provided by the government as to why Thuong resigned, they explained Thuong “violated party rules” and that “he had shortcomings which affected public opinion and the reputation of the party, state, and himself.” 

While this statement does not provide in-depth evidence for the necessity of Thuong’s removal, the swift and brutal nature demonstrated by the government indicates the deterioration toward instability within the Vietnamese government. 

As of 2019, only 14% of the Vietnamese population is religious. Approximately 6% of the population identifies as Roman Catholic, 5% as Vietnam Buddhist Sanha, and 1% as Protestant. 

The Constitution of Vietnam guarantees the right to freedom of belief and religion, but multiple laws in place give the government significant control of religious activities. Members of the traditionally Christian Hmong and Montagnard ethnic groups have reported instances of harassment or arrests under the charges of “acting against a person on duty” or “violating provisions on safety in crowded areas.” 

Given the Communist Party’s increased criticisms of the actions of members within the government, Christians and other minorities fear the reprimands they may receive. The forced resignation of the president demonstrates the further repression enforced by the government and the efforts against freedom of thought, speech, or religion. 

We pray that this change in presidency in Vietnam will be a temporary moment of instability rather than an indication of a repressive regime without freedom of conscience. We pray that the government will afford Christians and other religious minorities the freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution. We pray that the Lord will enact perfect justice over corruption in Vietnam. 

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