Hmong Christians are estimated to make up 300,000 of the one million Hmong people in Vietnam. Pexels
A pastor revealed that a number of Christians were arrested and beaten by Vietnamese officials after refusing to abandon their faith and worship a Buddha statue.
Pastor Hoang Van Pa told persecution watchdog group International Christian Concern that government officials threatened 33 Hmong Protestants in Pha Lom village in November if they refused to renounce their Christian faith.
Police reportedly gathered personal information about the Christians and then carried out an open trial before the community. Police presented a picture of the Buddha to the Christians in an attempt to get them to worship the statue.
Four Christians were arrested and beaten and the government continued to harass Protestants with several raids throughout November, December.
Hmong Christians are estimated to make up 300,000 of the one million Hmong people in Vietnam. Over the last 30 years, increasing numbers of Hmong have converted to Christianity from the group’s traditional religion of animism (belief in the spirit world and the interconnectedness of all living things).
These tribal groups “experience the most intense persecution” according to religious freedom watchdog group Open Doors, which ranked Vietnam among the top 50 countries where Christian persecution is most severe.
As Dzung explained that Vietnam had banned the Protestant Christian faith. Refusals to abandon their faith will result in expulsion.
ICC notes that last year alone, more than 100 believers were expelled from Yen Bai province and Lao Cai province. They had to make their own escape to Thailand where they could apply for refugee status.
“Due its ethnic background, high percentage of practicing Christians and high number of members, Vietnam’s Hmong population is often harassed and targeted by both the government” wrote Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager.
” In a Communist country, Christianity is often viewed as unpatriotic and a threat to its regime. Hmong Christians are constantly subject to discrimination, harassment land grabs, torture, imprisonment, and even death. “
Last year, two dozen Hmong Christians in Vietnam refused to recant their faith, prompting a mob to attack them. According to the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights, four Christians sustained injuries to their heads and arms.
“Such attacks and acts of harassment against religious communities have multiplied recently in Vietnam,” VCHR noted in a statement. “The authorities are using the law to criminalize legitimate religious activity, creating an atmosphere of impunity for many violations of freedom of belief or religion. “
ICC has warned that the persecution of Hmong Christians is expected to continue in 2019 and urged the international Christian community to lift them up in prayer.
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