Three Christians who serve as church leaders in Vietnam have been falsely arrested in a region which is a hotspot for persecution. Hung*, Long* and Viet* – who are siblings – also saw their homes destroyed, their animals taken away and their harvest confiscated by police.
According to authorities, the Christians who belong to the Hmong tribe in Central Vietnam were arrested because they allegedly stole rice from other families in the village.
“Perhaps this was the reason given by the police, so they have a valid reason to kick out the brothers from the community,” said Isaac*, an Open Doors local partner. “It would be very difficult and sensitive to convict them if they say it is because of religious reasons.”
“It is very sad,” he added. “A few days ago, after these families harvested rice and corn from their farms, the local police and village chief came and confiscated their harvest. They also destroyed their shelters.”
Isaac shared that the area has been a hotspot of persecution for Christians in recent years. “Anyone who believes in God is beaten, their houses demolished, and they are kicked out of the village by the local authority,” he said. “The local authorities posted an announcement in their office that they do not allow villagers to have any religion other than Animism and Buddhism.”
In May, the three Christians had been taken to the police station and forced to renounce their faith. They were told that if they did not obey, their land and animals would be taken away from them, and they would be kicked out of the village. The three men bravely stood firm in their faith and were released, but they’ve now been re-arrested and are being held in prison cells.
The village chief and villagers have also banned the families from buying or selling any of their produce. They have announced to the whole village that anyone who meets the families will be kicked out. The authorities have also stopped the children from attending school.
“The families have suffered a lot,” Isaac continues. “Previously, they were beaten, their electricity and water source were cut off. Their harvest of rice, their livestock like buffaloes, pigs and chickens, and everything that belonged to them were confiscated.”
An Open Doors local partner has been providing support for the men and their families. They’ve also been seeking to liaise with the local authorities on their behalf, but to no avail.
Another local church leader, called Phong*, is also experiencing pressure but he has not been arrested.
The persecution of Christians in Vietnam is not unusual. The country is number 19 on the World Watch List. Although historical Christian communities (like Roman Catholic churches) enjoy a certain amount of freedom, non-traditional Protestants – along with converts from indigenous religions –often face intense pressure and violence for their faith, especially in the remote areas of central and northern Vietnam.
That the three men will be released from custody and protected from harm whilst detained
That the three men (including Phong), and their families, will stand strong in their faith, and pray that their perseverance will speak to those who are persecuting them.
For the restoration of their homes and livelihoods
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