Vietnam Continuing Brutal Campaign Against Hmong Christians
November 3, 2005
by Center for Religious Freedom
The government of Vietnam is continuing a violent campaign to force minority Christians to renounce their faith despite government denials, Freedom House’s Center for Religious Freedom has learned.
Reports received recently by the Center from Vietnamese churches show that the government of Vietnam is continuing violent repression of ethnic Hmong Christians.
“These new reports directly contradict the government of Vietnam’s assertion that it has stopped religious repression,” said Nina Shea, Director of Freedom House’s Center for Religious Freedom. “The State Department should firmly resist Vietnam’s attempts to be removed from its Countries of Particular Concern list, and instead should recommend sanctions against them.”
In early October, two Hmong men from the Chi Ca Commune, Xin Man District, Ha Giang Province, provided testimony to the legally-recognized Evangelical Church of Vietnam-North (ECVN-N) in Hanoi about attacks on Protestants in late August and early September by border patrol police and local defence forces.
The two men, Chang Seo Vu and Thao Seo Lo, testified that in an attempt to get them to renounce their faith, seven local Christians had been imprisoned and tortured with electric batons, and that two of them, Ly Vang Dung, and Vang Seo Dinh, were viciously beaten and suffered broken bones. Their testimony also named six officials who had authorized the physical beatings and abuse.
These reports, as well as recent events in Dien Bien Province (see Center for Religious Freedom’s October 28, 2005 Press Release), show that Vietnam continues to violate the Prime Minister’s February 4, 2005 “Special Instruction Regarding Protestantism” that specifically “outlawed attempts to force people to follow a religion or deny a religion.” This was also a key commitment Vietnam made in its May 2005 agreement on religion with the United States.
Events in Chi Ca have become part of Vietnam’s campaign to be removed from the U.S. State Department’s list of “Countries of Particular Concern” for religious freedom violations. On October 28, the state controlled Vietnam News Agency claimed it had “a fact-finding tour of Chi Ca Commune” and had found no evidence of any beatings. On October 29, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Le Dung claimed, "All religions in Vietnam are granted favourable condition to develop by the State. There is not a so-called 'religious repression' to any religion in Vietnam."
Click here to view the full list of Press Releases.