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Vietnam village mob attacks Christian converts

South East Asia

Vietnam village mob attacks Christian converts

A photo featuring some of the Hmong people. Photo credit: Radio Free Asia

A mob led by a village chief attacked 24 Hmong Christian converts on 1 March 2018 leaving four hospitalised. The new converts had been threatened with expulsion from the village in the north-west highlands if they did not renounce their faith.

A spokesman from the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights stated that the attack demonstrated “a climate of impunity for a wide range of violations of freedom of religion or belief”, adding that “Such attacks and acts of harassment against religious communities have multiplied recently in Vietnam, despite the introduction of the new Law on Belief and Religion in January.”

Many of the Hmong minority ethnic group are poor and uneducated, but in the last 30 years almost a third of the one-million Vietnamese Hmong have come to faith.

Although in some parts of Vietnam Christians are treated well, they are viewed with suspicion by the one-party state and those from ethnic minorities typically experience significantly greater intimidation and harassment.

A new Law on Belief and Religion came into force in January 2018, which theoretically makes it easier for congregations to adhere to the legal requirement to register with the state, but the process is still convoluted. State-registered congregations are usually located in large towns and Christians meeting in remote areas are therefore forced to do so unofficially.