Christians face discrimination and harassment in Vietnam
Vietnamese families who convert to Christianity are often expelled from their villages, their homes are destroyed and all members face discrimination on a daily basis.
According to Open Doors UK, non-traditional Protestants and converts from indigenous religions have to deal with violence and pressure in their communities, especially in the remote areas of central and northern Vietnam. Christians are pestered in the workplace and may face discrimination for their faith, while Christian children are ostracised at school and may be coerced into rejecting their faith.
Historical Christian communities – like Roman Catholic churches – have a certain amount of freedom, with the exception of being involved in politics. This often results in church leaders being sentenced to prison.
Religion is associated with ethnicity in Vietnam, therefore leaving a traditional belief for Christianity leads to rejection of culture and community. Most Christians belong to the country’s ethnic groups, e.g. the Hmong, and face social exclusion, discrimination and attacks. The local communist government often uses their power to expel Christian families from the community. Authorities can also instruct market entrepreneurs in neighbouring villages to prohibit Christians from selling or buying any goods or produce. They have to travel to another district to trade their products or purchase necessary items, which could take hours each way.
Christian women, particularly converts can be forced into early marriages, with the intention of pressurizing them into giving up their Christian faith.
Christian men in Vietnam often face discrimination and harassment at work or lose their jobs. Since men are the primary providers, the financial loss incapacitates the whole family economically and weakens their social hierarchy. If they are church leaders, their congregations can even face closure. They are often targeted by authorities for faith-based arrest; others are abducted or beaten. Once detained, Christians suffer harsh treatment, physical abuse and pressure to renounce their Christian faith.
According to Vui, an Open Doors partner “Nghe An province is one of the toughest places in Vietnam for Christians to be living in. The province is the birth place of Ho Chi Minh, founder of the Indochina Communist Party. Several incidents recently have been reported that believers were beaten, their properties destroyed, and some kicked out of their villages because of their faith in God”.