|World Watch List Rank||World Watch List Score|
|President Tran Dai Quang||95,415,000 (8,368,000 Christians)|
|Source of Persecution||Persecution Level|
|Communist Oppression, Ethnic Antagonism||Very High Persecution|
Three Christians were killed, scores were abducted, and 35 churches were attacked in 2016. Buddhist- and animist-background believers experience the strongest persecution, facing pressure from both communities and the authorities. Christian ethnic minorities such as the Montagnards also face fierce opposition. All Christian groups are monitored by the government, registering churches is difficult, and a new law on religion and belief limits religious groups by controlling meetings.
Huu and his wife Nguyet are pastors and Bible teachers in Vietnam's mid-west plateaus. In the past Huu was imprisoned for his faith, accused of being an American spy, and later for evangelising without permission. At times they went hungry because the village authorities wouldn't give them ID cards, which would allow them to get food. "Now the situation is less difficult," says Huu, "but we still have to report to the government where we are going, and who we're meeting. They let us go, but they still follow and monitor us."
Vietnam is one of the few remaining Communist countries, but change is taking place. There is a rising private economy (the 'doi moi policy') which has allowed many Communist leaders to become rich, leading to an ideological crisis. In an attempt to maintain control, the regime operates harshly against deviant thought, including Christianity, which is still seen as a foreign influence and highly suspicious.Churches are closely monitored and there are reports that even youth gatherings were raided during the 2017 reporting period. The issue of church building permits is regulated by Decree No. 92 and is handled by the authorities in a highly restrictive way. Land-grabbing by the authorities also continues.
Though no-one knows the exact figure, the majority of Vietnamese Christians are from tribal backgrounds. They face particular pressure from their families and communities to return to traditional faiths. Some tribal movements are trying to establish an independent state, giving the government further reason to monitor tribal Christians closely.
Despite the pressures faced by Christians in Vietnam, Huu and Nyuget remain hopeful. "It is through persecution that we grow," Nguyet says. "It is a blessing to be part of Christ's suffering."
Open Doors is supporting the church in Vietnam through: