|World Watch List Rank||21|
|World Watch List Score||72/100|
|Leader||President Nguyễn Phú Trọng|
|Population||97.4 million I 8,737,000|
|WWL Rank in 2019||20|
|Persecution Level||Very High Persecution|
In Communist Vietnam, Christians are accused of betraying their identity and culture. Christianity is viewed as a foreign religion with no place in Vietnam. Communist authorities view the church as a threat.
New believers have their rights stripped away from them and are often forced flee their homes to escape violence. Some Christian children from ethnic minorities are not allowed to attend school because of their new faith. Those who continue to go to school are discriminated. They don’t receive the same attention as other children and often have their medical needs neglected.
Printing the Bible is restricted in Vietnam, making it hard for Christians to grow in their faith. Many believers lack basic Bible knowledge, leaving them vulnerable to false teaching. Any public expression of Christianity can lead to imprisonment.
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: