RLPB is published weekly to facilitate strategic intercessory prayer.
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-- Elizabeth Kendal
VIETNAM: COMMUNIST PARTY PERSECUTES WITH IMPUNITY
|Communist Party General Secretary and |
President of Vietnam, Nguyễn Phú Trọng.
On 29 April 2019 the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released its annual report and called on the US State Department to re-designate Vietnam as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC), Tier 1. As the USCIRF reports: 'In 2018, religious freedom conditions in Vietnam trended negative.' Police violence and CPV-commissioned thuggery are escalating, draconian laws are accumulating and prisons are filling up with peaceful activists who are being sentenced to increasingly lengthy prison terms. Kidnapped and severely beaten before being arrested and sentenced to 12 years' jail, ostensibly for his religious liberty advocacy, the plight of Protestant Pastor Nguyen Trung Ton (48) is a case in point [see RLPB 479 (31 Oct 2018)].
|Nguyen Nang Tinh -- arrested.|
Nghe An newspaper,
SBS News, 4 June 2019
According to the database of 88 Project, Vietnam is currently holding 263 'activists' (prisoners of conscience). This figure corresponds with the USCIRF's figure of 244 prisoners of conscience as of 31 December 2018, as well as 20 detained activists awaiting trial. RFA carries numerous reports of Vietnamese prisoners of conscience being beaten, choked, held in solitary confinement and forcibly medicated. Many of these prisoners are Christians; some had advocated for religious freedom, democracy and social justice, while others had simply professed or practised their Christian faith.
As the USCIRF makes clear, Vietnam's ethnic minorities face 'especially egregious persecution for the peaceful practice of their religious beliefs, including physical assault, detention, or banishment'. According to the USCIRF, an estimated 2,000 Protestant ethnic Hmong and Montagnard households in the Central Highlands (comprising approximately 10,000 individuals) continue to be stateless because local authorities refuse to issue ID cards, household registration and birth certificates, 'in many instances in retaliation for refusing to renounce their faith'.
|'Say a Prayer for Vietnam's Forgotten Montagnards', |
by Dan Southerland (former executive editor RFA) Asia Times, Oct 2018
PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT GOD WILL
* bless, comfort, sustain and encourage prisoners Nguyen Trung Ton and Nguyen Nang Tinh; may the Lord Jesus Christ bring healing to Pastor Ton's body; may the Spirit lift up Ton and Tinh's heads (Psalm 3:3) and may the God of justice intervene for Ton, Tinh and all Christians unjustly imprisoned in Vietnam (Amos 5:24).
'But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." ' (2 Corinthians 12:9a ESV)
* sustain and encourage the Church in Vietnam as repression escalates; may the Lord bless all church leaders with divine wisdom as they seek to lead Christ's precious flock through difficult days; may the Lord flood his Church with all the faith and grace believers will require if they are to 'shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life' (from Philippians 2:14-16 ESV).
* awaken men and women of influence in this world -- in particular those who formulate foreign policy -- to the folly of trusting that 'money is the solution' -- as if money can solve the problem of sin!
SUMMARY FOR BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE
VIETNAM'S COMMUNIST PARTY PERSECUTES WITH IMPUNITY
Since 2016, human rights have deteriorated markedly in Vietnam as the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) has moved to consolidate and strengthen its control. Police violence and CPV-commissioned thuggery are escalating, draconian laws are accumulating and prisons are filling with peaceful activists being sentenced to increasingly lengthy prison terms. One such prisoner is Protestant Pastor Nguyen Trung Ton (48), severely beaten and serving 12 years in prison, ostensibly for his religious liberty advocacy. Another is Nguyen Nang Tinh (42), a Catholic parishioner and singing teacher, arrested without warrant in May for a Facebook post deemed anti-state. Ethnic minority, mostly Protestant Hmong and Montagnard Christians face the most egregious persecution, including physical assault, detention, banishment and forced statelessness. Vietnam, her Church and her many courageous Christian advocates need our prayers.
She has authored two books: Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today (Deror Books, Melbourne, Australia, Dec 2012) which offers a Biblical response to persecution and existential threat; and After Saturday Comes Sunday: Understanding the Christian Crisis in the Middle East (Wipf and Stock, Eugene, OR, USA, June 2016).