#19 in Christian persecution, Viet Nam


VIETNAM


SCORE

70.94

REGION

Asia

PERSECUTION TYPE

Communist and post-communist oppression

RELIGION

Buddhism

PERSECUTION LEVEL

Very High

POPULATION

99,284,000

CHRISTIAN

9,159,000

GOVERNMENT

Communist state

LEADER

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc

PROFILE OF PERSECUTION

Violence 8.7/16.7

Church Life 14.5/16.7

National Life 14.1/16.7

Community Life 12.7/16.7

Family Life 9.7/16.7

Private Life 11.3/16.7

How the scoring worksDownload country dossier with in-depth research

What does persecution look like in Vietnam?

The level of persecution Vietnamese Christians experience may depend on their particular denomination or background. Historical Christian communities (like Roman Catholic churches) enjoy a certain amount of freedom—unless they become politically active, which can lead to the imprisonment of church leaders. But evangelical and charismatic Protestants—along with converts from indigenous religions—often face intense pressure and violence for their faith, especially in the remote areas of central and northern Vietnam. Christians are harassed in the workplace and may face discrimination for their faith, while Christian children are ostracized at school and may be pressured to reject their faith.

ince religion is closely identified with ethnicity in these regions, leaving a traditional belief for Christianity may be seen as wholesale rejection of culture and community. Therefore, Christians who belong to the country’s ethnic minorities often face social exclusion, discrimination and attacks. Their homes are sometimes destroyed, and they are then forced to leave their villages. Sometimes, the local communities will leverage the absolute power of the local communist government to persecute Christians who stray outside of the traditional belief system.

Meet “Poh,” a Hmong Christian who was kicked out of his village for his conversion to Christianity

“A few months ago, I went back to my old village to visit my parents and siblings, but my family and the villagers still hate me—they forbade me from going near them. My parents still despise me and have renounced me as their child.”

What has changed this year?

The level of persecution stayed largely the same in Vietnam during the 2022 World Watch List reporting period. The COVID-19 pandemic continued to affect all residents of the country, and some Christians in rural areas reported discrimination in government pandemic assistance. Ethnic minority Christians still face violence and social consequences when they convert to Christianity, and the Vietnamese church remains under pressure throughout the country.

Who is most vulnerable to persecution?

Pressure and violence targeting Christians among ethnic minorities is especially strong in the central and northwestern highlands of Vietnam. Christians who leave their tribal religions to follow Jesus are viewed as cultural and family traitors—they’re at risk for violent attack, having their children forcibly taken and having their homes and crops destroyed.

What does Open Doors do to help?

Open Doors works through local church partners to come alongside Vietnamese believers when they suffer physical attacks and expulsion from their families and communities for choosing to follow Christ. We do this through advocacy, relief and practical aid, along with biblical training and discipleship programs.

Population statistic: Johnson T M and Zurlo G A, eds., World Christian Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, accessed April 2021).

Pray for Vietnam

  • Pray for new projects planned by Open Doors partners in Vietnam. Pray for wisdom and strength for our ministry partners, and for the hearts of all Christians who will benefit from these new efforts.

  • Pray for Christians in Vietnam who suffer persecution, especially those from ethnic minorities. Pray for those who lose their families and homes, that they would feel the reality that God has given them a global family of believers who prays for them.

  • Pray for the government of Vietnam, both local and national. Pray the national government would protect the rights of all of its citizens, and that local governments would not be used to worsen the persecution faced by Christians in tribal communities.

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