Arrested Vietnamese Christians released – but must abandon faith

Vietnamese Christians

Four Vietnamese Christians arrested last week in Vietnam have been released.

A Radio Free Asia (RFA) report says the four men, who belong to Protestant churches, were instructed to “stop practising their faith independently”.

Three were arrested on 31 October and taken to the District Police headquarters. One was released two days later while a fourth man was arrested the next day.

He was arrested after police interrogated his mother the day before.

Police lay down law

A man told Radio Free Asia (RFA) that the police questioned the four about their views on religious freedom and civil society.

“You must stop practising your faith independently! You may not study civil society!” the police reportedly told them. Both activities aim to oppose the Government.

The police also warned the four against participating in specific public events. These include the upcoming International Human Rights Day which is commemorated on 10 December.

The other event is the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief, held on 22 August.

During their incarceration, the four men had to work all day. They say they were otherwise well treated.

One of those arrested who prefers to remain anonymous for legal reasons says, while they had to work 16 hour shifts from 7:30am, they were not beaten and were well fed.

Independent Vietnamese Christians

Many Vietnamese Christians, including families in Dak Lak and some provinces in the Central Highlands, follow Protestantism.

They are considered independent in that they don’t belong to state-approved religious organisations.

The independent Protestant groups have no leaders and no organisational structure.

However all members have equal rights, with pastors “trusted representatives of their group” RFA says.

This year has seen some of these groups send at least four invitations to local authorities and President Vo Van Thuong to attend their religious activities..

They say their aim in doing so was so that officials could see for themselves that independent Vietnamese Christians are not against state-approved religions or the government, RFA reports.




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News category: World.