VIETNAM: Persecution by the state unabated
On 17 June 2015, Vietnamese Christians testified before a United States congressional hearing, warning that US bilateral ties with the ruling communist state leaders in Hanoi could be making persecution worse. The perceived lack of concern by the US government at the Hanoi’s intolerance of human rights activists and those worshipping outside state control, and the apparent sole focus on trade and economic issues, have been seen as sanctioning, if not supporting, the state’s inhumane actions.
Among the harrowing testimonies given before US lawmakers was that of Nguyen Manh Hung, a Mennonite pastor. He described being driven from his land by state authorities, and having to use a cattle shed for church services. His parishioners and family continued to be threatened and assaulted by plainclothes police and thugs sent by the state. He said that on one occasion, plainclothes police “came to my house and destroyed my property and threatened to kill me, my wife, and my son.” He added that these experiences “serve as evidence of the Vietnamese government’s repression of religious groups that do not accept the state’s interference in religious activities.”