An incident early this month in which 24 Hmong Christians in Vietnam’s northwestern highlands were attacked by a mob led by a village chief in a violent attempt to make the them renounce their faith underscores a deterioration in religious freedom in the communist state, critics said on Tuesday.
On March 1, 24 Hmong villagers who had recently converted to Christianity were attacked by a mob, leaving four hospitalized with injuries to their heads and arms. The attack followed warnings from local authorities that they would be expelled from the village if they did not renounce their faith, the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR) said in statement.
“Such attacks and acts of harassment against religious communities have multiplied recently in Vietnam, despite the introduction of the new Law on Belief and Religion in January,” VCHR said in a statement.
“The authorities are invoking the law to criminalize legitimate religious activities, creating a climate of impunity for a wide range of violations of freedom of religion or belief,” added the group
In remarks accompanying the statement on the March 1 attack, VCHR President Vo Van Ai said: “Religious persecution is a growing phenomenon” despite freedom of religion or belief being enshrined in the Vietnamese Constitution.
According to VCHR, about 300,000 of the one million Hmong in Vietnam are Christians.
Full story: rfa.org
Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by An Nguyen. Written in English by Paul Eckert.
Copyright © 1998-2018, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036. http://www.rfa.org.