Persecuted Christian families resettled in Vietnam

July 8, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

Four severely persecuted Christian families whose homes and farms were destroyed in Vietnam have been resettled in a rare case of government intervention on behalf of the country’s abused Christian minority.

The families have been offered new land for farmingVietnam, July 02, 2013: The families, from an ethnic minority group in the Central Highlands, suffered increasing hostility from their animist neighbours after they converted to Christianity. This climaxed in February when they, along with another new Christian family, were targeted in night-time raids.

The attackers destroyed personal belongings before damaging the Christians’ homes beyond use. They also cut down and destroyed crops that were ready for harvesting. A number of the Christians were beaten, and the families were forced to flee into the forest, fearing for their lives.

Four of the five families were taken in by a Christian pastor and his wife, who looked after them for nearly four months.

A high-level advocacy campaign ensued, driven forward by a church leader from a government-recognised denomination, who even met with a deputy prime minister about the case.

It was eventually agreed that the Christians would be resettled in the same district but a different village because of unwavering opposition from the animists in their home village. It seems unlikely that the persecutors will be brought to justice.

The government offered each family a hectare of land for a home and garden plus another three for fields and farming and promised compensation for their loss of personal property. The Christians will also receive government support for food and other essentials for at least six months and receive seed for planting new crops.

They arrived in the new village on 11 June and were asked by animists to recant their Christian faith, but they refused. The church leader who supported their case will visit the families regularly to provide pastoral care and ensure that the government is delivering on its pledges.

It is rare for persecuted Vietnamese Christians to receive help from the government. The authorities are in fact often complicit in and even the instigators of anti-Christian acts; in some cases, thugs believed to have been hired by the authorities have brutally attacked Christians.

Other state opposition includes the tightening of legal restrictions against Christian activities, especially the house church movement, and the frequent jailing of Christians on charges such as “undermining national unity” and “subversion against the state”.

– morning star news / barnabas

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