UCA News

Vietnam

Members of interfaith council detained in Vietnam

Detention part of government policy to 'divide and rule' independent groups who refuse to join state-sanctioned organizations

ucanews.com reporter, Ho Chi Minh City

ucanews.com reporter, Ho Chi Minh City

Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Members of interfaith council detained in Vietnam

Visiting religious leaders and Hoa Hao followers pray for national prosperity at Nguyen Van Luot on Feb. 13. (Photo curtesy of Father Nguyen Ngoc Thanh)

Share this article :
Four members from a Vietnamese group of religious leaders from unregistered faiths were detained at a police station in Dong Thanh commune, Vinh Long province on Feb. 13.

They are Pastor Nguyen Manh Hung, Venerable Thich Khong Tanh of the Unified Buddhist Sangha of Vietnam, Hua Phi, head of Cao Dai, an indigenous faith, and Redemptorist Father Anthony Le Ngoc Thanh.

They are among 27 members of the Interfaith Council of Vietnam, a group of religious leaders from unregistered faiths working together to protect themselves from government persecution.

Father Thanh wrote on his Facebook account on Feb. 15 that, while they were visiting Bui Van Luot, a leader of the Hoa Hao Buddhist sect who lives in the commune, 30 policemen forced entry and checked the personal papers of the four visitors. The four were then hauled off to a police station.

Police separated and questioned the visitors for hours and accused them of causing public disorder but the four men remained silent. After that, they were released and forced to leave the area.

Police also forcibly stopped some Hoa Hao followers from meeting the visiting delegates.

The council members were visiting the Hoa Hao followers to show solidarity and pray for national prosperity on the occasion of the Lunar New Year festival.

Nguyen Bac Truyen, a Hoa Hao activist, told ucanews.com that the communist government's prevention "was to stop unregistered faiths from uniting and fighting for religious freedom; officials apply a policy of divide and rule."

Unregistered religious groups or independent groups are those who refuse to join state-sanctioned groups. They remain faithful to their traditional rites and doctrines and fight against government intervention on religious issues.

As a result, many followers and their leaders have been persecuted, harassed and imprisoned since communists took control of the country in 1975. They are not allowed to gather for prayer, build new temples or give faith education to their followers.

Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
YOUR DAILY
NEWSLETTER
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter
 
Support UCA News

William J. Grimm, MM

Publisher

Union of Catholic Asian News

"As Pope Francis has said, we live not so much in an era of change as in a change of era. That is especially true in Asia and for the churches of Asia. UCA News is the dedicated, Asia-wide news and information service for the Church in Asia and we need your help to maintain the service."