Vietnam Police Rape, Beat, and Imprison Hmong Christians
April 28, 2003
by Center for Religious Freedom
Freedom House’s Center for Religious Freedom expressed shock today over recent reports that the Vietnamese Government continues to violently persecute minority Hmong Christians.
A report received recently from reliable sources in Vietnam states that on December 20, 2002, five Public Security Police apprehended Mrs.Vang Thi My and her husband Ma A Chanh near their home in Lai Chau Province. Mr. Chanh was reportedly bound with rope while police gang-raped his wife a few yards away.
Petitions describing the incident were signed by local villagers and a village chief and provided to Freedom House by Hmong Christians via China.
Another report states that on March 3 security police detained Christian evangelists Mua A. Chau and Thao A. Tong in Sinh Ho District headquarters in Lai Chau province. Mr. Tong was held in a sealed, dark cell where he nearly asphyxiated. He was eventually released under orders not to leave his home for more than one day without government permission. Mr. Chau was severely beaten and is charged with “interfering with an officer doing his duty,” a charge frequently used against religious people to avoid the appearance of religious persecution.
Another report describes the general situation in Lai Chau, where police have installed themselves within Christians’ homes to report on their every move. In February, approximately 50 members of the public security police reportedly moved into the residence of Evangelist Thao A Tong in Sinh Ho District. In other cases, groups of five or six police were stationed inside the homes of Christian families.
“The Vietnamese authorities are continuing to persecute tribal Christians in ways not only brutal, but bizarre,” said Center Senior Fellow Paul Marshall. “The U.S. government should continue to raise these issues until the Vietnam government allows general religious freedom,” he affirmed.
The reports fit a pattern of official Vietnamese repression of minority faiths. In November 2002, Freedom House reported on the beating death of Mua Bua Senh, a young Hmong Christian. After his death, Mr. Senh’s family sought refuge in Hoi Huong, a village where on December 29 Vietnamese security officials from a group known as “Unit 184” attacked a church service with a form of noxious gas. “Unit 184” is named after “Plan 184,” an official, secret, anti-Christian plan obtained and published by Freedom House in November 2000.
Religious repression in Vietnam is pervasive, and particularly harsh as directed against the Christian tribal people. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recommended in September 2002 that Vietnam be designated a country of “particular concern” because of its “egregious, systematic and ongoing” religious repression.
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