Persecution in Vietnam

Population: 75,030,000
Percent Christian: 9.8
Size: 330,000 sq. km.
(Occupies entire eastern/southern coastline of Indochina)

In the words of the Puebla Institute, Vietnam has a "free market and a captive conscience." While making great strides to replace collectivism with a free market economy, Vietnam has steadfastly resisted any political reform. Any religious expression that is not a puppet or an echo of the Communist Party government is slated for extermination.

Some Vietnamese Christians who profess their faith openly without submitting to government control have been arrested, imprisoned and sentenced to cultural re-education. Many die in prison, some after torture. Some restrictions were lifted during 1993 as Vietnam sought to expand its diplomatic and trade contracts. But after the United States normalized diplomatic relations with Vietnam in July 1995, brutal repression returned. In the past few years, some Americans visiting the country have also been victimized. In October 1996, the Vietnamese government detained an American citizen for the "crime" of distributing pens with crosses on them to orphans.