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.