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Notre Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh City
Photo: Flickr / Jorge Lascar

On July 31st, a group of Christians in Ho Chi Minh City were assaulted by police while gathered in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral for prayer. They were praying for the resolution of land disputes because the government has been trying to confiscate their properties. Police and security personnel forcibly ended the meeting, dragging the Christians onto buses. Those who resisted were brutally beaten. As a result, several had to undergo medical treatment in hospital.

In recent years, prayer vigils and peaceful protests have been held by Christians in response to the unlawful confiscation of land by the government. In June of 2012, authorities in Nghe An Province attempted to confiscate land owned by a church in Quy Chau District. In this situation, the parishioners were violently attacked by a large group which left many with serious cuts and bruises.

The Communist Party of Vietnam enforces strict control of all policy and activity. In particular, the confiscation of land is becoming a serious issue. The government is also using the confiscation to restrict unsanctioned religious activities. (Only government-controlled religious organizations are permitted.)

Unregistered churches in Vietnam face harassment and discrimination (see the Vietnam Country Report). Recently, severe famine in the land moved the government to start providing emergency aid to villages. Christian communities in desperate need were discriminated against by the government and left without the necessary provisions, unlike the response that was given to those of non-believers.

Please pray that our fellow believers in Vietnam will experience ongoing spiritual strength and growth as they face these challenging circumstances because of their faith. Also ask that the land disputes threatening their churches and communities will be fairly resolved. May those afflicting and harassing them sense God's powerful touch...resulting in changed hearts and lives.