Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Vietnam: Five Christian Families Attacked, Beaten Up by Fellow Villagers

2/26/2013 Vietnam (CR) - Newly converted Christians of the Sedang ethnic minority in Vietnam’s Central Highlands were terrorized last week – their homes and personal property badly damaged or destroyed in four consecutive night raids, and some of the faithful seriously injured from beatings in broad daylight, sources said.

Since becoming Christians in the past year, five families in mountainous Kontum Province have reported constant harassment from villagers upset that they are no longer contributing to communal sacrifices and other practices because of their new faith. The attacks from Monday (Feb. 18) to Friday (Feb. 22) constituted a third wave of sustained violence since their conversion, leaving their property severely damaged and their lives threatened.

Attacks on the new Christians – who belong to a Christian Mission Church (CMC) congregation in Ngoc La village, Mang Ri Commune, Tumorong District in northwestern Kontum Province – were primarily motivated by strong tensions within the ethnic group over the families leaving the “old ways.” Ideologically opposed to Christianity, local Communist officials freely permit and even encourage such conflicts, sources said.

At the same time, local Vietnamese officials commonly incite and employ area thugs to attack Christians, whose united faith is perceived as a threat to government ideology and sovereignty. Often officials themselves put on civilian clothes or otherwise disguise themselves, joining in the attacks, sources said.

The assailants last week attacked the Christians’ homes, pelting them with bricks and cement roof tiles and swinging wooden clubs. They then invaded their houses and destroyed their belongings.

The victims managed to take photos with their cell phones, and though taken mostly in darkness, the images are clear enough to show a destroyed fibro-cement roof; a motorcycle with parts bent, broken and missing; dishes and kitchen utensils smashed to pieces; food cast to the ground; badly damaged furniture; broken windows; wooden shutters, doors and frames ripped out of walls; and wooden clubs and bricks strewn about.

The gangs on Friday (Feb. 22) beat a number of the Christians in broad daylight, with some, including women, struck below the abdomen. Several were reported to be seriously injured. One family, threatened with death if they stayed in their home, fled into the forest, where they were forced to spend nights in the cold with inadequate clothing and no shelter.

While the religious freedom environment for many Christians in Vietnam’s larger cities has improved considerably in recent years, that of many ethnic minority Christians in remote and mountainous regions of the country definitely has not, sources said. Regularly occurring incidents demonstrate that Vietnamese authorities actively work to limit and contain Christianity, even as they appear to have given up on eradicating it(Source).

No comments:

Post a Comment