Communist and post-Communist oppression Vietnam | 27 March 2023

Vietnam: New leadership brings no change for Christians

Show: false / Country: Vietnam /

The recent reshuffling of Vietnam’s leadership, with 52 year old Vo Van Thuong becoming President of the country, has shattered some long-held assumptions (The Diplomat, 13 March 2023). However, a 132-page long White Book on Religions and Religious Policy, released on 9 March, shows that nothing will change for Christians and other religions (Radio Free Asia, 9 March 2023).

World Watch Research analyst Thomas Muller explains: “The change in leadership is a reminder that Vietnam is a Communist country and the Communist Party (VCP) will do everything necessary to keep its grip on society. At the same time, the experience of the last few weeks has made it abundantly clear that Communist rule in Vietnam cannot simply be equated with what has been happening in China. One basic reason for this (among others) is that the VCP still follows the standard Communist pattern of having a collective leadership. But the change at the top has brought no change to freedom of religion as the publication of the ‘White Book’ clearly shows. As long as religious groups are not recognized and registered, they are considered illegal. While this affects all religions and all Vietnamese, it has  greater consequences for the country’s ethnic minorities, of whom a considerable number adhere to Protestant Christianity. These ethnic minorities, already watched with suspicion by the authorities, face frequent raids on their church meetings, constant surveillance and the accusation that they are in cahoots with foreign forces. They are frequently blocked from any contact with the outside world, so that it becomes next to impossible to speak out for them about their situation.”


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