Christian persecution: Vietnam ranks 18th in the world

Open Door, January 2018

Where Persecution Comes From

In Vietnam, Christians experience persecution due to local and national governments and tribal culture. Vietnam is one of only five countries in the world that is still ruled by a Communist party. Laws are passed that disadvantage the Christian minority, and their implementation at the grassroots level leads to persecution from local officials. Roman Catholics are by far the largest Christian community in the country, but are seen as suspect for their ties to foreign powers. Ethnic group leaders see Christians as traitors to the tribal culture and identity, and villagers often work with them to persecute believers accordingly. The “Montagnards,” an ethnic minority with many Protestant Christians, are viewed with particular suspicion by government officials.

How Christians are Suffering

Historical Christian communities experience relative freedom in Vietnam, although they are still monitored by the government on suspicion of collusion with foreign powers. Politically outspoken Catholics are targeted, arrested and sentenced. Catholic congregations also have their land taken by the government for development and financial gain, despite protests in opposition. It is converts from folk religions, as well as Protestant Christians, that experience the most intense persecution, especially in the rural and remote areas of Central and North Vietnam. These believers face exclusion, harassment, discrimination, loss of property and even violent attack for their faith. Many who flee to neighboring countries for asylum are sent back to Vietnam.


In 2017, at least 50 Montagnard Christian refugees fled from Cambodia to Thailand to avoid repatriation to Vietnam.

In June 2017, vandals attacked the church building of a Catholic congregation that has criticized the government’s handling of a devastating toxic waste spill.

In 2017, several Catholic activists and bloggers and Protestant pastors were jailed, even deporting a Catholic professor to France and a Protestant pastor to the US.