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PERSECUTION Vietnamese Police Arrest Activist Pastor

Compass Direct News Service

June 24, 2004

The day before his arrest, Quang wrote presciently to a friend in North America. "The Church is now on stormy seas but the boat still goes out.

The Lord enables the brothers to row together. Be at peace. I ask you and the Church to pray for us." – HO CHI MINH CITY, June 10 (Compass) --

Rev. Nguyen Hong Quang, well-known Protestant religious liberty activist and Mennonite church leader, was arrested on the afternoon of June 8. According to witnesses, Quang was at his property on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City supervising boy scouts who were working on a road leading to the location where they often camp, when two men posing as government workers approached him casually. They then drew a pistol, aiming it at his head as they produced arrest warrants. At least two dozen police officers hiding nearby were called to help take him to the lockup at District 2 Public Security Police station.


-- Nong bi dai' (, June 26, 2004


PERSECUTION WATCH Communists Kill and Starve Hmong Christians

By Stefan J. Bos Assist News Service -- VIENTIANE / HANOI (ANS) -- Several Christians of the persecuted Hmong group who were spreading the Gospel in Communist ruled Laos and Vietnam have been killed by police forces, ASSIST News Service has learned.

Christian Aid Mission (CAM), which supports persecuted believers and missionaries said one of the Hmong Christians in Laos, was found dead Aug. 4 after he left his Vernkan village with a police officer who had arrested him in 1999, because of his faith.

The unmarried Christian, identified only as Sompong, and ten other believers from Attapue and Champasak provinces were arrested for practicing an illegal religion.

While serving 18 months in prison, Sompong reportedly witnessed to other prisoners and officers. After his release he continued to practice his faith, despite opposition in his village, which apparently resulted in his death.

Christians Concerned

"As a result, many Christians in southern Laos now fear that similar attacks will take place among them," said CAM officials, who urged believers worldwide to pray earnestly for the safety and well-being of Lao Christians.

Reports about the crackdown against pro-Western Hmong Christians come amid fresh signs of unrest and attacks apparently aimed at the Communist government of Laos.

At least two people were killed in a bomb blast in southern Laos, while a hand grenade was thrown near a market in the capital Vientiane last Sunday October 19, the U.S. funded Radio Free Asia and state media were quoted as saying by the French News Agency (AFP).

Civilian Deaths

It came after the international human rights organization Amnesty International reported that it received reports off "scores of civilian deaths, predominantly among children, from starvation and injuries" sustained during the ongoing conflict against Communism.

About 20 rebel groups, which likely include Hmong people, and their families "are surrounded by Lao military and prevented from foraging for food that they traditionally rely on to survive," said Amnesty, which condemned the action.

CAM said it is also concerned about persecution of Hmong Christians across the border in Vietnan, amid reports that Mua A Sinh, a Hmong pastor, was murdered on August 16 while in the Dien Bien Dong police station.

Family Beaten

"Family members said that Mr. Sinh was arrested and imprisoned for leading local church meetings. The local police then attempted to force Mr. Sinh to sign a form agreeing to disband his house-church. After refusing to do so, Mr. Sinh was beaten to death by the police," CAM said.

"In a continuation of this tragic crime, the police arrested Mr. Sinh’s brother, and put him in the same room where the body of Mr. Sinh was. (They) pressured him, under threat of physical beatings, to sign a confession stating that he had beaten his brother to death."

As he refused to do so, "the brother was kept in prison for approximately one month and beaten regularly, until his release," the organization added.

Pastors Imprisoned

There are currently an estimated 300 Christian pastors who are imprisoned in these areas, for holding legal church meetings, CAM said.

Amnesty International has linked the persecution of Hmong people to their support for the U.S.-led war in Vietnam, and its spill-over fighting in both Laos and Cambodia.

On Friday, October 24, high-ranking officials from the United States, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos pledged to work together to determine the fate of more than 1,800 American soldiers still listed as missing from the Vietnam War.

Joint Talks

The officials made the pledge at the end of a two-day meeting in the Thai capital, Bangkok, the first ever joint talks held by the four nations on the issue since the Vietnam War ended in 1975.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense Jerry Jennings told reporters that Washington has accounted for more than 700 missing Americans since the war, but some 1,875 still have not been found, the Voice of America (VOA) and other media reported.

Over 58,000 Americans and 3 million Vietnamese were killed in the war, and as many as 300,000 Vietnamese are still missing.

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-- Nong bi dai' (, June 26, 2004.

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