Activist Christian Pastor Arrested in Vietnam

Tuesday, August 6, 2002

HO CHI MINH CITY, August 21 (Compass) -- A pastor and lawyer who has been regularly harassed for exposing religious liberty abuses in Vietnam was arrested on August 17 along with his wife and another man in the capital city of this Southeast Asian country.

Rev. and Mrs. Nguyen Hong Quang and Truong Tri Hien were arrested in Ward 26 in the Binh Thanh district of Ho Chi Minh City. Their identity cards were confiscated and they are reportedly on a hunger strike, according to local sources.

"The Rev. Quang was struck in the face until it is all swollen, by an officer named Tien," claimed a source who did not want to be identified.

The Rev. Quang, a Mennonite pastor who trained as a lawyer, has been arrested and detained numerous times because of his efforts in documenting attacks on the Vietnamese Protestant Mennonite community and for his evangelistic activities. "I have a paper saying I should be expelled from my country," he wrote in June.

In a June 6 letter published by Compass, Rev. Quang reported that during the first six months of this year, Public Security Police have on four occasions "burst into our house while we are worshipping God." Twice the services were stopped, on April 13 and June 5, and charges were written up against the church members, "throwing most of the congregation into a state of crisis and fear," the Rev. Quang wrote.

Vietnamese authorities have waged a consistent campaign to crack down on the activities of unofficial house churches in Vietnam.

On August 16, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom named Vietnam as one of several countries where "grave violations of religious freedom persist."

Copyright 2001, Compass News Direct. Used with Permission.