Vietnam: New Law Increases Religious Restrictions

Monday, December 9, 2013

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

HANOI, VIETNAM (Worthy News)-- Christian leaders in Vietnam are opposed to a proposed state law that would further increase restrictions on all their activities, requiring a permit for each and every circumstance, according to BarnabasAid.

The proposed law is the latest attempt by local authorities to legally prevent the practice of Christianity.

Called "Provisions relating to a number of specific points on the management of religious activities in the territory of Bac Ninh," the new bill would affect five northern provinces and parts of others as well.

In response to the bill, local Christian leaders said that the proposed new law imposes even more obstacles and limitations: it would require churches to obtain a permit for every activity, e.g., holding services, training ministers and even repairing places of worship, thus giving local authorities the power to disapprove each and every aspect of church life.

Earlier this year, other new laws were enacted that made it virtually impossible for unregistered religious groups to obtain legal status. Nguyen Van Dai, a Christian lawyer, said that Decree 92: Directives and Measures for Implementing the Ordinance on Religion and Belief, was drafted to stop the entire house-church movement in Vietnam.

Each alleged infringement of Decree 92 is punishable by arrest, abduction or forced detention.