A Christian lawyer in Vietnam, Nguyen Van Dai, and three of his friends were beaten with sticks by Vietnamese police after they took part in a conference last Sunday.
The conference, held in the country’s Nghe An Province, was to inform people about their human rights, including their right to religious freedom. According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), the conference itself took place without incident, even though police had previously asked the organisers to cancel it.
However, after it had finished, around 20 plain-clothed police officers confronted the four men and beat them with wooden sticks. The police then seized their personal possessions and Mr Nguyen was pushed into the sea after the authorities had stripped him of his jacket and shoes.
According to CSW, Mr Nguyen was then taken to another province by motorcycle and beaten for a second time. His documents, phone, camera and wallet were seized, but he managed to borrow a phone to call for help.
He was followed and beaten for a third time before finally returning to Hanoi, capital of Vietnam, on 7th December.
Mr Nguyen’s friends, Trung and Minh, were helped by local Christians to return to Hanoi after their personal possessions were also confiscated. A third friend at the conference, Thang, also managed to return safely to the Vietnam capital.
In a separate incident, on 8th November, two Christian activists, who had previously served prison sentences for their activities, were detained by police and beaten repeatedly.
The men were held for twelve hours while communist party officials attempted to force Christian student activist Chu Manh Son and Christian journalist Tran Minh Nhat to write a confession statement.
Christianity is tightly controlled in Vietnam, whose one-party Communist state views it as a Western religion and therefore a threat. Hundreds of Christians are imprisoned, where they are subjected to beatings, abuse and torture.
- Pray for Christians in Vietnam, as they face ongoing and increasing pressure from the government. Pray for courage in the face of threats, for their faith to remain strong and for their witness to their families and communities to reflect the heart of Jesus.
- Pray for those in prison for their faith, for comfort and peace, and for opportunities to share the love of Christ with other in prison.
- Pray for the Vietnamese church to grow in strength and unity.
- Pray for the government, that they will not fear Christianity, but seek to allow freedom of worship without fear.
Colossians 4 vs 3: “At the same time pray for us as well that God will open to us a door for the word, that we may declare the mystery of Christ, for which I am in prison.”