Vietnam on Thursday pushed aside the U.S. State Department’s choice to put the country on an eye record of nations to be monitored for serious violations of freedom of faith – even because it persisted to demolish Buddhist pagodas and crack down on Christian church buildings.

Freedom of faith is technically enshrined in Vietnam’s charter, but it surely additionally lets in government to override rights, together with religious freedom, for functions of nationwide safety, social order, social morality and neighborhood well-being.

And not too long ago, government have moved aggressively to take a look at to overwhelm quite a lot of religious teams. 

Just this week, government in Kon Tum province within the Central Highlands destroyed a Buddhist pagoda belonging to the impartial Unified Church of Vietnam. And closing week, government in Danang town raided a space the place 16 participants of the outlawed Duc Chua Troi (God the Father) Church had been keeping a carrier, and made them pledge they’d now not acquire for worship.

But on Thursday, deputy spokesperson Pham Thu Hang of the overseas ministry instructed an ordinary press briefing that the U.S. designation was once based totally on nonobjective, erroneous stories.

“Vietnam is ready to talk with the U.S. side about issues of mutual concern in the spirit of straightforwardness, openness, mutual respect, and contributions to the promotion of bilateral comprehensive partner relations,” Hang stated. 

The United States positioned Vietnam in conjunction with Algeria, the Central African Republic and Comoros on its Special Watch List for attractive in or tolerating serious violations of religious freedom.

The designation manner the U.S. does no longer believe the 4 countries’ violations towards religious freedom fashionable or serious sufficient to label them Countries of Particular Concern, however the State Department will observe them intently for long run inclusion.

“Around the world, governments and non-state actors harass, threaten, jail, and even kill individuals on account of their beliefs,” stated U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a remark issued Dec. 2. “In some instances, they stifle individuals’ freedom of religion or belief to exploit opportunities for political gain.”

“These actions sow division, undermine economic security, and threaten political stability and peace,” he stated. “The United States will not stand by in the face of these abuses.”

Since April 2018, Vietnam’s govt has directed government to observe the actions of the Duc Chua Troi Church and its affiliated Duc Chua Troi Mẹ (God the Mother) Church, that have roots in South Korea.

The church advanced from South Korea’s World Mission Society Church of God, a splinter team of Church of God Jesus Witnesses established through overdue Christian minister Ahn Sahng-hong in Busan in 1964. The World Mission Society Church of God says it’s found in 175 nations and has greater than 2 million fans. 

Vietnam’s Law on Belief and Religion calls for religious teams to officially sign up their organizations and puts of worship, although best organizations that experience operated for a minimum of 5 years can practice for registration. Once registered, the organizations are granted standing as prison entities. But many teams refused to sign up out of concern of persecution or fear for his or her independence.

Translated through Anna Vu for RFA Vietnamese. Written in English through Roseanne Gerin. Edited through Malcolm Foster.

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