Religious Persecution in Vietnam

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), November 24, 1996 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Religious Persecution in Vietnam


Man Thi Jones has been under a form of house arrest near her ancestral village in Vietnam for nearly seven weeks. She was detained Oct. 5, and since then has undergone almost daily interrogations by Vietnamese officials. She is ill, alone, running out of money - and undoubtedly dismayed by the fact that police seem to be rounding up her relatives. Her crime? Distributing ball-point pens with Christian crosses on them.

Such religious persecution is not unusual in Vietnam - where, as in all Communist dictatorships, religion is rightly regarded as a danger to rigid state control. Vietnamese Christians have been arrested and sentenced to years of hard labor for, among other things, singing hymns and reading the Bible. The persecution had actually been diminishing as Vietnam sought better relations with the U.S. in the early 1990s. But that was before Bill Clinton decided to end the trade embargo - at least in part, it now turns out, at the urging of his Indonesian money men, who had financial interests there. Unsurprisingly enough (at least to anyone prepared to look honestly at communism), the relative good times for Christianity ended abruptly once the government had achieved its goal of getting the embargo lifted. Since 1994, Vietnamese Christians have been as much under the gun as ever.

Man Thi Jones' case is not, however, just another case of Vietnamese religious persecution. Because - having met and married an American serviceman during the war and been naturalized in 1975 - Mrs. Jones is an American citizen. And she's an American citizen who for weeks was more or less left by the U.S. State Department to the tender mercies of Vietnam's travesty of a legal system. As one spokeswoman at State's Bureau of Consular Affairs anonymously told the Sacramento Bee, "If an individual has apparently distributed material in contravention of [Vietnamese laws against distributing religious material], we would allow the legal process to continue." It will hardly reassure Americans concerned about their country's approach to international leadership to note the similarity of that statement to the one issued by the Vietnamese embassy: "Anyone who misuses the freedom of belief or religion," it announced, "[by] carrying out illegal activities which infringe on state interests or public interests should be judged in accordance with the existing laws of Vietnam.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Religious Persecution in Vietnam
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?