An unprecedented prayer appeal by the Evangelical Church of Vietnam (South) indicates that the government has stonewalled quiet, persistent attempts to obtain redress on confiscated church properties, interference in church affairs, and discrimination against Christians. Addressed to “The Church of God Everywhere,” the March 28 letter from the Executive Committee of the ECVN(S) followed several ultimatums in which the church threatened “collective action” and still did not obtain serious dialogue with authorities. It is uncommon for the ECVN(S) — which received full legal recognition in April 2001 and is Vietnam’s largest Protestant Church — to go public on such matters. The church leaders’ letter said some of 265 properties confiscated had been turned to other uses, some simply left to fall into disrepair and others demolished. The demolition of two church buildings, one in Ben Cat and the other in Go Vap, Ho Chi Minh City, occurred last year, and authorities also destroyed two Bible schools in the Central Highlands after legal recognition of the church in 2001.
-Compass Direct News, our affiliate news service