Updates on China, Vietnam, and Pakistan

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

In China, it is no secret that the ruling Communist Party is in the midst of a campaign to destroy religious conviction among its citizens: from the millions of Uyghurs and Muslims in prison in Xinjiang, the exorbitant restrictions on religious practice and language of Tibetan Buddhists, to the mass closures of Christian churches and the arrests of tens of pastors of the Evangelical Church.

In 2018, the CCP implemented the revised Religious Affairs Regulations that place extreme restrictions on Christian religious practice. One such provision states that children under the age of 18 are barred from attending church services. Immediately following the implementation of this list of regulations, all across various provinces in China churches posted signs warning families that their minor children would not be able to attend religious services.

In northern Hebei province, however, one Catholic bishop refuses to adhere to such ridiculous standards. According to UCA News, Bishop Jia Zhiguo has refused to sign an agreement that would prevent him from allowing Chinese citizens under the age of 18 from entering his house of worship. Part of this problematic agreement was that the local officials “would allow churches to open if the bishop signed the document. If he refused, authorities would take over a church-run orphanage for handicapped children and the bishop’s house.” Still, Bishop Jia remained firm on his refusal to sign the agreement, and currently local officials are underway preparing to confiscate the orphanage and force the nuns to work under their jurisdiction.

Just south of China, in Vietnam, the government has convicted 29-year-old Catholic blogger Nguyen Quoc Duc Vuong of “making, hoarding and disseminating anti-state propaganda” for his social activism online. Vuong had used his blog to publicly express his opinions on the communist government, and he had attended multiple protests in Ho Chi Minh City two years ago against the cyber security law.

Vuong’s due process was inherently fringed upon, as “only security officials and several journalists from state-run media outlets were allowed in the courtroom,” his family was forbidden from attending the court hearing, and no witnesses were addressed by the judge presiding over the case. Now in prison, Vuong is rejected family visits and his relatives have not heard from him since the day of his arrest in September 2019.

According to UCA News, “Vuong said all he had done was express his own views on social issues. ‘I violated the law in the eyes of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam but my conscience tells me I have done nothing wrong….’

Across the continent, in Pakistan, Christian Nadeem Joseph died as a result of gunshot wounds he received nearly a month ago in early June. Just over three weeks ago, Joseph, along with his mother-in-law and brother-in-law were shot at by their Muslim neighbors in Sawati Phatak Colony, Khybar Pakhtunkhawa Province, Pakistan. This attack occurred after Joseph had purchased a home in the predominantly Muslim colony.

Prior to the attack, however, Joseph was the victim of verbal harassment by his Muslim neighbors, and according to ICC, he had been referred to as a ‘choora,’ a derogatory name for Christians. His neighbors had also vandalized his home and has made multiple noise disturbances.

Joseph was fatally shot twice in his stomach, and his mother- and brother-in-law both sustained injuries from gun wounds as well. After undergoing a sequence of surgeries on his wounds at Lady Reading Hospital, Joseph succumbed to his death on June 29, 2020.

All across the world and in many nations and regions, Christian minority communities are the victims of persecution and violence by both state and non-state actors simply for their religious beliefs and worship.