Search

 

Cablegate: Updates From Vietnam's Northern Evangelical Church

VZCZCXRO1759
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHHI #0662/01 1570820
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 050820Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7947
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 4807
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 000662

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS AND DRL/IRF

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM KIRF PREL PGOV VM
SUBJECT: Updates from Vietnam's Northern Evangelical Church

REFS: A. Hanoi 0269; B. Hanoi 0657

HANOI 00000662 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) Summary: In a May 28 meeting with Poloff and visiting
DRL/IRF officer, Evangelical Church of Vietnam - North (ECVN)
General Secretary Pastor Au Quang Vinh discussed current conditions
for the Protestant church in Vietnam. While highlighting a lack of
harassment incidents for the first half of 2008, Pastor Vinh also
noted continuing problems with congregation registrations, training
of clergy, as well as their long-pending request for Bibles in the
H'mong language. End summary.

Ongoing Saga of Registrations
-----------------------------

2. (SBU) Pastor Vinh reported that a few additional ECVN-affiliated
churches have been able to register, but not many. Thirty-two
congregations are now registered, up from 27 in February 2008 (Ref.
A). He noted that eight additional ECVN congregations have also
registered, but the ECVN main office has yet to receive a copy of
their registration certificate, so does not yet count them in the
total. While lamenting the slow progress on registrations, Pastor
Vinh was quick to share that there are no further reports of
harassment for those congregations awaiting registration.

3. (SBU) As to why registrations take so long, Pastor Vinh opined
that many local officials seem to be waiting for the outcome of the
review of the legal framework on religion (Ref. B). Pastor Vinh
said as far as he knows, the ECVN has not been asked to provide
input to the review. While acknowledging that the ECVN President,
Pastor Phuong Quang Huyen, is a member of the Vietnam Fatherland
Front Advisory Council, Pastor Vinh discounted Pastor Huyen's
position on the Council as personal, and not one representing the
views of the ECVN. (Note: Pastor Vinh and Pastor Huyen have
long-standing and well-known differences of opinion on the
relationship the ECVN should have with the GVN. End note.)

4. (SBU) Pastor Vinh emphasized that the systemic problem with
registrations is the poor implementation of the legal framework on
religion at local levels. From his perspective, both the central
government and the provincial authorities are at fault, noting that
the central government blames the local authorities for not
processing applications and local authorities blame the central
government for providing either no guidance or confusing guidance.


Waiting for H'mong Bible
------------------------

5. (SBU) The ECVN still seeks permission to publish the Bible in the
H'mong language, and continues to press for a government response to
its formal requests of two years ago. Pastor Vinh underscored the
need for such Bibles, noting that there are now 115,000 H'mong
followers of the Protestant faith. With regard to the complication
of determining which dialect of H'mong to use for the printing,
Pastor Vinh asserted that the GVN should use the dialect most of the
H'mong can understand and move forward. In his view, the GVN
continues to delay approval for publishing a H'mong language Bible
because to do so would force the GVN to recognize the growing number
of H'mong Protestants. He went on to explain that local authorities
are concerned about registering lots of new congregations and would
like to control the rapid growth of the Protestant faith.

Pastor Training Insufficient
----------------------------

6. (SBU) Pastor Vinh reiterated the ECVN's long-standing problems
with holding training courses and preparing enough students to
become pastors. At present, there are only twelve officially
recognized pastors in the northern region of Vi

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO: