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Cablegate: Gvn Decree On Normalization of Protestantism in The

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS HO CHI MINH CITY 000147

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR EAP/BCLTV, DRL/IRF

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PREL SOCI VM HUMANR RELFREE
SUBJECT: GVN DECREE ON NORMALIZATION OF PROTESTANTISM IN THE
CENTRAL HIGHLANDS

REF: HCMC 0084

1. (SBU) A December decree from the GVN National Committee on
Religious Affairs, provided to ConGen by the Dak Lak province
Representative Board of the Southern Evangelical Church of Vietnam
(SECV), promised new steps to "normalize" the operation of
Protestant churches in the Central Highlands.

2. (SBU) COMMENT: The decree has caused considerable excitement
among some Central Highlands Protestant leaders, who have started
developing their own plans to implement the steps of the decree
(reftel). This decree may also account for some of the reports of
better treatment of the Protestants in the Central Highlands and
the lack of reported incidents of serious oppression over
Christmas 2003.

3. (SBU) Complete translation of the decree follows:

QUOTE
Government Committee on Religious Affairs
No.: 782/TGCP-TL
Re.: Operation of Protestantism in the Central Highlands and Binh
Phuoc province

Hanoi, 4 December, 2004

To: The Executive Board of the Evangelical Church of Vietnam
(South)

With the Government's approval, the Government Committee on
Religious Affairs hereby announces the continuation of the
normalization of operation of the SECV in the Central Highlands
and Binh Phuoc province as follows:

1. Those groups which have held a general congress and been
recognized by the authorities as official local churches should
proceed to apply for a construction permit for worshiping places
(churches or house churches) in accordance with the law.

2. Those groups which have stable religious practices and
have no involvement in the Dega reactionary organization, while
waiting to meet all required conditions to hold a general congress
to be recognized as an official local church of SECV, should
proceed to register with the local authorities in terms of
content, location, practice timetable in order to be allowed to
practice religion normally and responsible before the law.

3. To prepare conditions for the opening of Bible courses
(in the form of part-time/in-service training) in order to have
pastors-in-charge for house churches after the authorities
recognize them.

4. Other activities such as reinstatement, ordination,
appointment of pastors, by-pastors, missionaries, spiritual
renewals . should be carried out normally in accordance with the
law.

It is requested that the Executive Board of the SECV report to the
provincial People's Committees and instruct Representative Boards
and house churches to implement these directives.

Signed by Chief of the Government Committees on Religious Affairs
Ngo Yen Thi

CC: - The People's Committees of the Central Highlands provinces
and Binh Phuoc
- Leaders of the Government's Organization Board

END QUOTE
YAMAUCHI

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