Forced Recantations of Faith Continue in Vietnam


New Christians in northwest violently compelled to return to ancestor worship.

HANOI, Vietnam, January 18 (CDN) — A Vietnamese man violently forced to recant his fledgling Christian faith faces pressure from authorities and clansmen to prove his return to traditional Hmong belief by sacrificing to ancestors next month.

Sung Cua Po, who embraced Christianity in November, received some 70 blows to his head and back after local officials in northwest Vietnam’s Dien Bien Province arrested him on Dec. 1, 2009, according to documents obtained by Compass. His wife, Hang thi Va, was also beaten. They live in Ho Co village.

Dien Bien Dong District and Na Son Commune police and soldiers led by policeman Hang A Senh took the Christian couple to the Na Son Commune People’s Committee office after police earlier incited local residents to abuse and stone them and other Christian families. After Po and his wife were beaten at 1 a.m. that night, he was fined 8 million dong (US$430) and a pig of at least 16 kilos. His cell phone and motorbike were confiscated, according to the documents.

Christians Sung A Sinh and Hang A Xa of Trung Phu village were also beaten about the head and back and fined a pig of 16 kilos each so that local authorities could eat, according to the reports. The documents stated that the reason for the mistreatment of the Christians was that they abandoned “the good and beautiful” traditional Hmong beliefs and practices to follow Protestant Christianity.

Christian sources reported that on Dec. 15 police took Po and his wife to members of their extended family, who applied severe clan pressure on him to deny their faith. When police added their own threats, Po finally signed recantation documents.

“I folded – I signed when police threatened to beat me to death if I didn’t recant,” he said. “Then they would seize my property, leaving my wife a widow, and my children fatherless – without a home.”

Following Po’s written recantation, authorities subjected him to further family and clan pressure and “fines,” as well as rites to satisfy traditional Hmong spirits said to have become upset when he offended them by becoming a Christian.

Po faces the ultimate test to prove his recantation is sincere on Feb. 13, Lunar New Year’s Eve. He remains under severe threat, the documents report, unless he voluntarily offers sacrifices to his ancestors at that time.

The documentation of the forced recantations in northwest Vietnam indicates authorities are contravening Vietnam’s 2004/2005 public religion policy.

All three men had received a summons dated Dec. 11, 2009 to appear at the Na Son Commune Peoples’ Committee office at 7:30 a.m. on Dec. 15 “to take care of business relating to following the Vang Chu religion.”  

The officials’ use of the Vang Chu religion in these documents was said to be significant. Vang Chu is a mythological Hmong savior who, it is believed, will unite and deliver the Hmong. For some time Vietnamese authorities have deliberately misnamed Protestantism as Vang Chu in order to give Christianity a threatening political character. Any real or imagined political opposition provides Vietnamese communists with a carte blanche excuse to apply repressive measures, Christian sources said.

One of the other Christians arrested, Xa, has received another summons handwritten by the chief of Trung Phu village, Hang A Po, “to solve the issue of the Vang Chu religion.” The summons ordered Xa to appear without fail at the home of village chief Po in mid-December and to bring sufficient food, including a 15-to-20 kilo pig, to feed everyone.

“Here is Vietnamese jungle justice on full display – show up at the home of an official to be tormented and bring plenty of food and liquor for your tormentors,” observed one source.

The summons purports to represent district and commune police who will be present, as well as the village chief.

“It is clear that in spite of public national policies outlawing forced recantation, to the contrary, Dien Bien government policy to force new Christian believers to recant is being vigorously implemented,” said one source.

This conclusion is consistent with other findings. In November 2009 religious liberty advocates acquired a Vietnamese language booklet entitled “Some Documents Concerning Religious Belief and Religion.” The 104-page document “For Internal Circulation” was published in November 2007 by the Dien Bien Province Department of Ethnic Minorities.

The collection of documents, including some marked “Secret,” clearly shows Dien Bien religion policies and directives relative to Protestants are different than the “new religion legislation” of 2004/2005. The Dien Bien documents reveal a secret “Guidance Committee 160” is overseeing repressive policies initiated before the new religion legislation of 2004/2005 that continue to guide officials.

“These events and findings in Dien Bien clearly show that the excuse given by our government that such events are isolated exceptions perpetrated by a few bad officials is not believable,” said one church leader. 

Report from Compass Direct News 

LIFE OF JOHN BUNYAN


John Bunyan

John Bunyan

JOHN BUNYAN, Bedfordshire’s most distinguished son, and one of our most characteristic English writers, was born at Elstow, a quiet, picturesque village lying a mile away to the south of Bedford town. His birthplace was not in the village itself, but in a lonely place in the fields, a mile to the east, where stood, till the early part of this century, the house which had been the ancestral home of his family for generations. The Court Roll of the manor preserved in the Augmentation Office, and bearing date as early as 1542, describes that part of the parish as ” Bonyon’s End,” the end or extremity of the parish where the Bunyans lived. A family name becoming thus descriptive and embodied in a legal document seems to indicate that its owners had long been dwellers in the place. This inference, natural in itself, is borne out by the fact that as far back as 1327 we find a William Bonyon and Matilda his wife making covenant with Simon, son of Robert atte Felde of Elnestowe, concerning a messuage and certain acres of land, on the very spot where, three centuries later, John Bunyan was born. Even earlier still, as early as 1199, there was a William Buniun, a probable ancestor of the William Bonyon of 1327, who was engaged in a lawsuit in the Court of King’s Bench with the Abbess of Elstow to determine the title to half a virgate of land which he held of William of Wilsamstede, and which the Abbess claimed.

This long association of the family with the same parish and the same part of the parish effectually disposes of the theory first started by Sir Walter Scott, that because John Bunyan was a tinker he was probably also of gipsy origin. For to say nothing of the fact that all tinkers are not gipsies, nor all gipsies tinkers, we happen to know that Bunyan’s father, who in his will, which is still in existence, describes himself as a “braseyer,” was the first of the family to follow the craft; and that his grandfather, in his will, describes himself as a ” Pettie Chapman,” or small village trader. If we go still farther back, we find that the Thomas Bonyon of 1542, of whom we read in the Court Roll of the manor, is there spoken of as ” a common brewer of beer,” and ” a common baker of human bread ” – human bread it may be presumed as distinguished from horse bread. In another part of the Roll he is described as a labourer, and in the Privy Council Register of 1554 as ” Bunyon, Victualler;” so that we shall be tolerably safe in thinking of him in both capacities – as cultivating his small patrimony of nine acres, and as taking a hand with his wife in attending to the shop and roadside inn, close by the bridle-path leading through the fields from Bedford to Wilstead. This Thomas Bonyon was for some cause, not mentioned, summoned before the Privy Council of Queen Mary, in the second year of her reign, while the Thomas Bonyon of a later date, John Bunyan’s own grandfather, was, at the Visitation of 1617, presented before the Archdeacon’s Court at Ampthill charged with resisting the churchwardens of Elstow, and telling them to their faces that they were ” forsworne men.” There was resolute blood in the family, therefore, long before their more distinguished descendant declared that he had determined, the Almighty God being his help and shield, yet to suffer, if frail life might continue so long, even till the moss should grow on his eyebrows, rather than violate his faith and his principles.

Continued at http://particularbaptist.com/library/bunyan_brown.html

Or at http://particularbaptist.com/library/lifeofbunyan_brown_web.pdf