Rev. Nguyen Hong Quang Arrested Again in Saigon, Vietnam – NEW UPDATE

Rev. Nguyen Hong Quang – Saigon, Vietnam, 2005

Five years ago I taught in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) a series of seminars about a Christian perspective on communism and post-communism. During the last evening, two men entered the room where we had to hide from the communist authorities for discussing this delicate topc. After a while they started commenting in Vietnamese in a small voice. During the break I have asked my guest who were they and what were they saying.

I was told they were Pastor Truong, who had been condemned to a few years of emprisonment in a psychiatric prison, and Pastor Quang, a famous Mennonite defender of the rights of Christians, who, like the other leader, had just been freed from prison. What they were saying to their colleagues was something like: ‘Listen to this man. he has been where we are now and knows what he is talking about. This is what we were trying to tell you and you were not listening’.

It is hard to describe how moved I was for the privilege of meeting these two servants of God who had paid a high price for their unwaivering faith in Christ.

I am sad today to hear that Pastor Quang is again in prison and that his Bible School and his home have been destroyed by the communist authorities in Vietnam.

Please pray for our persecuted sisters and brothers in Vietnam.

* * *

Here are details about this new act of persecution. This is the true face of Vietnamense ‘communist democracy’.

An estimated 500 soldiers and police here cordoned off the church headquarters and home of the Rev. Nguyen Hong Quang on Tuesday (Dec. 14), and then heavy equipment operators quickly demolished the two-story building, sources said.

Mennonite Pastor Quang and his followers did not interfere with the demolition, the local sources said, but an altercation occurred away from the scene in which authorities knocked him unconscious after he objected to the arrest of some 20 Bible school students. Though police tried hard to confiscate cameras and cell phones, the demolition and the church’s version of events made it onto videos available online.

The demolition was the culmination an expropriation battle over the property. The area of the city where the Mennonite center was located, Thu Thiem in District 2, has been zoned for urban development, and the government has been expropriating land for this purpose. Those who had built before 1992 got a set price per meter, and those like Pastor Quang who built after the government purportedly announced development plans were offered only half that amount.

Pastor Quang, who has legal training, appealed and helped a number of neighbors to do so as well.

Victims of the Mennonite church expropriation said the government was using legal means as a pretext for suppressing their church. Read on…

* * *


I have just found from a trusted source that Pastor Quang is free. He is however so battered that many of his friends are advising him to immigrate, which he refuses to do. Let us continue to pray for this great man of faith. He reminds me of Pavel Nicolescu, the most fierce Christian opponent to the former communist regime in Romania.

* * *


Christians facing severe opposition

3 Feb 2011

In Vietnam, one of the most tightly controlled nations in the world, Christians face severe opposition for their faith and witness. Staff from The Voice of the Martyrs and 100 Huntley Street, a Christian television program, recently travelled to Vietnam to meet with suffering believers. Some have family members who are imprisoned for serving Christ. Others are underground church members who live with the constant threat of arrest and imprisonment.

Among the believers visited was Pastor Quang, a prominent church leader and lawyer in Ho Chi Minh City. Pastor Quang has been imprisoned, slandered in newspapers and followed by police in recent years. In December 2010, authorities demolished a building that was both his home and the headquarters of the Vietnam Mennonite Church (for more information, click here).

Pastor Quang continues to face intense pressure from authorities, and members of his congregation are routinely interrogated. He is confident in Christ, however, and he and his church are determined to continue proclaiming their faith in the Lord. “Once we serve God surely we must go the way of the cross, so I will not quarrel against the Lord for what has happened,” Pastor Quang said. “[And] once the government tries to use violence it means they are defeated already.”

Pray imprisoned Vietnamese believers will be released. Ask God to enable them to share his grace and truth with others, even in prison. Pray God’s comfort and provision for their families. Pray all those facing trials for their faith in Vietnam will draw near to God, trusting that He will guard the feet of his faithful servants (1 Samuel 2:2).

(Source: VOM, 100 Huntley Street)
February 03, 2011

Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

7 thoughts on “Rev. Nguyen Hong Quang Arrested Again in Saigon, Vietnam – NEW UPDATE”

  1. My friend,
    I have not taken your criticism personally, and, if I did what you criticise here, the criticism would be well deserved. In fact, I have criticised myself that type of unconsiderate approach.
    I have been in Vietnam twice. The first time I did this seminar for half a day. The second year, I came at their invitation (which should tell you something about their reaction to what I taught there) and the seminar lasted for three full days, with translation. In fact, I think I still have the Vietnamese translatin of my text.
    As to the reasons of my engagement there, here they are, in summary (they start from the premise that freedom is not very far and that they have to prepare for it):
    1. I wanted to help Vietnamese Christians to avoid the mistakes we have made in Eastern Europe at the fall of communism;
    2. I wanted to help them, as much as possible, to prepare for the coming freedom, by acquiring the right kind of mentality, that will allow them to engage fully in a democratic society;
    3. helping them to understand communism, so that they can better engage with the communist regime was only a secondary purpose (as to the understanding of communism in its Vietnamese version, I do not pretend to be an expert at that, and I think the best analysis could be done by Vietnamese themselves).
    As to the position of Rev. Nguyen Hong Quang and its consequences, I have gone through similar situations in Romania and I would not be so quick to judge. I guess Moses in Egypt has got the same kind of criticism, even if God sent him. So, I would suggest, let us let God deal with the big picture.
    When I was in Vietnam, meeting with both the registered and the unregistered church leaders, I told them that, even if temperamentally I would naturally side with the unregistered, practically, compromise being set aside, I think the registered church is more prepared to function in democracy, because she learned to engage with society (with some huge mistakes, I admit, but stll…), while the unregistered, adopting a ‘Christ against culture’ theological stance, deprived herself of the tools and the mindset necessary for engaging the ‘powers that be’, as they say in English. I understand, talking to people who know very well what is happening there, that things are changing for the better from this point of view and I am glad. I am not pretending that it is the result of my work. After all, I met less than 100 people in total, but that is exactly what I expected to happen.
    One other important purpose for me what to motivate Christian leaders to invest in children and youth, because they will be much more able to function in a democratic society. I was shocked to see how protective they are to the youth and I told them that they have to start building in them values and principles that will help them protect themselves, because when freedom comes they will be exposed not only tyo the good, but also to the bad it brings and nobody, except the youth themselves could protect them from that.
    I totally agree with your last points, that are well taken. It is a real pleasure to engage with you and I hope we will have some day the chance to meet face to face, hopefully in a democratic Vietnam.


  2. Thanks for the reply. I’ve had a quick browse through your various posts on communism and I can agree with most of what you’ve said. However, I haven’t seen any post that addresses the Vietnamese context. You advises me to ask the Vietnamese how you’ve taken their differences into consideration. Well, I don’t know any of those Vietnamese lol.

    I assume the chief motivation behind your “Christian perspective on communism” seminars was to help the Vietnamese Christians to engage/cope with the Vietnamese communist authority. For the Viet christians to do this, they’d need to be well informed and have a good understanding of communism in Vietnam. Hence, you taught them a series of seminars on the christian perspective on communism. This is my assumption in regards to your seminars, please correct me if I’m wrong. I’m writing my replies with this assumption. By the way, my criticism is not directly against you, as I don’t know the content of your seminars. My criticism is against many so-called western/Korean “experts” (I’ve met many of them personally) who don’t even bother to take into consideration or learning about the social-histroical context of Vietnam. When these “experts” advise the Viet christians, I find they do more harm than good (considering you have a background in a former-communist country, I don’t think you belong to this “experts” catergory)

    How have they done more harm than good? well lets take the idea of social-historical context. As you know in Biblical interpretation, we need to take into consideration the social-historical context of a passage before we can exegete it. Same thing here, before we can understand communism in Vietnam, we need to understand their social-historical context. It’s easy to understand that Marxism adheres to an atheistic worldview or that Marxism is incompatible with religious beliefs. Although true, these basic ideas alone are not enough to understand communism in Vietnam. Just like the basic idea that “we’ve all sinned and the death and resurrection of Christ is a means for our salvation” alone is not enough to understand the depth of various biblical passages. Without addressing the social-historical context of Viet communism, we can’t fully understand them. And obviously, the communists don’t understand Christianity. So when we have two groups who are in opposition, and both misunderstand each other, then we’ve got a recipe for disaster. It seems to me that this is one of the reason why Rev. Nguyen Hong Quang is going through his ordeal, and I think he is doing more harm to Christianity in Vietnam than good, but I could be mistaken and this belongs to a different discussion altogether.

    By the way, here are some examples of the social-historical contexts that many western activists/experts fails to address (this is from my personal experience only, I’m not referring to you):
    – Religious groups in Vietnam (whether they are Christians, Buddhists or various sects like the Cao dai, etc.) have traditionally been prone to militancy. i.e. they organize themselves to take up arms, usually to protect their own community or interest but often become powerful enough to have the capacity to challenge various political factions.
    – When France colonized Vietnam, the Catholic church did not do anything substantial to show their opposition to colonalism/imperialism. In fact, the Vatican took advantage of France’s colonization of Vietnam to further spread their faith.
    – Although the World council of Churches officially declared their neutrality during the Vietnam war, many prominent Christian leaders in the U.S. openly supported the U.S. involvement and ask for the demise of the Viet communists.

    These few examples are just the tip of the iceberg. The Vietnamese context shaped the development of communism in Vietnam and most certainly has shaped the communist’s perspective on Christianity. We can’t help the Vietnamese to develop a strategy to engage/deal with the communists if we don’t even fully understand them. Sorry for the long rant, this is a criticism against Christian teacher/speakers that I’ve personally met, rather than you.


  3. My friend,
    You may find the text on my blog with a simple search. As to the extent to which I have taken in consideration the differences, you should probably ask the Vietnamese themselves. For your peace of mind, every communist system is different and at the same time similar. That is why we call them all communist, isn’t it.
    Anyway, it is better to talk after you read, otherwise we are wasting our time,


  4. So what is this “Christian perspective on communism and post-communism” exactly? do you have an essay or paper that I can read?

    I hope you didn’t take a European perspective and preached it to the Vietnamese. Communism in Europe and Communism in Vietnam has different context.


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