Mennonite Church attacked again, in District 12, New Year’s Day 2015

A Mennonite Follower – In October and November 2014, the Mỹ Phước Mennonite Church property was completely smashed up by Vietnamese police and thugs. The property, located at D10 Street, Mỹ Phước 1 commune, Bến Cát district, Bình Dương – was then under the management of Pastor Trần Minh Hòa. None have been able to live there since. Now, police informers are working in the pub opposite this derelict property and keeping an eye on the Church’s activities.

The Mennonite Church in Bến Cát Bình Dương before vandalism

Police harassed and beat Mennonite participant learners on 9 June 2014 as though they were criminals

The two Mennonite Church facilities in Bình Dương were vandalized and damaged on 10 November 2014

Also in December 2010, after years of being harassed by police, two Protestant Mennonite Church facilities were destroyed to the ground. One was located at C5/1H Trần Não Street, Bình Khánh ward, District 2. The other was a prayer garden nearby. Both were run by Pastor Nguyễn Hồng Quang at that time.

The Mennonite Church graduation ceremony for 110 learners in mid-November 2010, before the facility was destroyed by the Communist Vietnamese Government

The shocking site of the Mennonite Church in District 2 Saigon, damaged in December 2010

To rebuild the Church, Pastor Quang purchased a piece of land in Thạnh Lộc, district 12 and obtained a building permit for a 4-story house. But just as the first story foundations were completed (with no brick work), the government commanded police to withdraw the building permit, and informed the power and water companies to cut off all supply. Pastor Quang then used electricity and water from a neighbour, but that house in turn had its power and water cut off also.

On 31 December 2014, police came to Pastor Quang’s house. They demanded he come to complete a temporary residence registration for residents living in his house, which he had already completed previously. Moreover, the police requested Pastor Quang to register for his own son Nguyễn Quang Huy. Afterwards, as Pastor Phú Dung, (Pastor’s Nguyễn Hồng Quang’s wife) and Huy left, Huy’s mobile phone was snatched, and Pastor Phú Dung was assaulted.

On New Year’s Day, 1 January 2015, continuing a 6 year old tradition, the Mennonite Church followers reunited at Pastor Quang’s house to pray and celebrate the New Year. But the local government had assembled many uniformed and plain-clothes police, as well as agents of local security forces to block the two ends of the street leading to Pastor Quang’s house. They prohibited all believers from coming to the house; they then arrested the believers. Believers were taken to the police ward, where they were beaten and terrorized.

Pastor Quang himself was also beaten, with his shirt torn by the police when he came to the police ward, demanding to know why his followers had been arrested and beaten.

Pastor Phan Văn Trường, who was invited to the celebration for a New Year sermon, was also asked to come to the ward, but later released. Pastor Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng, responsible for the Cow Shed Mennonite Home Church and Pastor Phạm Ngọc Thạch all came to the event; both were impeded on their way.

About ten believers had gathered and prayed in a park nearby when their New Year gathering was interrupted. Police immediately circled them and cancelled the assembly. They also arrested Pastor Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng and other followers, taking them to the police ward.

Followers and Pastor Phan Văn Trường pray in the park

While they were praying, police circled them and forced them to stop their prayers

Why did the police have to crack down on a group of ten people praying peacefully and quietly in a park? And yet, why they do not heed other groups – larger groups, who are louder and rowdier?

A Mennonite Follower

Translated by

Jasmine Tran

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