Vietnamese Christian rights activist Nguyen Van Oai was arrested last month for “resisting officials on duty” and violating his probation.

Police arrested Van Oai on 19 January and accused him of breaking his probation terms when he left his locality for a fishing trip, according to the website of the Vietnam Reform Party, Viet Tan.

Van Oai was serving a four-year term of probation after his early release from prison in 2015. He was sentenced two years earlier to four years in prison for “attempting to overthrow the government”, following his arrest in 2011 as part of a crackdown on activists with ties to religious organisations.

Meanwhile, a new religion law, due to come into force in January 2018, has been given a cautious welcome by a spokesperson for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in Vietnam. Bishop Kham, the Secretary General, said the law has “both positive and negative aspects”.

Details of the newly ratified law, described in December as “deeply flawed” despite reassurances from the communist government that it will help with their administration of religious affairs, have not yet been made public.