Contrasting freedoms for Vietnam’s Christians

Contrasting freedoms for Vietnam’s Christians
The growth of Christianity in Vietnam has been charted by World Magazine, which says religious freedoms enjoyed by those living in cities are in stark contrast to the country’s rural areas. Catholicism has a centuries-old history in Vietnam, but Protestant churches only sprang up last century, the Christian publication notes, . . . Read More

Tajikistan’s new Religion Law ‘represents total control’

Tajikistan’s new Religion Law ‘represents total control’
Amendments to Tajikistan’s Religion Law, which came into force in January, have given the state a “total control” over religious freedoms, reports regional news agency Forum 18. “Instead of improving the Law, the amendments worsened it and made it more restrictive. The Law represents total control and is unjust,” human . . . Read More

US agency accuses Russia of abusing anti-extremism laws

US agency accuses Russia of abusing anti-extremism laws
Russia’s anti-extremism laws are being used to crack down on peaceful religious minorities such as Protestants, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Hare Krishnas, the top US religious-freedom watchdog says. A report commissioned by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) found that “vague and problematic definitions of ‘extremism’ in Russian law . . . Read More

Kazakhstan: Hundreds punished for practising faith in 2017

Kazakhstan: Hundreds punished for practising faith in 2017
Kazakhstan prosecuted 283 individuals, groups and organisations last year for conducting activities related to religion, according to news agency Forum 18. The ‘offences’ included attending worship meetings, importing religious literature, telling other people about a faith, praying, allowing a parent to bring a child to a religious meeting, and inadequate . . . Read More

Chinese bishop reshuffle reinforces fears of state meddling

St Joseph's Church in Beijing.
Fears are growing that China’s communist government may be gaining more control over the Catholic Church there, as news emerged that the Vatican asked two bishops it had appointed to step aside in favour of ones selected by Beijing. These developments have taken place following a state campaign against China’s . . . Read More

Evangelical churches in Turkmenistan want official registration

Evangelical churches in Turkmenistan want official registration
Six Evangelical churches in Turkmenistan have submitted a letter to President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, asking to be allowed to register as official religious communities. Following the adoption of a new Law on Religious Organisations and Religious Freedom in March 2016, all religious entities are required to re-register in order to operate . . . Read More

Vietnam: Church told to take down Christmas nativity scene

St Joseph's Cathedral in Vietnam's capital Hanoi also faced challenges over ownership of the land next to the church which led to protests in 2008. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
One of the highlights at this time of year for the citizens of Communist Vietnam is to go to see often highly elaborate temporary ‘constructions’ showing the Nativity scene of Christ’s birth which local Christians build onto their churches or homes. There are, for instance, whole streets of such scenes . . . Read More