|White paper on religion and religious policy in Vietnam
Vietnam’s ethnic minorities follow many different beliefs and religions, so the Vietnamese Party and State have always paid attention to respecting their way of life and ensuring their right to freedom of belief and religion.
Vivid reality of freedom of belief and religion
Every Sunday, Protestant followers of the Mong ethnic minority Protestants in Huoi Luong commune, Lai Chau province gather for services at Po Ngai church, one of seven churches in the commune.
Despite having to travel nearly 10 km and cross several streams, often in bad weather, Ly A Phong never misses a service at Po Ngai church.
He said: 'I’m very happy. The local administration has created conditions for the locals to practice religious activities. We have received a certificate for our religious activities. During services, we remind followers not to follow bad people and comply with the instructions of local authorities and guidelines of the Party and State.'
Ly A Di, head of the Protestant group in Po Ngai says that every Sunday more than 190 people come to Po Ngai church. He said: 'In the last few years, the communal authorities and authorities at all levels have created good conditions for religious activities. We can freely practice our activities. In addition to singing hymns, praying, reading the Bible, I also talk to followers about other things. For example, on rainy days, I advise people to avoid floods, in the dry season, I tell them how to prevent and fight fires.'
|At an exercise of Protestants in Po Ngai, Lai Chau (photo: dantoctongiao.laodong.vn)
An overview of freedom of religion in Vietnam
Protestants in Po Ngai are among the 26.5 million religious followers in Vietnam. The free religious life of the Mong people in Po Ngai is a typical to freedom of religion and belief in Vietnam. This is described in the white paper using photos and data on the religious life of Vietnamese ethnic people.
Nguyen Tien Trong, Deputy Head of the Government Committee for Religious Affairs, said. 'Promoting the spirit of open dialogue and enhancing effective bilateral and multilateral cooperation with other countries and international organizations in human rights and religion, the Vietnamese state is determined to ensure, protect and promote people's basic rights, including the right to freedom of belief and religion. We hope this white paper will give domestic and foreign readers objective and useful information, to accurately and fully perceive the consistent policy of the Vietnamese state to respect and guarantee the right to freedom of religion and belief as well as achievements and challenges in implementing these rights.'
The white paper "Religion and religious policy in Vietnam" not only helps domestic and foreign readers understand fully Vietnam’s religious policy and religious life in Vietnam, but also strongly affirms that all religions in Vietnam are equal before the law and that the State does not discriminate against any belief or religion.
It says that "No individual or religious organization is prohibited from operating in accordance with the law". People are completely free to choose to follow or not to follow a belief or religion. The State protects the beliefs and religious activities of ethnic minorities, who account for 14% of the population. The reality of the free practice of religious activities in Po Ngai, Lai Chau province, described in the white paper "Religion and religious policy in Vietnam" helps the international community better understand that reality in Vietnam.