Vietnam police tell Church of God followers to renounce their faith

The religion is not officially registered in the country, which is on a US watchlist for religious persecution.
By RFA Vietnamese
2023.03.07
A ceremony of followers of the Church of God the Mother.
Ho Chi Minh City Police

The police in the central Vietnamese province of Quang Nam have ordered followers of the Church of God the Mother to stop following their religion.

According to a police statement on Monday, the police in Cam Ha Commune inspected a village house where they found six women and four men carrying out a ceremony for the illegal religion.

They seized a laptop, three computer speakers, 10 bibles, five notebooks, 14 white sheets and a podium.

In April 2018, the government’s religious affairs committee asked central and local authorities to monitor the religion, also known as the World Mission Society Church of God.

Then-committee head Vu Chien Thang called on provincial and city authorities to strengthen propaganda work and provide “guidance” to the group’s leaders.

The Church of God was established in South Korea in 1964 by Ahn Sahng-hong, who followers believe to be Christ. According to its website it has more than 3.3 million members in 175 countries.

Vietnam's Law on Belief and Religion requires religious groups to register their organizations and places of worship. Only organizations that have operated for at least five years can apply for registration. Once registered, the organizations are granted status as legal entities. Many groups refused to register out of fear of persecution or concern for their independence.

In December, the United States placed Vietnam on its Special Watch List for engaging in or tolerating severe violations of religious freedom. The designation means the U.S. does not consider violations against religious freedom widespread or severe enough to label it a Country of Particular Concern, but the State Department is closely monitoring it for possible future inclusion.

Translated by RFA Vietnamese. Edited by Mike Firn.

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