Montagnard Christians Asked to Denounce Their Faith

01/24/2021 Vietnam (International Christian Concern) – An ethnic Montagnard in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, along with four other Christians, were recently brought by the police to denounce their faith in front of other villagers.

Rô Da, told Radio Free Asia’s Vietnamese service that on January 15, the police of Ea Lam village and Song Hinh district, Phu Yen province, brought him and four others before a gathering at Pung tribal village for a denouncement session.

About 20 people from the local authorities forced the villagers to come and witness the denunciation session against six people, though one was absent. The five men present were Messrs Nay Y Blang, Nay Y Lới, Ksor Y Blang, Hwing Y Nuk and Rô Da, who are part of the Montagnard Evangelical Church of Christ.

After the session, the men were allowed to go home but they were still threatened. Y Krek Bya, a church staff told RFA, “These five men won’t leave the church, even if they have to die, they won’t leave the church… [Authorities] told them, if you don’t leave the church, in case there will be protests, [we] will send you to jail, you may face heavy [sentences], you may be killed.”

Mr Ro Da also said, “[The authorities] said the state doesn’t accept this church. [We] are not allowed to congregate, to organize activities, to sing. They banned [all this]. In my heart, I was fearful. But I have faith in Christ, in spite of torture or beating. We still want freedom.”

The authorities accuse their church for not being sanctioned by the state, and that it opposes the state and wants to overthrow the regime, which the Christians denied. Pastor A Dao from the same church, a religious freedom advocate, was released to exile in the US in Sept 2020, after serving nearly four years in prison.