Vietnamese Mennonite leader Nguyen Hong Quang and 20 church leaders and Bible college students were severely beaten by a mob, reportedly for two hours in My Phuoc, Binh Duong province, Vietnam.
Several hundred attackers surrounded the building in which they were holding a religious retreat. Reportedly, attackers included hired thugs, Communist Party officials and police.
Vietnam officially tolerates Christianity, but only recognizes officially sanctioned churches – which are highly regulated and prevented from engaging in evangelism or outreach to children. Quang has refused to submit his congregations to such government regulations.
“Pastors and Bible college students were brutally attacked by a large mob who stormed the building they were meeting,” reported Release International, a Christian advocacy group. Quang had been “holding a pastors’ retreat and summer school for ethnic minority Christians” when “several hundred people, including police, other officials and ‘hired hands’ broke down the gate. The building was pelted with rocks and its gate and doors were torn off.”
Rampaging into the building, the mob ransacked the interior and beat 20 pastors and students. ”Pastor Quang suffered injuries to his head and chest and was left with broken teeth,” reported Release International. “The injured were reportedly barred from seeking medical help.”
Quang is also a human rights lawyer. He and and five other leaders became known as the ‘Mennonite Six’ when they were imprisoned for “resisting officers of the law” in 2004. In 2010, officials bulldozed his home and a Bible college he ran in Ho Chi Minh City, beating him unconscious.
Quang serves as general secretary and vice-president of the Mennonite Church in Vietnam and is chairman of the Legal Committee of the Vietnam Evangelical Fellowship.
He is known for his human rights defense of Vietnamese minorities.
Before his arrest in 2004, he sent a message to a friend alluding to his concerns, "The Church is now on stormy seas but the boat still goes out. The Lord enables us to row together. Be at peace. I ask you and the Church to pray for us.”
Publication date: June 19, 2014