Vietnam: Serious Suffering as Persecution Escalates


Date:  May 31, 2016

plus urgent prayer request from Iran

by Elizabeth Kendal 

Last week's RLPB 358 (24 May) requested prayer for Protestant Pastor Nguyen 
Cong Chinh (45), his wife Tran Thi Hong and their children in Gai Lai in 
Vietnam's Central Highlands. As an active evangelist and courageous religious 
liberty advocate, Pastor Chinh has long suffered persecution at the hands of 
Communist Party officials. On numerous occasions since 2003 he has been 
beaten up, had his possessions confiscated and been temporarily detained. 
Routinely his family would be made homeless, and his chapel demolished. 
Arrested on 28 April 2011, Pastor Chinh was sentenced on 31 July 2012 in the 
Gia Lai People's Court to 11 years in prison for 'undermining national 
unity'. After his arrest he spent 20 months in solitary confinement in Gia 
Lai's T20 prison. In May 2012 he was assaulted by police while praying in his 
cell. In August 2013 he was beaten savagely in An Phuoc prison when guards 
incited prisoners to attack him. He has been assaulted by guards wielding 
batons, stun guns and pepper spray. He has been prohibited from praying in 
his prison cell and denied access to a Bible. Pastor Chinh has also been 
subjected to humiliating and traumatising Cultural Revolution-style criticism 
sessions which also work to fuel prison inmate hostility against him.  

Pastor Chinh's wife, Mrs Tran Thi Hong, is also targeted for constant 
persecution for, like her husband, she too is a courageous religious liberty 
advocate. On 30 March 2016 local regime officials forcefully prevented Mrs. 
Hong from attending her scheduled meeting with a US delegation led by David 
Saperstein, Ambassador At Large on International Religious Freedom. The 
meeting only went ahead after Mrs Hong managed to inform Mr Saperstein that 
she had been ambushed, seized and escorted back home. At this point, Mr 
Saperstein intervened. Subsequently, however, on the morning of 14 April, 
officials abducted Mrs Hong from her home and took her to the office of the 
People's Committee of Hoa Lu Ward, where she was interrogated and beaten by 
plainclothes agents for three hours, leaving her with injuries to her head, 
knees, legs, hands and feet. As noted in RLPB 358 , Mrs Hong was detained and 
violently interrogated three times in May. On the third occasion (13 May), 
her distressed 18-year-old son was also violently assaulted. On 27 and 28 May 
Mrs Hong was forcefully dragged off again to the police station for 

The news of the violent persecution of Mrs Hong comes as Mrs Vu Minh Khanh, 
wife of imprisoned Protestant Christian religious liberty advocate Nguyen Van 
Dai, travels in the West to raise awareness of her husband's plight. Nguyen 
Van Dai has been detained without charge since 16 December [see RLPB 354 (27 
April)]. Dai has not been permitted to see his wife or his lawyers, leaving 
Mrs Khanh unsure where her husband is and what condition he is in. What we 
know of the persecution of Pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh and that of his wife Mrs. 
Tran Thi Hong helps us imagine the plight Nguyen Van Dai and the fate that 
awaits Mrs Vu Minh Khanh on her return to Vietnam.  

Furthermore, on 5 May Pastor Dang Ba Nham and his wife, along with church 
elder Hoang Ngoc Hung and new believer Mrs Phan Thi Thanh Huyen, gathered on 
a roadside in Vinh City, Nghe An Province (north central coast). All belong 
to the Vietnam Good News Mission Church. As Pastor Nham prayed a blessing 
over Mrs Huyen's property, a large pickup truck with red military plates 
veered across the road and drove directly into the small group. Pastor Nham 
(56), who had faced strong opposition to his evangelistic ministry, died at 
the scene. New believer Mrs Huyen, whose conversion triggered strong 
opposition from her relatives, died of her injuries the following day. Pastor 
Nham's wife and church elder Hoang Ngoc Hung have undergone complex surgeries 
for critical injuries. According to Morning Star News (MSN), both are 
fighting for their lives. Local sources also told MSN that during Pastor 
Nham's funeral, when the speaker asked, 'Who will take his place?' some 30 
young people stood in response. This was despite nobody believing this 
'accident' was an accident - Communist Party officials routinely stage 
'accidents' by which 'trouble-makers' are eliminated.  


* intervene for imprisoned Pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh, his persecuted and 
wounded wife Mrs Tran Thi Hong and their family; for Christian advocate 
Nguyen Van Dai (imprisoned without charge), his wife Mrs Vu Minh Khanh and 
their family. '... let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like 
an ever-flowing stream.' (Amos 5:24 ESV)  

* bring comfort to the Vietnam Good News Mission Church in Vinh City, as 
members grieve the loss of a pastor-evangelist and a new believer; may our 
merciful God speak healing into the bodies of church elder Hoang Ngoc Hung 
and Pastor Nham's wife as they struggle to survive horrendous injuries and 

'I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up and have not let my 
foes rejoice over me. O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you 
have healed me.' (Psalm 30:1,2 ESV)  

~ ~ ~ ~


Maryam (Naseem) Naghash Zargaran is an Iranian convert and prisoner for 
Christ who suffers from congenital heart disease [see RLPB 366 (18 Nov 
2015)]. Middle East Concern reports that Maryam recently started suffering 
pain in her ears, accompanied by severe headaches. Refused medical attention, 
Maryam commenced a hunger strike on 27 May. She is seriously ill. Her fellow 
prisoners are supporting her by forgoing family visits until Maryam receives 
proper medical care. The ascendant regime in Tehran has no need of Maryam. 
She needs divine intervention. PLEASE PRAY.  

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