About those shoes you bought that were made in Vietnam…

Moving factories from China to a worse place: The establishment (Deep State) is threatened by the growing economic and military strength of China. Not only the Deep State, but all Americans should be concerned about the strategic interests of our nation.

But does that warrant moving factories from one nation that persecutes Christians to another nation that persecutes them even more?

Churches that register in China are for the most part left alone by the authoritarian Chinese Communist Party, but those churches that operate only by the authority of the Lord suffer. Pastors are arrested and jailed for years and buildings are destroyed. Members are blacklisted making employment difficult.

The treatment of Christians in Vietnam is even worse. While not as bad as Bangladesh, the persecution is more severe than in China for Christians.

Do Christians in prison in China make some of the goods imported into the United States? Yes. And the same is true of goods from Vietnam, which is also a communist nation.

Our State Department, in the strategic interests of our nation, points to the persecution of religious minorities in China, but often turns a blind eye for the most part toward Vietnam.

Conflicting statements are not unusual. On May 30th Secretary of State Pompeo sent out a Tweet noting that Iran sentenced gays to death. There was no mention of Saudi Arabia where gays are also sentenced to death. We sell billions of dollars of weapons to the Saudi regime.

In May the Religious Freedom Coalition participated in a conference with many other organizations to call attention to the persecution of Christians in Vietnam, particularly the Hmong and Montagnard Christians in rural areas who have refused to join the official denomination set up by the Communist Party of Vietnam.

A group of organizations including the Religious Freedom Coalition wrote a letter to President Trump in which we pointed out to him that:

“Police interrogators frequently use threats of long-term imprisonment and even death to coerce victims to sign pledges to leave their denomination and stop reporting violations to human rights organizations, foreign governments, and international bodies such as the United Nations. The interrogators frequently threaten victims with prosecution and imprisonment for “unauthorized religious activities.” The government has sentenced some 60 Montagnard Christians to long-term imprisonment primarily because of their faith while justifying their sentences under the pretext of “national security” or “national unity.”

In the letter we gave many specific examples of pastors sentenced to years in prison. Also included were details of entire villages being refused what are referred to as “household registration” because of the church affiliation. We pointed out in the letter to President Trump:

“Without registration documents, these Christians cannot get a citizenship ID card, own property, obtain legal employment, apply for a business license, open a bank account, receive public services, or even use the public library. Married couples may not obtain a marriage certificate, and their children may be denied a birth certificate. They are functionally stateless in their own country.”

By the time it was delivered to President Trump in May some 31 major organizations supporting religious freedom had endorsed the letter. I signed as president of the Religious Freedom Coalition.

William J. Murray, President

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