When the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989, that event visibly marked the collapse of a Communist ideology that had oppressed, tortured and killed millions for decades. But now, 20 years later, Communist authorities are once again taking aim at an old target — the Christian Church. Samuel Gregg looks at the alarming persecution of Roman Catholics in Vietnam in his commentary, “Corruption, Communism, and Catholicism in Vietnam.”

Gregg articulates the horrifying reasons for the continued persecution that Catholics in Vietnam are subject to:

Some of the reasons for this treatment of Vietnam’s Catholic Church are historical. Vietnam’s rulers are acutely aware that Catholics were among the most committed anti-Communist Vietnamese during the Vietnam War. Many Vietnamese also identified Catholicism with French colonial rule.

This background, however, is of marginal significance in explaining the violent crackdown presently being experienced by Catholics throughout Vietnam. Put simply, it’s about government corruption.

Catholic clergy and lay Catholics are not the only target, but the property of the Catholic Church is also emerging as another target for the government:

In late 2008, for example, Vinh Long provincial officials announced their intention to “appropriate” the land of a convent of nuns which also functioned as an orphanage in order to build a hotel. More recently, land in Hanoi that the government itself acknowledges has been owned by a Catholic monastery since 1928 was simply given over by the state for residential construction.

In an era where religious tolerance is becoming more widely accepted it is disheartening to see corrupt governments still persecuting the faithful.

  • Edwin Tran

    Louie Glinzak,

    The war with American was the war against Vietnamese Buddihsm caused 3 million poeple death, 5% of the Vietnamese population will be affected by the OA used and if not doing anything about it, the million deformed victims of the Orange Agent, the million ton of unexploded shells are need to be disarmed, the million of spuare miles of land are still affected by all sort of chemicals.
    You are superior extreme [deleted] has not done any of those, and so what [deleted] do you care… and you are talking load of [deleted]…
    Vietnamese Communist done more for the country than any ever, til such time is right we Vietanmese decide when democracy is most viable… Today Vietnam is fine with its history!

  • TRAN TIEN

    Louie Glinzak,

    I was not quite sure what you were your intentions on the article. Were you suggestion that the Vietnamese killing of millions during the Communist rules? You are so wrong and I think you should take this article of your website. You are misleading the good people. Let me remind you the Vietnamese Communist and their intentions were and are still today:
    1.They united the Vietnamese divided the French Imperils.
    2.They were the first to liberate from French and slaves Imperils in Asia and copied throughout the world.
    3.They were the first to tell the world ‘powers are within your own people and anything is possible’
    4.They were the first army saved and fed the Cambodian and clothed them. Where were the US, EU and others?
    5.The price of being independent cost the Vietnamese 3 million lives.
    6.The price continued filling up;
    a. Millions of ton of bombs showers every child and adult in Vietnam; it was estimated 3 times of all the bombs used during WWI and WWII dropped in Vietnam.
    b. Millions of litre of the chemical ORANGE AGENT dropped over Vietnam caused thousands of much deformed children in Vietnam today.
    c. Further to this catastrophic and was estimated 5% of the Vietnamese population will be affected with a wide range of diseases by the OA chemical.
    7.There are still million of unexploded bombs need to be disarmed…
    8.The war with the American was not just a war against Communist, but it was a war re-establishing of the Catholic empire in Asia. The documentary programs show that the Pope asked the American to intervene so that South Vietnam can be the first largest Catholics population in Asia. The first president of South Vietnam introduced policies against those still practicing Buddhism http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjpAh4rqTv4 (see video). What do you called this? Religious freedom under the Catholics rules in South Vietnam?
    9.What was this the Pope doing here? Insulting the 85 million Vietnamese? Blessing the flag that caused the death of millions of VIETNAMESE. See website: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDNhMR4QoS4.
    10.I have the feeling you never leave Vietnam along are you?

  • TRAN
  • Barbarossa

    Perhaps you two should ask your countrymen Le Thi Cong Nhan and Nguyen Van Dai what they think about the current Vietnamese government’s policies. Their treatment today is far more relevant than what happened almost 40 years ago.

  • NGUYEN THI HOAN

    wowowo… I did not know this!
    Really, the Southern Vietnamese Army was fight for the Christian? Is That correct?
    The real traitors were really the Southern Army!

  • TRAN TIEN

    Barbarossa,

    40 years ago the French has us slaves for them, killing million of our countrymen for being right to ouselves and independent. You definately must have been living in the cage!

  • TRAN TIEN

    Le Thi Cong Nhan and Nguyen Van Dai like million other Political Refugees would like the opportunity to live in the US and EU without going through the process of immigration procedures.
    Can you see the eye and facial of Ms Le Thi Cong Nhan; she is evil, she greedy, she is vengence, she is hatred and is needed helps!
    Nguyen Van Dai; he has a facial of disloyalty, he is determination greedy and lack of education.
    Both are Catholics… What do you expect!

  • EDWIN TRAN

    PEOPLE LIKE LE THI CONG NHAN and NGUYEN VAN DAI LAUGHED SO LOUD AT YOU GUYS SO BEING SUCH THE EASY TARGETS.

  • TRAN TIEN
  • TRAN TIEN

    Was Vietnam the most corrupted country in the world, or the Western Banking systems were the real corruption mechanism of the world today as we know as the BOOM and BUSRT cycles? Boom and Burst caused by Bankers, Financiers, Bosses, and Directors due demand of large bonuses, extreme high wages, good investment returns even at the time when certain families the West could not afford 7 potatoes per week. These were those described as pigs the book of ‘ANIMALS FARM’ who specialise in the art of knowhow of harvesting the potatoes, before the harvest season and no anyone know where the potatoes have disappeared the end.
    The Marx theoretical stated that no business should end at anytime indefinite as long there was still a demand, unless sabotage forces were behind the cause. It is also like the Newton law of motion; A body moves forward unless a force acts on it, or otherwise. These were the forces of corruption and they are: Bankers, Financiers, Directors, Bosses, and demand of high Investment returns.
    In Vietnam corruptions were obvious, but NOT in scale that can results neither cause the whole national, or the world to collapse. The real world economy of today lied depends upon the Western world banking systems and they were the real corruption mechanism to shortage the business cycle.
    Examples of the headlines:
    No long ago, where the traditional G7 meeting took place and this time was in Italy, and ones jokingly acted the Italian President and said to the victim of the earthquake in the area ‘ohhhh, no worry, smiles and just imagine you have just been out from a disaster’s movie 2010’. Really, G7 has nothing to offer even to neither the victims nor any money to repair those old building of the earthquake in Italy.
    The G50 made a bit more sense because London knew that there was any more cash on the G7, but there is money to be found on the third world and developing countries like China, Brazil, India and others from (50 – 7) nations. They were also talking about the stimulus packages and everyone do the same either saving or other sources. G7 turns on the tax payers, but the rest of the G50-7 full out from national reserve and saving.
    The scale of corruption in Vietnam is nowhere near anywhere in the West. Is this book to be printed for a reason? Or a way diverse the problem and assumed that no one know anything about the corruption in the West?

    TRAN TIEN

  • EDWIN TRAN

    Brown pledges bonus clampdown
    By Lionel Barber and Philip Stephens

    Published: August 31 2009 23:35 | Last updated: August 31 2009 23:35

    Gordon Brown has pledged tough action to clamp down on excessive remuneration for bankers as part of an international effort to rectify the systemic weakness that led to the global financial crisis.

    The prime minister said in an interview with the Financial Times that pay and bonuses should be based on long-term success not short-term speculative gains; banks should “claw back” bankers’ rewards if their performance suffered in subsequent years; and regulators should be able to impose higher capital requirements on financial institutions.

    EDITOR’S CHOICE
    Lex: Bankers’ bonuses – Sep-01Three-part prescription to take to G20 – Aug-31Hard choices loom but ‘cuts’ not in lexicon – Aug-31Transcript: Gordon Brown interview – Aug-31Berlin bids to halt ‘too big to fail’ banking – Aug-31Philip Stephens: Cut the banks (and bonuses) down to size – Aug-31“We have to move faster,” Mr Brown said.

    However, he declined to endorse comments by Lord Turner, chairman of the Financial Services Authority, that the sector was “bloated” and needed to be cut down to size.

    While it was now clear that the banking sector had “overheated”, it was vital to safeguard the status of the City of London as an international financial centre.

    Speaking in Downing Street after a lightning weekend visit to Afghanistan, where British troops are suffering casualties while combating an increasingly violent insurgency by the Taliban, the prime minister brushed off allegations that the government had caved in to Libyan government demands to free the convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi in return for oil contracts.

    He revealed that he had personally told Colonel Muammer Gadaffi at a meeting in L’Aquila, Italy this summer that the prisoner’s release was at the discretion of the Scottish executive, not the UK government.

    Brown interview
    A full transcript of Lionel Barber’s and Philip Stephens’ interview with Gordon Brown

    In the hour-long interview, Mr Brown tempered his call for a crackdown on bankers’ remuneration with a warning that the UK could not be expected to take action unilaterally.

    He was unenthusiastic about French-led pressure for a mandatory cap on bankers’ bonuses, warning it would be difficult to enforce even though it was part of a “legitimate debate”.

    Turning to the global economy, Mr Brown stressed that it was too early to abandon the fiscal and monetary stimulus adopted in the US, UK, Europe and other industrialised countries.

    Mr Brown said he hoped G20 leaders meeting in Pittsburgh this month would agree a “global compact for growth” that would include co-ordinated steps to withdraw stimulus packages and government support for banks; a deal on “trigger points” where countries would be expected to act to address global imbalances such as excessive current account deficits and surpluses; and an agreement on climate change.

    He was fiercely critical of the Conservative party for failing to support the “tough measures” adopted to tackle the financial crisis.

    Other European leaders have also called for steps to be taken at the G20 summit to prevent excessive risk-taking by large banks.

    Following a meeting with Nicolas Sarkozy, France’s president, in Berlin on Monday, Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, said: “No bank should be allowed to become so big that it can blackmail governments.”
    Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2009. You may share using our article tools. Please don’t cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.

    Print articleEmail article

    Order reprints