Vietnamese pastor severely beaten
HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — Nguyen Hong Quang, leader of the unregistered Vietnam Evangelical Mennonite Church, was severely beaten on his way to evening worship Jan. 18.
A few minutes after leaving his home with another pastor, Huynh Thuc Khai, each on his own motorcycle, they were accosted by two men who knocked Khai from his motorcycle.
Quang, who was following, stopped to assist the younger pastor. The two assailants signaled five other men, who assaulted Quang with clubs and bricks.
Quang recognized two of these men, who often lounged by the house adjacent to his home.
Passersby tried to stop the attack but were threatened by the assailants. They fled after Quang lost consciousness.
A couple who are members of the church happened along and took Quang to the nearest hospital. Family members later had him transferred to Saigon Hoan My International Hospital.
On Jan. 19 doctors reported Quang suffered a fractured nose and serious internal injuries. Khai’s injuries were minor.
Quang was sentenced to prison in 2004 but granted amnesty the following year. In late 2010 he was beaten when evicted from his home as part of an urban renewal project.
Quang then moved to Ben Cat, a town north of Ho Chi Minh City where the church had earlier established a worship and training center. Here he coordinated the church’s leadership education program.
Beginning in September, authorities tried to close the unauthorized training program and harassed people who came to the church center. Plainclothed attackers repeatedly threw stones and garbage at the building, and security police did nothing to stop them. Eventually the building was broken into and trashed, and members were forbidden to come.
Church leaders in December decided to temporarily end all activities at this center, and Quang and his family moved into the home of a son.
The other Mennonite body in Vietnam, Vietnam Mennonite Church, has legal status and an officially authorized theological training program. Twelve students recently graduated from the first five-year bachelor of theology program.
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