Religious Freedom Debate in Vietnam


On September 15, the Department of State listed Vietnam as a “Country of Particular Concern for Religious Freedom” under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. Vietnam is now one of 8 countries worldwide to be so designated (the others being China, Eritrea, Iran, Myanmar (Burma), North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan). According to the 1998 act, CPC status is given to countries that have “engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom in that country during the preceding 12 months.”

This is the first time that Vietnam has been so designated, even though State Department officials find that the status of religious freedom has “remained fundamentally unchanged” in the past year, with improvements in some areas and weaknesses in others. To many non-governmental observers, the improvements are more notable than the weaknesses.


Vietnam as a “Country of Particular Concern”: What Effect on US-Vietnam Relations? By Andrew Wells-Dang

Foreign Religious Organizations  in Vietnam (Draft of a paper prepared by FRD Please send comments to

Praying for Hanoi:  Boston Globe, February 13, 2005

Vietnam Releases High-Profile Dissidents - Associate Press, January 31, 2005

State Department Statement on the Amnesty of Father Ly and other political prisoners in Vietnam

A Long Journey Home: A Buddhist master famous in the West is allowed a temporary return from exile - Kay Johnson, Time Asia, January 16, 2005

Buddhist monk heads home to Vietnam after 38 years in exile AFP - Jan. 12, 2005