VietNamNet Bridge – The Ha Noi Christian Fellowship (HCF) has been allegedly organising illegal activities and fabricating stories about the administration's oppression of Protestants.
On November 30, Nguyen Thi Anh Tuyet of the HCF signed a contract with the National Convention Centre (NCC) to organise an event titled "A year-end gathering for those who used to live and work in Russia".
However, the programme that Tuyet sent to the NCC later on December 15 was titled "A year-end gathering to enjoy Christmas and welcome the New Year" – an agenda not in agreement with the contract signed with the NCC.
Declining to accept these changes, the NCC on December 16 announced it was cancelling the event and suggested the HCF hold their celebration at the Culture and Sports Centre in Tu Liem District.
In response to the move, one of the three HCF leaders, Pastor Pham Tuan Nhuong, who was in charge of organising the event, arranged a protest of Protestant followers outside the NCC on December 19.
When the protesters started to disrupt local traffic, the HCF leaders were asked to abide by the law and the crowd was asked to disperse.
Refusing to comply, Nhuong continued to incite the crowd, forcing responsible agencies to break up the crowd and arresting nine people, including two leaders, in the process.
A video of the incident was subsequently posted on the internet featuring the day's events, titled "Ha Noi police oppression over Protestants," on websites such as dongchuacuuthe, nuvuongcongly and vietcatholic.
The Vietnamese Party and State have always respected citizens' rights to religious freedom while creating conditions for all religions to operate in the country.
Illegal religious activities intentionally taken by religious organisations without legal status like the HCF are violations of law and need to be handled as such, the competent authorities say.
VietNamNet/Viet Nam News