Vietnam Rejects Criticism in US Report on Religious Freedom

Posted September 15th, 2011 at 1:41 am (UTC-5)
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The Vietnamese government is rejecting a recent report by the U.S. State Department accusing that country of failing to tolerate religious freedom.

In an annual report on religious freedom around the world, the State Department said while Vietnam's constitution protects religious freedom, the government regulates and in some cases restricts religious practice. It says authorities generally respect the freedom of most registered religious groups, but some unregistered and even registered religious groups are abused.

Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokesman Luong Thanh Nghi dismissed the contents of the report Thursday. He said the report is a “biased assessment” based on insufficient information.

The report also says some Christian groups reported harassment when they tried to hold Christmas services, and many Christians experienced unofficial discrimination when applying for government positions.

It says there were a few instances of societal violence based on religious affiliation, belief or practice.

The United States has regularly criticized human rights practices in Vietnam, even as it seeks to improve strategic cooperation with the Southeast Asian country.