During the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnamese people, regardless of their religion or beliefs, have stayed united in implementing the Prime Minister’s directive on disease prevention by suspending all religious gatherings. Tens of millions of religious followers nationwide have join the fight against the disease. Buddhist, Catholic, Protestant, Cao Dai, and other religious organizations and followers have donated millions of dollars and essential goods to make the fight against COVID-19 a success.
Religions develop on the basis of equality and freedom
The US Report on International Religious Freedom’s accusations of religion suppression in Vietnam are wrong and have provoked anger here. Vietnam is a multi-religion country where all religions are equal. All religions are practiced freely and equally in line with the Constitution of Vietnam. Venerable Thich Bao Nghiem, Vice Chairman of the Executive Council of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha, said: “All religions in Vietnam are practiced in harmony with the community. During the epidemic they responded to calls by the Party and the government for disease prevention and to calls for economic recovery in the post-epidemic period. The religions live in harmony with each other and with the community. There is neither suppression of religion nor any problem of religious freedom in Vietnam. Religion and belief are protected under the law”.
There are more than 10,000 religious festivals of different religions nationwide. Festivals like the Hung Temple festival, Christmas, Buddha’s birthday, Chol Chnam Thmay, Kate, and many others attract not only religious followers but also laymen. The diversity and large scale of the festivals testify to the freedom of religion and belief in Vietnam.
Freedom of religion and belief is ensured
Vietnamese people’s right to freedom of religion and belief is stated in all Vietnamese Constitutions, including the 2013 Constitution. This right is again stipulated in the 2016 Law on Religion and Belief. These legal documents stipulate clearly that all citizens have the right to express their religious belief and practice religious rituals. Tran Thi Dung, deputy head of the Law Committee of the National Assembly, said: “National Assembly agencies and deputies have closely overseen the practice of religions in Vietnam and no legal violation has been reported. In many localities, religious organizations have registered their religious activities with the help and guidance of the local administration.”
National Assembly deputy Le Thanh Van says that during the last two tenures he has not received any complaints concerning religion suppression or freedom of religion and belief. “We should not impose our view of religious issues on other countries. In Vietnam, the right to freedom of religion and belief is protected in the Constitution and laws. Everyone agrees that the law protects Vietnamese people’s right to practice religion. Nobody complains about it or violates the regulations of the charters that Vietnam has signed,” said Van.
Religious dignitaries and followers have always supported national construction and defense. Religious teachings have promoted morality, compassion, mutual support within the community and harmony between religion and secular life. Disseminating misinformation about suppression of religion in Vietnam is an attempt to divide Vietnam’s great national unity and intervene in Vietnam’s internal affairs. It runs counter to the trend of solidarity and cooperation between nations.