SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM
Independence - Freedom - Happiness
Hanoi, February 4th, 2005
INSTRUCTION OF THE PRIME MINISTER
On some tasks regarding Protestantism
In implementation of the guidelines and policies of the Party and State regarding Protestantism, over the past time the concerned Ministries, services and localities have exerted many efforts and achieved important results. Purely religious activities of Protestant dignitaries and followers have been ensured, creating a positive atmosphere among believers and consolidating their confidence in the Party's and State's leadership. Protestant followers have enthusiastically participated in movements for economic, cultural and social development and actively contributed to national construction.
In order to continue implementing satisfactorily the Party's and State's policies on belief and religion in general and Protestantism in particular, the Prime Minister requires that concerned Ministries, services, and People's Committee of provinces and cities under central authority closely coordinate with the Vietnam Fatherland Front and other people's organizations in strictly and effectively carrying out the following tasks:
1. To thoroughly disseminate and fully implement the Party's guidelines and State's legislation concerning belief and religion, and policies on Protestantism; while properly carrying out economic, cultural and social development programs for the improvement of the people's material and spiritual living conditions; and creating favorable conditions for Protestant followers to stay attached to their local communities, become more and more fruitfully involved in economic, cultural and social activities, and contribute actively to national construction and defense.
2. To enhance information-motivation work and create favorable conditions for Protestant dignitaries and followers to implement properly the Party's policies and State's legislation on belief and religion so as to normalize their religious practice in conformity with the law; motivate all Protestant dignitaries and followers to live in “a decent life in both secular and religious terms”, “in the service of God, the homeland and the nation”. To guarantee every citizen's right to freedom of belief and non-belief, to follow or not to follow a religion; to strictly prohibit acts designed to coerce people to follow or renounce a religion. To combat resolutely designs and maneuvers of hostile elements to abuse religion and the Protestant signboard to incite and lure people, sow division among the nation, and conduct activities against the country.
3. To guide the Vietnam General Protestant Church (Northern region) and the Vietnam Federal Protestant Church (Southern region) to conduct their religious activities in line with their respective Charters and Statutes, and stipulations by the law.
4. For Protestant followers in the Central Highlands, southern Truong Son region and central provinces:
To continue considering and recognizing eligible Chapters of the Vietnam Federal Protestant Church (Southern region) and create favorable conditions for them to build places of worship and train and assign dignitaries who will give religious guidance to those Chapters that have been recognized in compliance with stipulations by the law.
For places not meeting sufficient conditions for the establishment and recognition of chapter, if local followers have a need for purely religious practice, and commit to observe stipulations by the law and not to act for FULRO, or to be involved with Dega Protestantism (which is actually an organization of the FULRO reactionaries), the communal or ward authorities shall create conditions for them to conduct normal religious practice at home, or permit them to register for religious practice at a suitable place in the hamlets or village.
5. For people coming from Northern mountain areas who have just adopted Protestantism, proper policies shall be devised on the bases of their belief-related needs, along the following lines:
Protestant followers who have practiced Protestantism for some time and have genuine belief-related needs should be, for the time being, guided to practice their religion at home, or register for religious practice at a suitable place in the hamlet or village. When sufficient conditions are met, they shall be facilitated to practice their religion normally in accordance with stipulations by the law.
People who have adopted Protestantism but are now wishing to reconvert to the nation's traditional belief, conditions should be created to help them realize their wish.
6. To notify publicly the people of those who, in the guise of Protestant dignitaries, carry out activities against the country and sow division among the nation, their violations of the law, as well as our State's punishments and clemency policies. To punish severely those conducting unlawful missionary activities.
7. Protestant organizations and sects which have not met sufficient conditions as stipulated by the law to have their legal person status recognized shall be helped to register for religious practice with the communal or ward authorities, if a genuine belief-related need is seen. To gradually consider and recognize the legal person status of Protestant sects which had come into being prior to 1975 and are carrying out purely religious activities. Those meeting sufficient conditions as stipulated by the law shall be permitted to convene a General Council for the legal person status recognition.
8. According to current stipulations by the law, local People's Committees should facilitate requests for construction of places of worship, ordainment of dignitaries, holding of upgrading courses from recognized Protestant sects.
9. Ministers, heads of ministerial-level agencies and government offices, and chairman of People's Committees of provinces and cities under central authority shall be responsible for the broad dissemination and strict implementation of this Instruction.
The Government Committee for Religious Affairs shall be responsible for monitoring, guiding and overseeing the implementation of the Instruction and submitting regular reports to the Prime Minister./.
Phan Van Khai