The event was co-chaired by Vice Chairman of the GCRA Bùi Thanh Hà and Vice Chairman of Dien Bien provincial People’s Committee Lò Văn Tiến, attended by representatives from the central Party Commission for Mass Mobilization, Ministry of Public Security and heads of provincial agencies in charge of the state management on belief and religion of provinces and cities of Vietnam North.
In the first quarter 2019, belief and religious activities took place in a lively manner, especially worshipping festivals associated with the lunar New Year celebration. Major religious activities included the youth congress of the Protestant Church in Hanoi, the ceremony for Joseph Vũ Văn Thiên formally taking office as Archbishop of Hanoi and preparations for the UN Day of Vesak 2019 to be held at Tam Chuc Pagoda, Ha Nam province.
Vice Chairman Bùi Thanh Hà speaks at the conference
In the other hand, it’s reported that worshipping activities in some Buddhist temples were not in line with Buddhist traditions, such as “dang sao dai han” (a deviant astrological remedy by contributing money to the temple in hope for lessening or nullifying impacts of past negative karma or bad luck), burning votive papers in large quantities, selling amulets, hosting necromancy events and received payments for sins in past lives, etc. emerging as pressing issues in the media. Activities taking advantage of Protestantism still remained amongst Mong communities in some northern mountainous provinces. New religious phenomena continued to be vibrant with negative impacts. The phenomenon worshiping Ku Ma Thong dolls emerged in a number of localities, causing economic damage, psychological confusion in public opinion, etc.
Director of the GCRA’s Protestantism Affairs Department Thiều Thị Hương speaks at the event
Deputy Director of Ministry of Public Security’s Homeland Security Department Nguyễn Tiến Trọng speaks at the event
Deputy Director of Nghe An provincial Department of Home Affairs Lưu Công Vinh speaks at the event
Deputy Director of Son La provincial Department of Home Affairs Cầm Thúy Vân speaks at the event
Addressing the event, Vice Chairman Bùi Thanh Hà asked provincial agencies assigned with the state governance on belief and religion to pay due attention to actively scrutinize worshipping activities, strengthen law dissemination and guide religious organizations and individuals to operate and practice accordance with laws, reform administrative procedures and speed up IT application in the state management on belief and religion.
Participants at the conference
According to the conference’s report, Northern provinces have five operative religions with a total of nearly ten million followers, equal to 40.5% of religious followers in the whole country. This is also a region of diverse faith practices, including polytheistic beliefs of ethnic minorities in the Northeast and Northwest and various types of beliefs of Kinh people in the Northern midland and delta provinces, with about 30,000 worshipping facilities.