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Catholic World News News Feature

Vietnam continues repression of religion February 02, 2004

Despite an occasional "goodwill gesture," the government of Vietnam continues to repress religious activity, the Forum 18 news service reports. And according to a Forum 18 analysis, concerted international pressure will be required to change the Vietnamese government's policies.

Writing for Forum 18, analyst Magda Hornemann argues that although the Vietnamese government is pursuing foreign trade, economic exchanges alone will not change the regime's attitude toward religious activity. And Hornemann dismisses fears that criticism from outside parties will cause a backlash in Vietnam, saying instead that diplomatic pressures could bring relief for religious believers.

The Forum 18 analysis cites a recent meeting between US Senator Sam Brownback and an imprisoned Catholic priest, Father Thaddeus Nguyen Van Ly, as a "glimmer of hope" for change in Vietnamese policy. Further signs of interest by foreign leaders could produce more positive results, Hornemann argues.

For the full analysis by Magda Hornemann, see the Forum 18 web site.

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