Religion Bulletin - February 2024: The Two Northern Provinces Wiped Out The Ba Co Do and Duong Van Minh Religions

Religion Bulletin - February 2024: The Two Northern Provinces Wiped Out The Ba Co Do and Duong Van Minh Religions

[The Government’s Reach]

Soc Trang Imprisons Follower of Khmer Krom Buddhism

On Feb. 7, 2024, the government of Soc Trang Province sentenced Danh Minh Quang, from Dai Tam Commune, My Xuyen District, a follower of Khmer Krom Buddhism, to three years and six months in prison for the crime of "abusing democratic freedom to violate the interests of the state and the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and individuals" under Article 331 of the Penal Code. [1]

According to the government, Quang posted and live-streamed illegal content on his personal Facebook.

Quang was prosecuted in July 2023. Two other individuals, Thach Chuong and To Hoang Chuong, were also arrested with Quang. More than six months after the arrest, the government has only now brought Quang to trial. Previously, in March 2023, the Soc Trang provincial government interrogated Quang and a group of local Khmer Krom Buddhists for wearing T-shirts with the Cambodian Khmer Krom Federation flag when attending the International Women's Day celebration on March 8 in Tra Vinh Province. [2]

Quang often posted articles related to the rights of indigenous people and the freedom of activities of Khmer Krom Buddhism.

After Quang was convicted, Human Rights Watch (HRW) protested and said the government acted in revenge against the Khmer Krome community in Vietnam. [3] Many Khmer Krom people in Vietnam and Cambodia still believe that the land of Cochinchina is theirs. Therefore, they often try to reclaim their land and fight for the rights of indigenous people.

Cochinchina is a historical region in southern Vietnam, which during the French colonial period referred to the southern third of the country, including the Mekong Delta. It was officially established as a French colony in 1862, following military conquest, and was later incorporated into the larger colony of French Indochina.

The Vietnamese government has specific policies for the Khmer Krom community to diffuse this conflict. Many Khmer Krom Buddhists crossed the border into Cambodia because they believed they were oppressed and discriminated against by these governmental policies. [4]

Tra Vinh Province Accuses Buu Son Ky Huong Buddhism as Heresy

An article posted on the Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee webpage of Tra Vinh Province stated that the government has accused Buu Son Ky Huong Buddhism of being a heretic and superstitious and of having negatively affected the local order. [5]

Specifically, the government believes that Buu Son Ky Huong Buddhism worships a Budha who deified himself, does not have its own doctrinal system, and uses heavy superstition elements in its rituals. Further, the government believes that this religion does not have a clear organizational system and that its followers are mainly misinformed people with an outdated belief that their living conditions are below standard. Therefore, the Tra Vinh provincial government encourages people not to join this religious organization.

Vietnam has recorded new religions since the 1980s. To date, at least 85 new religions are in operation. [6] However, the government always seeks to limit the scope and scale of these religious activities. [7]

In mid-May 2023, the U.S. State Department's 2022 International Religious Freedom report stated that Vietnam had not recognized new religious groups for the last four consecutive years. [8]

Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Vu Chien Thang had previously announced that Vietnam welcomes all religions, including new religions. [9]

[Religion 360]

Two Hmong Catholic Priests Celebrate a Thanksgiving Mass more than Six Months after their Ordination

On Feb. 20, 2024, two Hong priests, Giuse Gianh A Senh and Joseph Song A Tong, celebrated a mass of thanksgiving in their hometown of Co Hay Parish, Song Ma District, Son La Province, more than 6 months after their ordination. [10]

These were the first priests in Vietnam to come from the Hmong ethnicity.

Bishop Hoang Minh Tien and many priests in the diocese attended the mass.

Previously, in August 2023, Song Ma District authorities refused to allow these two new priests to publicly celebrate a mass without giving any reason for the prohibition. [11]

Meanwhile, according to Catholic tradition in Vietnam, new priests return to the hometown where they were born after ordination to offer thanksgiving and pray for peace in the parish.

Not only in Catholic communities but in many localities with large ethnic minorities, religions face many difficulties. 

Further Reading: One Hundred Years of Vietnam-Vatican Relations: Three Issues Challenging the Diplomatic Process

[New Religion]

Dien Bien Completely Abolishes the Ba Co Do Religion

According to the Thanh Nien News, the Dien Bien provincial government has completely eliminated the Ba Co Do religion. [12] Specifically, from 2017 until now, the government has organized more than 300 meetings with about 26,000 people to convince them not to follow the religion, which the government has not recognized.

In 2022, the government forced eight households and 56 followers to abandon the religion. [13] Reportedly, there are no longer any followers of this religion in the province.

In addition, the government also accused the Ba Co Do religion of distorting the Bible, spreading propaganda, luring people to participate in illegal activities, and causing insecurity and disorder.

Like other unrecognized religious organizations, Ba Co Do is considered an evil cult, and its followers are often harassed and persecuted. In addition to Dien Bien Province, the government eliminated the Ba Co Do religion in Son La Province in October 2023. [14]

Dak Lak Prohibits Independent Protestant Groups from Conducting Religious Activities

According to the Montagnards For Justice Facebook page, on Feb. 25, 2024, authorities in Ea Ñuol Commune, Dak Lak Province, prohibited independent Protestants (those who practice Protestanism but do not belong to a church that the government recognizes) from conducting religious activities at the home of Y Lem Mlo, a member of this group. [15]

According to one video posted on this Facebook page, H Ruch Byă (believed to be an official in Ea Ñuol Commune) prohibited the believers from participating in their Protestant Church activities because the government did not recognize this religious group.

In addition, H Ruch Byă took advantage of the shootings in June 2023 at the two headquarters of the People's Committees to threaten the believers of this Protestant group.

After the attack on the police and government headquarters of Cu Kuin District, Dak Lak Province, in June 2023, the government often accused independent Protestant organizations in the Central Highland provinces of being reactionary and of trying to sabotage the state of Vietnam. This has made the practice of religious activities of these independent Protestant groups even more difficult.

Cao Bang Province Abolishes the Activities of the Duong Van Minh Religion

On Feb. 26, 2024, the Cao Bang provincial government announced that it had eliminated the activities of the Duong Van Minh religion throughout the province. [16]

In addition, the Cao Bang provincial government accused the Duong Van Minh religion of being an organization masquerading as a belief and religion, taking advantage of the ignorance of some Hmong believers to complicate the security and law and order situation in different localities of its province.

Therefore, from June 2022 to April 2023, the Cao Bang provincial government organized three campaigns to propagate among people and eliminate the Duong Van Minh religion. Many Hmong believers said that the government continuously oppresses them and forces them to sign documents renouncing their religion. [17]

Before the Lunar New Year of 2023, the Cao Bang provincial government successfully induced 562 followers to abandon the Duong Van Minh religion. Since then, the province no longer has funeral homes and white backdrops, an aspect of this religion. [18]

In July 2022, the Bac Kan provincial government announced the formation of Project No. 78 for the first time. The central government established this project in 2021 to "fight, prevent, and  eliminate the illegal organization Duong Van Minh."

The Vietnamese government has not announced the full content of this project, but the general goal was to eliminate the Duong Van Minh religion by 2023 completely.

To date, Thai Nguyen and Bac Kan provinces have reportedly eliminated the Duong Van Minh religion, and these localities have no followers. [19][20]


  1. HRW: Chính quyền Sóc Trăng bỏ tù Danh Minh Quang để trả thù vì bày tỏ quan điểm chính trị. (2024, February 12). RFA.
  2. Công an Sóc Trăng thẩm vấn nhóm phật tử Khmer bản địa sau khi họ dự lễ 8/3. (2023, March 31). VOA.
  3. HRW: Chính quyền Sóc Trăng bỏ tù Danh Minh Quang để trả thù vì bày tỏ quan điểm chính trị. (2024, February 12). RFA.
  4. Mảnh tối trên chiếc áo màu nghệ tây của Phật giáo Khmer tại Việt Nam. (2023, November 20). Luật Khoa.
  5. BỬU SƠN KỲ HƯƠNG PHẬT LÀ TÔN GIÁO HAY TÀ ĐẠO? (2024, March 1). Uỷ ban Mặt trận Tổ quốc Việt Nam tỉnh Trà Vinh.
  6. Hội thảo về thực trạng đạo lạ, tà đạo ở Việt Nam hiện nay. (2021, June 18). Sở Nội vụ tỉnh Nam Định.
  7. Ban Tôn giáo Chính phủ nói “sẵn sàng đón các đạo lạ”. Bạn nên hiểu chuyện này thế nào? (2021, August). Luật Khoa.
  8. Vietnam 2022 International Religious Freedom. (2023, May 15). U.S. Department of State.
  9. Hội nghị trực tuyến về cơ chế quản lý, sử dụng đất tôn giáo, tín ngưỡng. (2021, June 4). Sở Nội vụ tỉnh Nam Định.
  10. HAI LINH MỤC NGƯỜI H'MÔNG VỀ QUÊ TẠ ƠN SAU HƠN 6 THÁNG CHỊU CHỨC LINH MỤC. (2024, February 29). Tin Mừng Cho Người Nghèo.
  11. Tôn giáo tháng 8/2023: Bộ Công an cáo buộc vụ tấn công ở Đắk Lắk liên quan đến FULRO, BPSOS. (2023, August 31). Luật Khoa.
  12. Bài trừ tà đạo 'Bà cô Dợ' tự xưng sinh ra Chúa để truyền dị giáo. (2024, February 4). Báo Thanh Niên.
  13. Công an tỉnh tổng kết công tác năm 2022, triển khai nhiệm vụ năm 2023. (2023, January 4). Cổng thông tin điện tử tỉnh Điện Biên.
  14.  Không để tà đạo chia cách lòng dân. (2023, December 14). VOV.
  15.  Người Thượng Vì Công Lý. (2024, February 25).
  16.  Bản Mông bình yên, ấm no, hạnh phúc nhờ có Đảng. (2024, February 24). Báo Cao Bằng điện tử.
  17. Cao Bằng: Chính quyền tháo phông bàn thờ, ép tín đồ Dương Văn Mình bỏ đạo. (2023, April 5). VOA Tiếng Việt.
  18. Hội nghị tổng kết cao điểm 100 ngày (đợt 2) đấu tranh, xóa bỏ tổ chức bất hợp pháp Dương Văn Mình. (2023, February 28). Đài phát thanh và truyền hình Cao Bằng.
  19. Đấu tranh với “tà đạo” trên địa bàn xứ chè. (2023, September10). Báo Công an Nhân dân.
  20. Bắc Kạn: Tổng kết 2 năm thực hiện Đề án “Đấu tranh, ngăn chặn, tiến tới xoá bỏ tổ chức bất hợp pháp Dương Văn Mình”. (2023, December 18). Công an tỉnh Bắc Kạn.

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