A pastor and lawyer who works to expose religious liberty abuses in Vietnam was arrested on August 17 along with his wife in Ho Chi Minh City.

According to local sources, the Rev. and Mrs. Nguyen Hong Quang and Truong Tri Hien have been on a hunger strike since their arrest. The couple had their identity cards confiscated in the arrest, and Quang was reportedly beaten.

A Mennonite pastor trained as a lawyer, Quang has been arrested and detained numerous times reportedly in connection with his work documenting attacks on the Vietnamese Protestant Mennonite community and for evangelistic activities. "I have a paper saying I should be expelled from my country," he wrote in June.

Quang reported that already four times this year the Public Security Police have "burst into our house while we are worshipping God." Twice, the services were stopped. Both times, the charges were written up against the church members, "throwing most of the congregation into a state of crisis and fear."

Vietnamese authorities have waged a consistent campaign to crack down on the activities of unofficial house churches in Vietnam.

On August 16, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom named Vietnam as one of several countries where "grave violations of religious freedom persist."

Related Elsewhere

Read the U.S. State Department's 2000 Report on International Religious Freedom section on Vietnam.

In May, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said "grave violations" of religious freedom persisted in India, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam, and urged the State Department to closely monitor these countries.

For more articles on Vietnam, see Yahoo's full coverage area.

Previous Christianity Today articles about Vietnam include:

Vietnam Jams Hmong Christian Radio Broadcasts | Government tries to curb spread of Protestant Christianity along Chinese border. (Sept. 1, 2000)

Authorities Destroy 'Church' in Vietnam | Crude structure in Ho Chi Minh City slum had been erected only hours earlier. (July 27, 2000)

Napalm Victim Now Agent for Peace | Canadian Christian remembers tearing burning clothes from her flesh. (Feb. 8, 1999)

Jesus Can Still Mean Jail | The plight of Vietnam's 700,000 evangelical Christians. (Nov. 11, 1998)

House Pastors Jailed in New Crackdown | Seven Vietnamese pastors imprisoned. (Jan. 6, 1997)