Vietnam: Church raided, congregation beaten and 14-year-old arrested

A 14-year-old Christian has been arrested in Vietnam amid a series of government crackdowns on Christians following a US delegation's visit to the country.

President Barack Obama reviews the guard of honour during welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, VietnamReuters

A local church close to the Vietnam-China border was stormed by 30 government authorities on June 13, according to International Christian Concern (ICC).

During the raid, multiple churchgoers were beaten and two were arrested, including a 14-year-old.

The priest was interrogated and authorities attempted to make him sign a statement saying the church's activities were a danger to security and disrupted the community.

The incident came almost a week after UN Officials condemned the alleged torture and arrest of the wife of an imprisoned Vietnamese pastor.

Tran Thi Hong, the wife of Pastor Mguyen Cong Chinh, was reportedly detained and tortured on April 14 by local authorities, in an attempt to gain information about a meeting with the US Ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom, David Saperstein.

A US delegation, including President Obama, visited Vietnam between May 23-25, and the US lifted the weapons embargo between the two countries.

"It is appalling to see the actions by the Vietnamese government against its Christian population both before and after the President's visit. In an effort to bring forth a new chapter in US-Vietnamese relations, the President lifted the weapons embargo between the two nations in hopes of a better future," said ICC's regional manager for South Asia, William Stark.

"Unfortunately, the President relinquished the last major bargaining chip the United States had to use with Vietnam regarding their deplorable human rights record. These recent attacks on the church and the arrest and torture of an imprisoned pastor's wife shows the true colors of Vietnam's leadership."