Washington, D.C. – House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) issued the following statement welcoming Pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh – who was sentenced by a Vietnamese court to 11 years in prison for leading a Christian congregation in Vietnam – to the United States:

“I am very happy to see that Pastor Chinh and his wife and children have arrived in the United States. Pastor Chinh was subjected to unthinkable beatings and his family was continually harassed for simply practicing their faith. They should receive religious asylum as soon as possible.

“Sadly, their experience is not unique – in Vietnam the state of religious freedom and other human rights is deplorable. It’s time to name and shame the government in Hanoi as an abuser of religious freedom. That’s why I have pushed the State Department to re-list Vietnam’s communist government as a Country of Particular Concern. The administration should work quickly to make this designation. The communist government must face consequences for violating the human rights of the Vietnamese people, including the freedom to practice their religion.”

Note: Chairman Royce sent a letter to President Truong Tan Sang of Vietnam raising the case of Pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh and to Secretary of State John Kerry requesting that Vietnam be returned to the list of countries of particular concern. He also introduced legislation calling on the Department of State to re-list Vietnam as a country of particular concern and to sanction the communist government for its violations of human rights – as well as urging President Obama and President Trump to raise human rights concerns in meetings with leaders of the Vietnamese government.