Vietnamese in France

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People Name: Vietnamese
Country: France
10/40 Window: No
Population: 323,000
World Population: 86,819,200
Primary Language: Vietnamese
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Christian Adherents: 9.00 %
Evangelicals: 1.80 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Vietnamese
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

For over two thousand years, people in the land of Vietnam have recognized their national identity. During those two millennia China controlled Vietnam about one half of the time.
In 1887 Vietnam became part of French Indochina. From 1939 to 1975 the Vietnamese fought the Japanese, French and then the Americans.
The communists under Ho Chi Minh overthrew the French in 1954. The Geneva Accord of 1954 split the country into North and South Vietnam along the 17th parallel. The US gave aid to South Vietnam. The US military withdrew from the country in 1973. Two years later the communist north overtook the south and "re-united" the country. Under state socialism the nation's economy floundered. In the 1990s the government began to allow market reforms and the economy has grown to become one of the leading economies of Southeast Asia.
People who worked with the South Vietnamese government were severely persecuted and had to flee. Most of the ethnic Vietnamese who left their country fled in the 1970s and 1980s. Thousands of Vietnamese now live in the USA, Canada, Australia, the UK, and other countries of Europe, especially France.
Because Vietnam was once a French colony, there were Vietnamese living there long before the communist takeover in 1975. The first was in 1777. In the late 1850s, there was the Cochinchina Campaign, which established Vietnam as a French colony. Members of Vietnam's elite and royal family members went to France for educational and diplomatic purposes.
French colonialists recruited Vietnamese soldiers to fight for France during both world wars. Most returned to Vietnam, but some stayed in France to become railroad builders and factory workers. When France lost Vietnam as a colony in 1954, Vietnamese who were loyal to the French migrated to France. Far more moved to France after the communist takeover in 1975.
About half of the Vietnamese are in Paris, but there are also large numbers in Marseille and Lyon.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Vietnamese in France have taken on all kinds of employment, and they are prospering in that European country. They all speak French, but most retain a cultural and political interest in Vietnam. By the fourth generation, ethnic Vietnamese have usually lost interest in the old country, the Vietnamese language, and they often intermarry with the French.
Surprisingly, there are some Vietnamese who are loyal to the communist government in Hanoi. They have very little contact with those who fled the country and regard themselves as "refugees" rather than "immigrants."
Vietnamese restaurants are popular in France, especially Paris. This is a strong point of contract between the French and the Vietnamese.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The earliest forms of Vietnamese worship were animism and veneration for ancestors. The Vietnamese worshiped the sun, soil, water and the earth fertility goddess Mau. The Vietnamese believed that spirits dwelt in the mountains, rivers, rocks, and other forms of nature. There were also spirits of their departed ancestors who needed to be placated and honored.
Later Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucianism thought made their way to Vietnam. These beliefs were incorporated into the Vietnamese form of animism and ancestor veneration. No matter where they live, it is common for the Vietnam to practice Buddhism blended with their old spiritual practices.
About one out of 12 Vietnamese claim to be followers of Jesus Christ. Most of these are Roman Catholics with a much smaller Protestant church.

What Are Their Needs?

The Vietnamese must see that Christianity is not a foreign religion imposed on them by outsiders. They need to see the love of Christ lived out among them by Spirit-filled disciples.

Prayer Points

Ask the Lord to send loving disciplers to the Vietnamese in France.
Pray for a spiritual hunger among the Vietnamese that drives them to read the Bible and listen to Christian radio programs.
Pray for a church planting movement that affects every Diaspora Vietnamese community.

Text Source:   Joshua Project