After a varied history, mixing periods of independence and regional power with occasional subjugation to neighbouring states, Vietnam became a colony of France.
This led to a bloody war of independence in the 1950's and the division of the country at that time gave rise to the later and better-known conflict.
Following the victory of the North, Vietnam remains a one-party Communist state. In similar fashion to China, it has become on one hand economically more liberal, with signs of a modern economy especially noticeable in the cities, and in tourist hotspots along the tropical coastline (while rural areas remain less developed and often poor).
On the other hand, Vietnam has retained some of the characteristics of a 'closed' country, such as the suppression of political dissent, religious freedoms and ethnic minorities. In particular, mountain tribal peoples known collectively as the 'Montagnards', among whom are many Christians, have been harshly repressed.
Modern Vietnam also has significant social issues to confront, with high levels of HIV/AIDS infection, drug abuse, prostitution, child exploitation (including sexual), and abortion.
Christians in Vietnam
Traditional cross-cultural missionary work has been virtually impossible in Communist Vietnam since the 1970's. Believers have endured ongoing high risk of persecution, or imprisonment if caught engaging in ministry.
In that context, church growth and evangelism has taken place through careful development of indigenous Vietnamese Christians, through 'underground' church movements and training networks.