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    » 01/15/2008, 00.00

    VIETNAM

    Vietnamese Catholics broaden their protest demanding justice

    J.B. An Dang

    After Hanoi and Hồ Chí Minh City, Hà Ðông is now the scene of protests. Local Catholics demand the return of their parish building but the authorities refuse claiming they got it as a gift.

    Hanoi (AsiaNews) – After Hanoi and Hồ Chí Minh City, protests have reached Hà Ðông, a city with about 200,000 residents located some 40 kilometres from the Vietnamese capital. Here Catholics have peacefully protested demanding the return of their parish building which the authorities illegally seized claiming that it had been donated.

    The protest began 6 January and since then has seen hundreds of faithful meeting in front of what was once their parish building to pray for justice to be done.

    The faithful were provoked into action by a statement made by government officials rejecting their demand that the building be returned to its owners after it was seized 30 years to house the Hà Ðông People’s Committee. Parishioners have repeatedly forwarded petitions demanding the building’s return but to no avail.

    However, Hà Ðông was recently elevated to the status of city and so the Committee was moved. This persuaded the parish vicar, Fr Joseph Nguyễn Ngọc Hinh, to try again to get the building back.

    This time however he got an astonishing answer. He was told that a “parish leader” had donated the building to the government in 1977.

    Father Nguyễn responded saying that no parishioner has the right to do such a thing.

    Even more astonishing was the fact that the “parish leader” who made the donation was in fact a member of the Communist Party appointed by the government to the parish council who in turn donated the property to the government.

    In Hà Ðông the protest continues.

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    See also

    25/09/2008 VIETNAM
    In Ho Chi Minh City calls for justice and prayer for those who “persecute us”
    About 7,000 people take part in a prayer vigil during which participants express communion with Hanoi Catholics, victims of a vicious attack by city authorities and the Communist Party. A “drastic action” against the Catholic community is feared.

    29/08/2008 VIETNAM
    Thousands of Catholics at prayer vigil in Ho Chi Minh City
    Simultaneously with the ceremony, which was intended to express solidarity with the faithful of Hanoi, police in the capital intervened forcefully to disperse the faithful. Arrests and beatings.

    11/02/2008 VIETNAM
    The Catholics of Ho Chi Minh City manifest their solidarity with those of Hanoi
    Thousands express their support for the peaceful protest in the capital, aimed at obtaining the restitution of territory confiscated from the parish of Thái Hà.

    01/12/2008 VIETNAM
    Prayer vigil in Ho Chi Minh City for parishioners of Thai Ha
    5,000 go to the Redemptorist monastery, where a screen displays the faces of the eight faithful who will be tried. University students perform a play about those who were martyred in the attempt to wipe out Catholicism.

    31/12/2007 Vietnam
    Vietnamese PM meets bishop of Hanoi to discuss seized Church property
    Talks take place after Catholics stage a protest demanding the return of the nuncio’s building in Hanoi. The community is very hopeful and optimistic that the issue will be solved step by step.



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