» 01/15/2010 VIETNAM Authorities deny attack on the parishioners of Dong Chiem The vice president of the local People's Committee said that the cross was destroyed had been built illegally on public land and that the parish has rejected attempts to dialogue. But the archbishop of Hanoi insists that the hill has belonged to the church for more than one hundred years and the head of the Communist Party of Dong Chiem confirms the raid on the faithful.
Hanoi (AsiaNews) - After being subjected to insults and beatings, the parishioners of Dong Chiem now see the attack being denied. Vice-Chairman of the People's Committee of My Duc, Nguyen Van Hau, speaking to the state VNA agency has denied that "local authorities attacked the faithful."
Hau gave a reconstruction of the story, saying that the cross blown up with explosives had been "illegally built" on the hill called Nui Tho. "The construction violates land laws" and the hill, he said, lies not on parish land, but on that of the People's Committee of An Phu. "The construction of the cross without the permission of the responsible authorities – he concluded- is a violation of the ordinance on belief and religion."
In the official reconstruction, "local authorities attempted to resolve the issue with a series of discussions with the parish from March to December, but found no cooperation."
Following a script that has been used in the past, yesterday's newspaper, the New Hanoi, requested the immediate and severe punishment of those responsible for "false allegations" designed to "distort the social, political and economic situation of Vietnam and denounce human rights violations by the government. "
In response to the authority’s assertion, Father John Le Trong Cung, vice-chancellor of the archdiocese of Hanoi, reaffirmed that "the hill has always been on parish grounds since its inception, more than one hundred years ago." "The crucifix - added the parish priest, Father Nguyen Van Huu – has been there for years. Last year we only consolidated, but it was already there. "
Of not was the report written by the head of the Communist Party of Dong Chiem, Lieu, who confirmed the attack on the parishioners and disagreed with the destruction of the cross.