According to the clergyman, the land on which the church now stands was owned by a parishioner, a Mr Le Khinh, who passed away a few years ago. However, “his children are still there, and they own the land legally.”
Vinh An parishioners, most of them poor peasants, built a small church on the land with the agreement from Mr Le Khinh and his children.
The dispute erupted when the congregation’s benefactor died and local government officials began coveting the land.
Like their colleagues in Hanoi, they launched a campaign of intimidation and harassment.
“Every morning, at 5:30 am, loudspeakers start repeating state religious policy, saying how this government respects the Catholic Church,” Father Peter said. Furthermore, “many parishioners have been summoned. Just yesterday, a lot of people were questioned individually as if they had committed a serious crime.”
“I was interrogated at the district police station in Phu Vang for two hours starting at 8.30 am,” he said. “But I rejected every charge they could throw at me. Still they are going to remove our Cross and the altar themselves. We won’t do it whatever pressure they put on us.”