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    » 01/21/2010, 00.00

    VIETNAM

    Brother viciously beaten in Dong Chiem, a parish under siege

    J.B. An Dang

    In a statement to be read in all churches until next Sunday, the archdiocese of Hanoi speaks of hundreds of police agents and soldiers forcibly blocking anyone who tries to reach the Dong Chiem parish church. Those who dare approach are threatened and can be arrested.
    Hanoi (AsiaNews) – Vietnamese authorities appear to have opted for a violent crackdown. In Dong Chiem parish, a man religious was viciously beaten (pictured), many people have been threatened, some arrested, whilst the local church is under siege, no one allowed near it. This comes after Catholics held a peaceful rally to protest the destruction of a cross on Mount Tho in an area owned by the Church for over a hundred years. Meanwhile, expressions of solidarity have poured in from Catholics in other neighbouring provinces of northern Vietnam.

    The parish church “has been completely surrounded and isolated” since yesterday. “Anyone who approaches the entrance is stopped by security agents who man checkpoints around the building. Priests from the Hanoi deanery have been stopped before they could cross the Xay River bridge, some 500 metres from the church.”

    The archdiocese of Hanoi has used the aforementioned terms to describe the situation. Its strong-worded statement will be read in all of the capital’s churches at the end of every Mass, starting today until next Sunday.

    Saint Francis’ prayer will be read. “Where there is hatred, let me sow love,” the text says, “for the parish priest, his vicar and all his faithful,” and “especially for our brothers and sisters” who have been “beaten and jailed. May they firmly keep their faith in this time of difficulty and be able to join the mystery of the Cross of Christ.”

    The statement goes further. “We want man’s fundamental human rights be respected,” it said, “so that our country can have peace, justice, democracy and know true civilisation”.

    It also refers to hundreds of police agents and soldiers, some in uniform, others in plain clothes, mobilised for the action against the parish. It speaks of parishioners terrorised by loud speakers spewing insults, lies and threats against the parish priest, Fr Nguyen Van Huu, his vicar, Fr Nguyen Van Lien (who have already been interrogated and threatened several times by police) and parishioners. Altogether 16 people are said to have been detained or arrested.

    “The inhuman treatment meted out on 11 January to Nguyen Huu Vinh was far worse. The same is true for Redemptorist Brother Anthony Nguyen Van Tang.”

    “At the checkpoint on the Xay River bridge, four or five agents attacked the Redemptorist and a layman. The latter was only slightly injured, but Br Anthony Nguyen received wounds to the head, lips and eyes. The victims was viciously beaten until he lost consciousness,” Redemptorist Provincial Superior Fr Peter Nguyen Van Khai wrote.

    If the situation was not so tragic, the recent attack against AsiaNews by the state-controlled Vietnam News Agency (VNA) could be treated as a bad joke.

    Knowing that it cannot be contradicted at home, VNA accused AsiaNews of spreading “defamatory stories” concerning the Dong Chiem affair, claiming that “Catholics have not suffered repression.”

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    See also

    22/01/2010 VIETNAM
    Redemptorists protest violence, while attacks on Hanoi churches feared
    A letter by religious to authorities to reconstruct what happened in Dong Chiem and demands for an investigation and punishment of those responsible for aggression against a monk, as well as an end to attacks and siege at the parish. In the capital, groups of activists call for the resignation of the archbishop.

    26/01/2010 VIETNAM
    Violence has won: crosses removed from Dong Chiem
    "Escorted" by police, some faithful were forced to bring the crucifixes that had placed on the mountain home. State media speak of parishioners "persuaded and educated" by the authorities, the parish priest denies it was a voluntary act.

    07/01/2010 VIETNAM
    Explosive used to demolish crucifix in a Hanoi Catholic cemetery
    Police attacks parishioners trying to defend the sculpture. An unknown number of people are wounded. The Archdiocese slams the incident in Dong Chiem parish. Something similar occurred last November in Bau Sen.

    15/01/2010 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.

    02/12/2011 VIETNAM
    Priests, lay people from Thái Hà parish who asked to speak to the authorities beaten and arrested
    Two Redemptorist priests, a religious and some 30 Catholics were mistreated and arrested by police for filing a complaint with the People’s Committee of Hanoi because of land illegally seized by local authorities from Thái Hà Parish. This is the first time priests are arrested.



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