10/11/2008, 00.00
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Children's newspaper joins campaign against Catholics of Hanoi

by J.B. An Dang
In the periodical, intended for elementary school children, "a student" says he lost his faith because of the behavior of the archbishop. Superior of Redemptorists ordered to appear in court.

Hanoi (AsiaNews) - After radio, television, newspapers, now it's the turn of children's magazines to join the campaign of disinformation against the Catholic among the state-controlled media. This week, Thieu Nien Tien Phong (pioneer children), a periodical intended for elementary school children, also took the field.

The pattern is still the same, already used by newspapers for adults, for example the newspaper of the communist party Nhan Dan. The targets of the attack are Catholic Church leaders, and in the first place Archbishop Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet. And there is a protest by a Catholic, Qui, an "elementary school student," who says that he lost his Catholic faith because of the words and actions of the archbishop.

“The Hanoi government is shameless,” says Fr. Dang Huu Chau, a priest of Hanoi. “Using a children’s magazine to spread such a blatant lie is disgusting.”

If the media campaign is marking a further the decline in this way, there has also been an escalation in the campaign of intimidation toward the priests and parishioners of Thai Ha. A parishioner says that in last month, she has been interrogated eight times by the police. Each time, they asked the same question: Why did she go to pray in an area where prayer meetings are illegal?

On Thursday, agents went to the monastery to present a court summons for Fr. Matthew Vu Khoi Phung, superior of the Redemptorists. He is accused of using his influence to incite the faithful to defy the government, praying illegally in a public area and disturbing public order. The people's committee of Hanoi has released a statement in which it threatens legal action against them, and the police say that they have found ample proof of "organized crime" in the prayer vigils of Thai Ha. But when the police arrived, the superior was not at the monastery: he had left a few hours earlier for Ho Chi Minh City, for a meeting.

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