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    » 06/20/2012, 00.00

    VIETNAM

    Communist officials beat Catholics in Quy Chau to seize their land

    Nguyen Hung

    This is the latest example of abuse of power and act of violence against Vietnamese Catholics. The goal is to force them to give up their land, which the authorities want to sell at a hefty price to rich businessmen. The secretary of the bishop Vinh attacks the government, whilst the bishop of Kontum "asks for equal treatment for Catholics" since "we are citizens too".

    Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) - Communist Party officials attacked the members of a small parish in Quy Chau District in order to force them to give up land owned by the local Church, which they illegally promised to some local businessmen. This is far from an isolated incident; in fact, this kind of behaviour is growing. Like in China, Vietnam's Communist regime tends to seize by force land where churches and other places of worship are located with the aim of selling it to people who bribe officials. Since 2009, more than 2,000,000 people have been harmed this way.

    Fr Nguyen Van Huong, secretary of the bishop of Vinh, wrote a letter to Nghe An Provincial People's Committee to protest against such abuse. "Your Committee," he wrote, "must assume full responsibility for this attack, which took place on 11 June. Officials violated the religious freedom of the population. By beating and hurting local parishioners, they have harmed their health and life."

    "The so-called local authorities used violence against the parishes of Dong Chiem and Thai Ha. This time, they used more violence, really hurting people," a parishioner said. "Matters are getting more complicated and serious by the day. The fault lies with the government's religious policy."

    "In 1996, the government introduced an urban planning initiative for the area," another parishioner told AsiaNews, but "is has become a licence to steal land from the people."

    Communist officials are only interested "in money and more money. This is the main reason why our society is politically unstable. Communist officials constantly violate the basic rights of the people. For this reason, they lost our trust."

    "Some officials have contacted some rich businessmen who want to buy at a low price some 169 hectares of land owned by local residents in order to resell at a high price," a government investigator said. "They are a bunch of crooks protected by the central government."

    Mgr Michael Hoang Duc Oanh, bishop of Kontum, wrote to provincial authorities. "In 1978, the government borrowed the diocesan Compassion Centre in Kontum Province. Now the Education Department plans to tear it down to put up a prefabricated school building."

    If that was not enough, the government has already demolished "the Sisters of Charity Convent," he lamented.

    "Built in 1936, the convent was located near the Centre. Nguyễn Tất Thành Studious School now stands in its place. The nuns were forced to move into the sick-leave house of local priests. The same fate fell on the Sisters of Divine Providence, who have been forced to live and perform their pastoral duties in the offices of Kontum Diocese."

    After pointing out these violations, the prelate wrote, "We are not asking any favour. We expect to be treated fairly, as Vietnamese citizens. We have a right to live a dignified life in a society that is ruled by fair laws."

     

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    See also

    22/07/2015 VIETNAM
    Over a million Vietnamese victimised by forced evictions and violence
    Government land policy has increasingly deprived peasants as well as Christian and Buddhist religious groups of their land. Not only is land bought up for paltry sums, but once it is taken away, much of it is left idle, unused. When ordinary Vietnamese protest they are beaten and arrested. Chinese companies and business interests are behind land policy.

    27/06/2011 VIETNAM
    Con Dau appeal for help to save their parish
    The authorities have ordered the demolition of homes and seized the cemetery to build a luxury tourist resort. Catholics believe that their church is next. For this reason, they wrote to their country’s bishops and to Catholics around the world.

    17/11/2011 VIETNAM
    Hanoi : Police ready to use force against Thai Ha Redemptorists
    The convent area is surrounded since last night. More police are expected today. Redemptorists fear a violent attack, cognizant of what happened to the Hanoi nunciature in 2008.

    12/10/2009 VIETNAM
    From November 24 the Jubilee of the Vietnamese Church
    The announcement in a pastoral letter of the episcopate, at the end of its annual meeting. The jubilee will last until 6 January 2011. The bishops have not spoken of a visit of Benedict XVI. Legal Advisory Committee set up to address issues relating to the land of ecclesiastical bodies. Mgr. Thomas Vu Dinh Hieu ordained bishop.

    15/10/2008 VIETNAM
    Regime implicated in scandal behind attack against Catholics in Hanoi
    Popular indignation over the affair referred to as PMU18, with government officials and representatives embezzling millions of dollars, has led to the repression of any demonstration, including peaceful ones.



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