Danang (AsiaNews) - There are 400 Catholic families (about two thousand people) who are trying to prevent the demolition of their homes, on land where local authorities have decided to build a luxury tourist hotel.
On 27 January, hundreds of plain clothes police as well as police in riot gear with electric batons and gas masks were deployed around the parish of Con Dau to protect the demolition work.
The parish is located in Xuan Hoa, in the district of Cam Le and the 400 families live in an area of 400 hectares, which Danang officials want for the Hoa Xuna ecotourism project. The faithful are confronted with the problem of dealing with a project that would leave Father Emmanuel Nguyen Tan Luc pastor of a church with no parishioners. "Our parish - says the priest - is preparing to celebrate 135 years since the first conversions to Catholicism and 80 of its existence, this August."
Thai Van Lien, chairman of the parish council, said he learned of the project to demolish and displace the parish to a different place two years ago. "But it seemed so absurd and unfair that it was impossible to believe." "Now - added - we're looking for help and we are ready to die for our church and our land".
According to the project, the area will be transformed with the construction of buildings worth several million dollars. With the massive growth in land values, after the adoption of a market economy, authorities do not want to waste time in driving out residents from their homes in return for a nominal compensation that is insufficient to allow them rebuild elsewhere life.
The parishioners appealed urgently to the highest Vietnamese authority and the Parliament, asking them to stop the destruction of their homes to create a tourist attraction. But similar precedents indicate that their petition will not be heard. Referring to the communist principle, according to which "all land belongs to the people and is managed by the State for the welfare of the people", local authorities transform the property of religious groups into hotels, restaurants and night clubs, and deny the victims the possibility to react .