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  • » 08/16/2011, 00.00

    VIETNAM

    Thousands of Vietnamese Catholics in prayer against government arrests

    Paul N. Hung

    Protests of the faithful against the crackdown imposed by the government in recent weeks after more than 40 arrests. A Mass to remember the raids by police in the Diocese of Vinh and Thanh Hoa. Priest in Saigon: non-Catholics also involved. For the Vietnamese "The days of silence are over."
    Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) - At least 2 thousand faithful of Ho Chi Minh City have celebrated a mass and prayed for the Catholics arrested by Vietnamese police during raids in recent weeks in the Diocese of Vinh and Thanh Hoa (see AsiaNews 08 / 08/2011 Cau Ram: thousands of Catholics protest against property seizures). The vigil was held last August 14 organised by the Redemptorists, who wanted to denounce the Vietnamese authorities repression of Christians and their property, claiming the right to religious freedom in the country.

    During the Mass Fr Lê Quang Uy has listed the names of Catholics arrested - five of them employees of the Redemptorists who worked in the communications sector- stating that "so far 10 have been arrested in Vinh and a faithful Thanh Hoa." The police has taken "at the airports of Vinh, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City." The arrested are "devout Catholics" who collaborate with the local media, active in parish and family life, volunteer in campaigns in defense of life.

    Local sources said that the Vietnamese communist authorities have launched a campaign of repression against intellectuals and activists Vinh and Thanh Hoa Catholics, with the intention of launching a "warning" to other dioceses in the country.
    During the Mass Fr Lê Quang Uy has listed the names of Catholics arrested - five of them employees of the Redemptorists in communication - stating that "so far 10 have been arrested and a faithful Vinh Thanh Hoa." The police has taken "at the airports of Vinh, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City." The arrested are "devout Catholics" who collaborate with the local media, are active in parish and family life, volunteer in campaigns in defense of life.

    Local sources said that the Vietnamese communist authorities have launched a campaign of repression against intellectuals and activists Vinh and Thanh Hoa Catholics, with the intention of launching a "warning" to other dioceses in the country.

    Speaking to AsiaNews, a student of the diocese of Vinh explained that he had participated in the prayer "to publicly denounce" the repression of the Vietnamese authorities. If the climate of silence and impunity continues, then the "the arrests of other Catholics, without any trial and without respect for basic human rights for everyone” will also continue. A girl in Saigon is praying "for the victims of the regime" and "for Vietnam, my country" which is currently experiencing a "political crisis" that has provoked even " arrests of patriots protesting " against Beijing’s expansionist ambitions in the South China Sea.

    Only in recent weeks the authorities have ordered the arrest of more than 40 people, because accused of having taken part in initiatives or activities against the government and public policy. Fr. Anton denounces: " they think the best way to lead the country, is by arresting pro-democracy activists and ordinary faithful. But they are wrong. The greater the oppression, the greater the desire for a mature democracy ". Fr. Mathew adds that: "Each time the faithful of Thai Ha parish pray, Catholics and non-Catholics participate[...] and together we contribute to the development of our nation."

    For the Vietnamese faithful “the days of silence are over" and more people are denouncing public persecution.
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    See also

    23/05/2011 VIETNAM
    Archbishop of Saigon calls on government to respect religious freedom
    Cardinal Phnam Minh Man writes to the Prime Minister, denouncing a gradual deterioration in the rights of the faithful. Draft government legislation stipulates greater State control, acting in an arbitrary manner in granting of the practice of worship. The concern of the Vietnamese bishops.

    08/01/2009 VIETNAM
    New directive from Hanoi on Church property: nothing will be given back
    A norm, with obscure provisions, affirms that the use of ecclesiastical property granted by the state to "organizations" must respect the purpose of this property, and not offend the sentiments of the faithful. Who will be harshly punished if they protest.

    19/10/2010 VIETNAM
    Con Dau faithful appeal to Church leaders, demand justice for arrested Catholics
    Parishioners write to Bishops’ Conference and to the Justice and Peace Committee asking for help in freeing six Catholics who were arrested last May and are currently held in prison without trial or evidence. They complain that the decision by local authorities to seize their land in violation of the law jeopardises their “lives and the future of their children”.

    19/05/2010 VIETNAM
    Hanoi intensifies repression: six Con Dau faithful charged
    Indicted for clashes in wake of police attack on faithful attempting to bury parishioner in centuries old parish cemetery. The body was forcibly taken and cremated. Government denies incident. State media portray charges as a victory.

    30/04/2005 VIETNAM
    Hanoi frees prisoners of conscience on the anniversary of reunification
    A young Mennonite woman and a Catholic priest are among those released. But for Amnesty International Vietnam is still far from guaranteeing freedom of religion and of expression. Nothing is known of Rev Pham Ngoc Lien who was also scheduled to be released.



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