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    » 04/02/2014, 00.00

    VIETNAM

    Vietnam, Con Dau Catholics suffer more land seizures and demolitions



    Authorities in Da Nang want to seize the land to build a tourist resort. Latest raid just days ago with the expulsion of several families and the demolition of their homes. Police, public security and the army take part in raid. The faithful try to resist evictions, but their number is progressively dropping.

    Ho Chi Minh City ( AsiaNews / EDA ) - Several families driven from their homes, houses razed to the ground and land seized: Vietnamese authorities continue to subject Catholics to raids against in Cồn Dầu, Cẩm Lệ district, Da Nang province (south-central Vietnam), at the center of a land ownership controversy. For six years, Hanoi has tried in every possible way to justify its actions with claims that they are motivated by "ecological" needs, although in reality the real goal is the construction of a luxury tourist resort. The faithful try to resist and keep the historical community alive, even if their number is dwindling with the passage of time .

    The latest abuse, perpetrated by the authorities in a police raid, took place on March 27, with the expulsion of several families and the demolition of their homes. Local witnesses report that "at 7am the police surrounded the neighborhood" and blocked "access to all areas" . The sources add "there were police officers,  security agents and the army", with "bulldozers and ambulances".

    The night before the local administration had cut off the supply of electricity and drinking water, and then moved in overnight undisturbed and completed the demolition work. The area of ​​Con Dau includes a cemetery and covers an area of 10 hectares. For over 135 years, the local faithful have buried their dead there . In the past , the government had indicated the cemetery among protected historical sites. In 2010 the of Đà Nẵng authorities decided to demolish all the houses and the cemetery to build a luxury resort , without offering adequate compensation to residents, or aid for resettlement.

    Tensions exploded May 4 of that year when, during the funeral procession for Mary Tan, 82 , the police intervened to prevent the burial. The raid was followed by clashes between about 500 and faithful and police, culminating with the wounding of many Catholics and the arrest of 59 people . At the same time, the authorities sequestered the woman's coffin and cremated the body, against the wishes of the deceased. Mary Tan in fact wanted to be buried next to her husband .

    As reported on several occasions not only by the Vietnamese Catholic Church, but also by authoritative international financial institutions, the vexed question of land ownership in Vietnam is not only a legal and constitutional issue, but it is a drag on economic development of the country. In just three years there have been about 700 thousand disputes over land, most of which concerned compensation issues. Data from the World Bank reports that from 2001 to 2010 about one million hectares of agricultural land has been converted for different purposes; disputes over land have blocked or delayed many of the 80 infrastructure projects funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for at least two years, for a total of $ 9 billion .

     

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    See also

    14/01/2014 VIETNAM
    Saigon: Authorities threaten Catholics over disputed land
    At the center of the dispute , the parish of Thu Thiem and buildings used by a group of nuns. District 2 authorities intend to take possession of the area, despite the centennial presence of the Christian community, in violation of the Constitution. The faithful accuse the government of Ho Chi Minh City of "covering up abuse" and scuttling "historical and cultural traditions".

    05/04/2013 VIETNAM
    Peter Doan Van Vuon, anti-forced evictions hero, gets five years
    Despite the convictions, the family's punishment was not as bad as expected. The men in fact got two to five years in prison whilst the women were handed down suspended sentences. Although blaming them for the bad "impact on social order", the judge decided to avoid a verdict that could fuel social tensions.

    13/08/2009 VIETNAM
    Vietnamese bishops invite the government to take part in dialogue and adopt fair land laws
    Existing land laws are the main cause of the country’s social tensions because they invest all power in the state. This has led to abuses of power and has made corruption easier. Vietnam’s Catholic prelates reiterate Benedict XVI’s view that the Church does not replace the government but seeks only and in a spirit of dialogue and respectful collaboration to play its just role in the life of nation and in the service of the whole people.

    18/09/2014 VIETNAM
    Saigon, government threatens to demolish Catholic churches and Buddhist temples
    A development plan for an area south of Ho Chi Minh City includes the demolition of places of worship. The Inter-religious Council has launched a petition to stop the project. According to the urban development plan the area is zoned for housing and shopping malls, but not places of worship. A nun: "The government wants to drive us out."

    17/09/2009 VIETNAM
    Loan Ly police chase children from catechism class
    Another case of conflict over church land in a village in the diocese of Hue. Local Vietnamese prefer police intervention to dialogue to resolve the problem.



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