05/18/2011, 00.00
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Hanoi, bishop and nuns left powerless before government. AsiaNews censored

by Ann Luu
The city government wants to demolish the house of the Sisters of Saint Paul wiping out all their charitable activities. Many Church properties, which should be returned to their rightful owner are seized and made out as private property of members of the party, fuelling real estate speculation. Vietnam and China united in blocking our website.

Hanoi (AsiaNews) – The Sisters of Saint Paul in Hanoi are frustrated and without any hope as they wait for the Hanoi government to demolish their home and property any moment now. The same frustration is shared by the diocese that has continuously called for justice for the sisters. Meanwhile today, the AsiaNews website - which yesterday denounced this latest violence against the Church - has been blocked.

The home of the Sisters of Saint Paul in downtown Hanoi, was confiscated almost in its entirety by the Communist government in 1954. A small portion was restored to the nuns in time allowing them to open a dispensary for the poor, a residence for orphaned children and provide a shelter for young girls in difficulty.

Now the government wants to demolish the entire complex to erect a four story hospital: at least this is the official version explaining their actions. However, to date many Church properties which - according to Vietnamese law - should return to their rightful owners, have been seized and made out as private property to members of the party, becoming a source of lucrative gains due to the housing construction boom.

Each year the sisters have petitioned the government to get the property back, but have never received a response. "No one – says one nun - can promise us justice because everyone is afraid of retaliation and revenge."

The auxiliary bishop of Hanoi, Mgr. Lawrence Chu Van Minh, has often defended the right of the sisters to get the property back. But nothing happened.

Yesterday the AsiaNews website reported this latest government abuse (see 17/05/2011 Hanoi Sisters of Saint Paul home to be demolished). Perhaps because of this, today, the AsiaNews site is blocked in the country and the Vietnamese can no longer read the news reports. Until now, the only country that has sought to block AsiaNews is China. This censorship is often futile, thanks to proxy server it is always possible to overcome the government's filter and download the news.
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