02/02/2010, 00.00
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More violence in Dong Chiem as police attack three Catholic students

by J.B. An Dang
The students had gone to church to pray. A group of police agents attacked them. One of the three was arrested. The authorities are preparing reports against the people who protested against the destruction of the local cross. The archbishop of Hanoi is targeted again.
Hanoi (AsiaNews) – Dong Chiem is still under attack. After destroying the cross on Che Mountain, forcing residents to remove those that had been erected in its place, beating priests, journalists and worshippers, the authorities are still laying siege to the parish church, attacking anyone who dares approach it. Last Saturday, three students from the Saint Anthony of Padua Congregation in Vinh were stopped for doing just that, one was arrested.

According to the congregation’s spiritual adviser Fr John Luu Ngoc Quynh, the three “had attended the Eucharistic adoration at Dong Chiem church.” A kilometre from there in An Tien commune, they were “on their way home” when a “group of police agents stopped them and then savagely attacked them”. One of students, Anthony Tran Van Son, “tried to run in a field but was chased and beaten.” Next day, “at 11.30 pm, police brought him to his dormitory and after searching the premises took away two other students who shared his room.”

Fr Luu Ngoc Quynh firmly slammed the “continued violation of the law against Vietnamese citizens, especially Catholics”. In a statement, he called for Anthony Tran Van Son’s release and a end to the siege of Dong Chiem parish as well as respect for the right to move freely. He urged the Vietnamese government "to investigate the latest attack in order to bring the culprits to justice."

According to Églises d’Asie, the authorities are drafting two reports to identify those who organised the protest movement against the removal of the cross, which was blown up on 6 January.

The first one is by An Phu commune (where the parish church is located), which points the finger at a number of lay people and many Redemptorists, referring to each by name.

The second by My Duc District, which includes Dong Chiem, was sent to Hanoi. It singles out the archbishopric in the capital, openly naming its chancellor, Fr Le Trong Cung, who signed the two press releases that made public what was happening. However, it lays the greatest blame on the archbishop himself, Mgr Joseph Ngo Quang Kiêt, for mobilising priests and worshippers and for allowing the press releases to go ahead.

But this is nothing new; Mgr Kiet had already been attacked in the past. In fact, Hanoi’s mayor did call for his removal from office.

Indeed, as Redemptorist Superior Fr Vincent Pham Trung Thanh told AsiaNews, “the government is trying its best to lure the archbishop of Hanoi and Thai ha Redemptorists into a trap in which the tiniest mistake [on their part] would give the government an opportunity for open persecution, or at least an excuse to launch accusations against them.”

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See also
Redemptorists protest violence, while attacks on Hanoi churches feared
Violence has won: crosses removed from Dong Chiem
Thousands of Catholics pray for Dong Chiem, the parish under siege
Sisters assaulted and beaten by police in Dong Chiem
Authorities deny attack on the parishioners of Dong Chiem


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