08/17/2020, 12.38
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Thiên An Huế monks threatened and humiliated by People's Committee, Cross Hill seized

by Tran Hung

At least 50 gangsters, thugs and local officials have seized some of the monastery's land. Some went inside the cloister, disturbing the monks' prayers and life. "Red capitalists" use violence, abductions and communist ideology to make life for the monks impossible in order to force them out. The latter have appealed to the authorities, foreign embassies, and human rights organisations.

Hanoi (AsiaNews) – Whilst the country faces a rise in coronavirus cases in many provinces (Đà Nẵng, Quảng Nam, Quảng Ngãi, Quảng Trị and Thừa Thiên Huế), the pressure to seize the land of Thiên An Benedictine monastery in Huế continues with the monks victims of violence meant to drive them out.

Since 7 August, dozens of people – local government officials and hooligans, including women – have invaded the part of the monastery called Đồi Thánh Giá (Cross Hill), threatening the monks.

Disregarding anti-COVID-19 rules, which ban gatherings of more than 20 people, at least 40 people trespassed onto Cross Hill on 10 August, shouting slogans and handing out flyers slandering the monks and the Christian spirit of the monastery.

The group, which is very aggressive, is made up of government officials, employees, and security forces from the Thủy Bằng People's (Municipal) Committee. Several people entered the monastery’s cloister insulting and threatening the monks present.

According to parishioners served by the monks, Thừa Thiên-Huế provincial authorities have incited police and thugs to interfere with the lives of the monks.

For their part, the religious have responded with prayers and silence. On 10 and 11 August they prayed next to the statue of the suffering Christ whilst thugs and officials tried to interfere with them, cursing them and mocking the image of Christ.

Last Thursday morning, at least 50 people led by Thừa Thiên-Huế officials entered the monastery area, fixed poles, put up barbed wire and seized the land of the monastery.

Some of the invaders were young people with tattoos, a sign that they belong to some local gang, who used with very aggressive tones.

For years the monastery has been attacked by “red capitalists” who mix communist ideology, capitalist greed, and violence.

Thugs and gangsters, in alliance with the local government, have tried to ransack and seize part of the land of the religious community, violently kidnapping its members and reselling the land to real estate speculators.

The thugs’ ultimate goal is to get the monks to leave, thus leaving the local Catholic community of 70,000 people without clergy.

Fr André Trông Nguyễn Văn Tâm, superior of the community, asked local authorities to act in a civil manner and respect Catholics’ right to religious freedom, as well as uphold the laws of Vietnam.

The superior also called on bishops, priests, men and women religious of the Catholic Church to pray for the communion and peace of the monastery.

The monks in Thiên An have also asked foreign embassies and international human rights organisations to use every peaceful means to protect truth, justice and peace for the religious of the monastery.

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