Thursday, January 14, 2010

Vietnam dismantles crucifix

January 13, 2010:

CONGRESSWOMAN LORETTA SANCHEZ:
Statement Condemning the Desecration of Religious Artifacts in Vietnam's Dong Chiem Parish

http://www.lorettasanchez.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=694&Itemid=91

Madame Speaker, I rise today, representing the voice of my Vietnamese-American constituency to once again bring attention to the deteriorating human rights situation in Vietnam.

Last Wednesday, a number of Catholics were attacked by the police for reporting an incident where Vietnam government officials destroyed a Holy Cross at the Dong Chiem parish. The removal of the cross was only one incident in a series of violent actions taken by the Vietnamese government to unlawfully seize church property which has belonged to the parish for over 100 years.

I find it absolutely appalling that the Vietnamese government is able to continually get away with such human right violations.

In 2010, I hope the United States will finally take a stand and show the world that it is unacceptable for a government to beat individuals with electric prods and attack them with tear gas for simply exercising their right to freedom of expression and religion.

In 2010, I hope to see my Colleagues fearlessly defend peaceful activists like Le Cong Dinh, who has been charged of capital crime and will most likely be sentenced to death for defending bloggers and free-expression activists.

It is time for Vietnam to be held accountable for their actions and responsible for upholding and protecting basic civil and political liberties.





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Vietnam dismantles crucifix


2010-01-07 18:07

Hanoi - Several Vietnamese Catholics were injured when police used electric prods and fired tear gas in a dispute over a crucifix, a priest said on Thursday.

The incident occurred early on Wednesday in Dong Chiem parish, about 70km from Hanoi, when parishioners tried to stop a large group of police and troops sent to dismantle a cross on a mountain top, said parish priest Nguyen Van Huu.

He said parishioners had told him the police used electric prods, tear gas and stones against the crowd, two of whom were seriously injured and taken to Hanoi for treatment.

Four or five other parishioners were also hurt, said the priest, who was not present during the incident.

The clash, as described by the priest, is one of the most serious incidents in a long-running series of church-state land disputes.

Police refused to comment on the incident.

Officials began seizing church property, along with many other buildings and farms, more than 50 years ago when communists took power in what was then North Vietnam.

Seized land

In December 2007, Catholics began a series of demonstrations over seized land.

The European Parliament, in a November resolution, urged Vietnam to return assets "arbitrarily seized" by the state from the Catholic Church.

Huu said local authorities had argued the cross was built without permission atop a mountain that is under state management.

The parish mobilised hundreds of followers to build the cross last March to replace a wooden crucifix destroyed years previously in wartime, he said.

"In fact, we have used this land for more than 100 years," he said.

Police arrived with trucks, dogs and shields while many villagers carried Bibles, he said.

"They sent troops to the top of the mountain and dismantled the cross.

"When people told them to show the official decision to dismantle the cross, no papers were shown.

"When we built the cross, the authorities did not say anything," the priest said.

Vietnam has Southeast Asia's second largest Catholic community after the Philippines, with at least six million followers.

Religious activity remains under state control but the government says it always respects freedom of belief and religion.

Huu said his parishioners, all of them poor, were still "in panic" on Thursday after what happened. "I am trying to calm them down," he said.

- AFP -

http://www.news24.com/Content/World/...ntles_crucifix

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Vietnam police tear gas, beat Catholics over cross: priest

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Ngày 09-01-2010, giờ 00:25
AFP
January 8, 2010, 6:43 am

HANOI (AFP) - Several Vietnamese Catholics were injured when police used electric prods and fired tear gas in a dispute over a crucifix, a priest said Thursday.

The incident occurred early Wednesday in Dong Chiem parish, about 70 kilometres (40 miles) from Hanoi, when parishioners tried to stop a large group of police and troops sent to dismantle a cross on a mountain top, said parish priest Nguyen Van Huu.

He said parishioners had told him the police used electric prods, tear gas and stones against the crowd, two of whom were seriously injured and taken to Hanoi for treatment.

Four or five other parishioners were also hurt, said the priest, who was not present during the incident.
The clash, as described by the priest, is one of the most serious incidents in a long-running series of church-state land disputes.

Police refused to comment on the incident.
Officials began seizing church property, along with many other buildings and farms, more than 50 years ago when communists took power in what was then North Vietnam.

In December 2007, Catholics began a series of demonstrations over seized land.
The European Parliament, in a November resolution, urged Vietnam to return assets "arbitrarily seized" by the state from the Catholic Church.

Huu said local authorities had argued the cross was built without permission atop a mountain that is under state management.
The parish mobilised hundreds of followers to build the cross last March to replace a wooden crucifix destroyed years previously in wartime, he said.

"In fact, we have used this land for more than 100 years," he said.
Police arrived with trucks, dogs and shields while many villagers carried Bibles, he said.

"They sent troops to the top of the mountain and dismantled the cross.
"When people told them to show the official decision to dismantle the cross, no papers were shown.

"When we built the cross, the authorities did not say anything," the priest said.
Vietnam has Southeast Asia's second largest Catholic community after the Philippines, with at least six million followers.

Religious activity remains under state control but the government says it always respects freedom of belief and religion.
Huu said his parishioners, all of them poor, were still "in panic" on Thursday after what happened. "I am trying to calm them down," he said.

http://nz.news.yahoo.com/a/-/world/6...r-cross-priest

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