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  • Vietnamese Catholics demonstrate despite government threats, -- posted on 19 Jul 2012
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  • THE VIETNAMESE CATHOLIC COMMUNITY IN AUSTRALIA

    92 The River Rd - Revesby NSW 2212  

    Tel: (02) 9773 0933  

    Fax: (02) 9773 3998  PRESS RELEASE

     

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   

    Contacts:

     

    1. Fr. Paul Van Chi Chu, Sydney.

    Tel: (02) 97730933  

    Mob: 0410 552650

    Email:paulvanchi@yahoo.com

     

    2. Fr. Peter Xuan My Bui, Canberra.

    Mob. 0411 328 077

    Email: petermybui@hotmail.com

     

    3. Fr. Anthony Huu Quang Nguyen, Melbourne.

    Mob. 0412 560 445

    Email: quangsdb@yahoo.com  

     

    Sydney, September 26, 2008 – The Vietnamese Catholic Community in Australia (VCCA) would like to report to the Australian Community and the International Communities about the critical situation concerning persecution against the Catholic Clergies and faithful by the Vietnamese Communist government.  

     

    As this Press Release is being published, several Catholics are still being detained in prison. The Archbishop of Hanoi, the Most Rev Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet, and numerous leaders of the Redemptorist Congregation in Hanoi have been the subjects of a government campaign of public defamation and extreme legal action has been threatened against them all. The Vietnamese Catholic Community in Australia (VCCA) sent thousands of petitions to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference asking for help.

     

    Since 18 December 2007, Hanoi Catholics have been organising daily prayer vigils outside the former building of the Nunciature in Hanoi, pleading for return of the building that had been confiscated unlawfully by the Communist regime in 1959. The parishioners' protests only came to a halt at the Holy See's instruction when the government agreed on 1 February 2008 to return the building to the church. As understood by both sides, the Vietnamese Communist government was to undertake the steps necessary to return the property. However, it managed to delay returning the property using various bureaucratic maneuvers.  

     

    Suddenly on 19 September 2008 the government announced the buildings at the Nunciature would be demolished to make room for a playground. Demolition commenced immediately with the backing of its armed forces. This action clearly contradicts the policy of dialogue that the Catholic Church and the Vietnam Communist government have pursued. It insults the legitimate aspirations of the Hanoi Catholic community, ridicules the law, and does not respect the agreement the government had with the Catholic Church in Vietnam. It is also an immoral act and a mocking of society's conscience.  

     

    In Thai Ha parish, Redemptorists and their faithful have been repeatedly requesting the return of another property claiming that it was seized illegally – all to no avail. A public outcry and protests came after Thai Ha parishioners discovered that local government officials had secretly sold their land to private entities. These victims in their desperation were left with no choice other than holding peaceful protests completely complying with Vietnam law to call out for justice from the authorities since 5 January 2008.

     

    The Vietnamese Communist government has not listened to them and repeatedly attempted to silence protestors by using large numbers of police and security forces, militiamen, and even street gang members.

     

    Last month, the Vietnamese Communist government launched a terrorising campaign against Hanoi Catholics, starting with a threat to use "extreme actions" against Catholic priests, depicting them as "criminals" who "have used their influence to incite the faithful in a confrontation against the government". The campaign, which has ignited negative sentiment not only against Hanoi clergies but also the Church as a whole, was stepped up on 28 August by a series of arrests. Numerous priests and lay people were kicked and beaten brutally by police when they peacefully requested the release of detainees. Demonstrators claimed the police used stun guns, smoke grenades and beat them brutally, causing dozens to be hospitalised.  

     

    At the Redemptorist monastery in Thai Ha parish (the centre of one of the property disputes) street gang members attacked a shrine at the church from late Sunday night 21 September through early Monday morning 22 September. Police and city officials saw this but took no action.

     

    Last Sunday evening 21 September a gang of about 200 youths wearing the blue shirts of the Youth Communist League came to the Thai Ha church to harass and spit on the face of our priests, religious and faithful. This followed a series of events last week when another group of thugs came to dump used motor oil and foul-smelling liquid onto the altar which was adorned with a religious statue of Our Lady.

     

    Last night on 25 September, a gang of Communists chased Catholics away from the area before gathering at the gate of the Hanoi Archbishop's office where they yelled out communist slogans calling for the head of the Archbishop of Hanoi, accusing him and other Catholic leaders of treason.

     

    Priests and staff of the Hanoi Archbishop withdrew inside the office and closed the door. Hundreds of police and officials standing nearby to back the construction inside the Nunciature did nothing to help the Catholics. Instead, some of them helped the gang destroy an iron cross erected in January, and carried the Pieta statue into a truck. The statue had been located in front of the Nunciate even before the Nunciate was seized by the communists in 1959. Parishioners had moved the statue into one of the buildings just before Christmas last year.

     

    Some people who were praying at that time ran into the nearby St. Joseph's chapel (belonging to the Cathedral parish) where they continuously rang the bells to ask for help from surrounding parishes. At that point, police ordered the gang to withdraw to avoid a clash with Catholics who were rushing to the site. The truck with the Pieta statue drove away.  

     

    The Vietnamese Catholic Community in Australia denounces these actions and asks that the Vietnamese Communist government:

     

    1) Stop persecutions of Catholic clergies and their faithful

    2) Respect its own law and return the property to its rightful owner

    3) Stop immediately the violations of Human Rights.

     

    Australia has a long tradition of being a beacon protector of Religious and Human Rights throughout the world and a beacon whenever humanity is in harm way. We respectfully request that you do everything in your power to ensure that the Hanoi regime desists from all sorts of violent repression of the protestors, and return the confiscated Church property that is at the root of the dispute. The Vietnamese Communist government must respect its own laws and international laws that it had signed and pledged to obey. It must immediately take firm and concrete action to prevent further Religious and Human Rights violations against followers of religious groups, recognizing their rights to practice their faiths free of harassment and oppression.  

     

    Contacts:  

     

    1. Fr. Paul Van Chi Chu, Sydney.

    Tel: (02) 97730933  

    Mob: 0410 552650

    Email: paulvanchi@yahoo.com

     

    2. Fr. Peter Xuan My Bui, Canberra.  

    Mob. 0411 328 077

    Email: petermybui@hotmail.com

     

    3. Fr. Anthony Huu Quang Nguyen, Melbourne.

    Mob. 0412 560 445

    Email: quangsdb@yahoo.com

     

    For more information please visit: www.vietcatholic.net

     

    THE VIETNAMESE CATHOLIC COMMUNITY IN AUSTRALIA (VCCA).  


    The Vietnamese Catholic Community In Australia  

    Posted on 29 Sep 2008


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