59 Catholics from Con Dau arrested for accompanying funeral
by J.B. An Dang
Letter From Bishop of Nagni, protesting and calling for release of the detained. The government denies the police attack, but admits that the land of the cemetery is no longer usable, since it is destined to become a "residential area".
Da Nang (AsiaNews) - Participants at a funeral were attacked by police and 59 of them were arrested. The episode has was denounced by the Bishop of Da Nang in central Vietnam, Mgr. Joseph Chau Ngoc Tri, in a pastoral letter condemning the incident and calling on the faithful and authorities to control themselves to prevent further violence.
In the document, dated May 6, the bishop reports that on May 4, in the parish of Con Dau, during the procession for the funeral of Mary Tan, 82, police intervened to prevent the burial in the cemetery. For almost an hour there were clashes between the faithful and 500 police resulting in the arrest of 59 people. "The police went looking for other believers," the bishop writes.
Yesterday, the Vietnamese government denied that the Catholics were arrested or injured. According to the spokesman of Foreign Ministry, Nguyen Phuong Nga, "this information is false and aimed only to slander Vietnam". "The truth - she said - is that this affair has nothing to do with religion." Nga had denied the burial was blocked, but added that it is known that the cemetery is located in an area destined for a new residential zone and so can not be used.
The fact is that the bishop is calling for the immediate release of those arrested. And the cemetery, where many Catholics have been buried, is one of those areas that have become attractive in the recent hike in land values and one on which local authorities, it seems, are planning to build a tourist resort.
A Con Dau Catholic dies shortly after being released by police
by J.B. An Dang
Nguyen Nam was one of the faithful arrested, harassed and beaten since last May, following protests raised by the authorities' decision to use the area of the ancient cemetery of the village to build a tourist centre.
Da Nang (AsiaNews) - Nam Nguyen, a Catholic from Con Dau parish, in the Diocese of Da Nang died last Saturday, just hours after being released by police. The man, already in recent months, had been arrested, beaten and threatened by agents, following protests from residents over the closure of the cemetery of the parish and the announced destruction of their homes to build a tourist centre.
It all started earlier this year, with the local authorities decision to demolish all the houses in the parish, created 135 years ago to build the resort, without offering fair compensation or aid for resettlement. The cemetery of the parish covers an area of 10 hectares, about a mile from the church. For 135 years it has been the only burial place for the faithful and in the past, it was listed in the historical sites protected by the government. Until March 10, when security agents put a sign at the entrance of the cemetery with the inscription "Burials are forbidden in this area". When a parishioner went to protest, the head of the police sprayed tear gas in his face, causing him to faint.
On May 4, during the procession for the funeral of Mary Tan, 82, police intervened to prevent the burial in the cemetery. For almost an hour there were clashes (pictured) between the 500 parishioners and agents, leaving many Catholics wounded and 59 people arrested. The coffin was taken from the woman's family and was later cremated, against the wishes she had expressed, to be buried next to her husband and members of his family, in the old parish cemetery.
The Vietnamese government denied that there were Catholics arrested or injured. According to the spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, Nguyen Phuong Nga, "this information is false and aimed only at slandering Vietnam". "The truth - he said - is that this affair has nothing to do with religion”.
Instead the incident was denounced by the bishop of Da Nang in central Vietnam, Mgr. Joseph Chau Ngoc Tri, who in a pastoral letter of May 6 condemned the incident and asked the faithful and controlling authorities to avoid further violence. "The police went in search of other faithful," wrote the bishop.
His claims were backed up by the news that on May 17, six parishioners were charged by the authorities of the province of Da Nang for "disturbing public order" and "attacking state security and administration personnel who were carrying out their duties according to law. "
Among the six, Nam Nguyen, who was arrested and released. Subsequently he was again summoned by the officials, who tried to force him to lay charges against other faithful. Upon his refusal he was savagely beaten. Saturday he was released and a few hours later, he died. Fear now reigns in the village.
Cồn Dầu Dân Oan
Cồn Dầu dân có tội chi ?
Cất chôn người chết bọn mi (VC) bắt ruồng
Nghĩa trang là đất của công (giáo)
Cớ sao chèn bắt cùm gông dân lành
Hỡi loài rắn độc gian manh
Giết dân cướp đất rành rành Việt gian
Người già chết chẳng yên thân
Người còn ở lại dập bầm tim, gan
Giết người, áp đảo tinh thần
Bắt giam, đánh đập chẳng cần tội danh
Vô thần một lũ phi nhân
Việt gian Cộng Sản phải cần triệt tiêu
Quê hương đã quá tiêu điều
Dân mình cơ cực phải liều đứng lên
Đáp lời sông núi chưa quên
Quê hương giải phóng xóa tên giặc Hồ
Vũ H. Đức
Cảm tác sau khi hay biết sự việc giáo dân Cồn Dầu bị bọn chó má phi nhân VC đàn áp, đánh đập đến chết người dân, và cướp đất của giáo xứ Cồn Dầu, Đà Nẵng - Việt Nam