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Vietnamese Christians Assaulted by Thugs and Government Officials

One Christian Hospitalized, Dozens Injured 

ICC Note:

In yet another case of government sponsored persecution in Vietnam, Christians were violently beaten by hired thugs and government officials on Monday as they gathered for Mass. One Christian woman was hospitalized with a fractured skull and dozens more were hurt. The thugs were reportedly paid the equivalent of $25 U.S dollars each to assault the Christians during services. The Christians report that the government has been harassing their community and attempting to block services for several months. The Communist Vietnamese government views Christianity as a potential threat to its control and actively works to undermine it's existence while publicly espousing freedom of religion to the international media.  

07/03/2012 Vietnam (AsiaNews) - A group of thugs linked to the Vietnam Patriotic Front, instigated by local authorities, targeted the faithful gathered in a house of prayer in Con Cuong district - Nghe An province, Vinh Diocese- as they gathered to celebrate Mass Sunday. The attack against the Catholic community took place on the evening of July 1 and is just the latest in a series of incidents of persecution that have targeted Christian communities in the area since November of last year anonymous sources interviewed by AsiaNews also reported that the so-called "local authority" gave up to 25 dollars "compensation" to the thugs who beat priests and lay people who only wanted to gather to celebrate the Eucharist.

On the evening of July 1, as every Sunday, Fr. J.B. Nguyễn Đình Thuc met with faithful in a chapel of Con Cuong, to celebrate mass. Suddenly, a group of thugs - probably close to an extremist nationalist movement - disrupted the function targeting those present. Instigated by local authorities, who pay these groups to attack Catholic communities, the mob struck with force and brutality, injuring dozens of people. One of them, Mrs. Maria Ngo Thi Thanh, suffered a skull fracture and was hospitalized in intensive care.

In recent weeks, officials of Con Cuong have patrolled the streets of the district on board a jeep, broadcasting slogans and warnings against Catholics - lay and clergy - guilty of "illegally celebrating of the Mass". Some families confirm that "local authorities do not know" or pretend not to know the "laws governing religious freedom in Vietnam." Police and security agents threaten Christians and force the faithful to promise not to participate in functions or ceremonies in the future. "They are violating the laws of Vietnam - comment members of the community - as well as basic human rights."

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