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The dead speak to Hanoi media to discredit Thai Ha Catholics

ICC Note:

Disturbed by the continuing protests and prayer vigils of the Thai Ha Catholics, the Vietnamese media has resorted to attributing false statements to judges and believers, paying a beggar to pretend to be a Catholic, and even “taking statements” from a dead man.


9/18/08 Vietnam (AsiaNews) Now the dead are interviewed. If there was no clear political goal campaign behind the campaign by government media against Thai Ha parishioners, the whole thing could be dismissed as ridiculous. However, in an attempt to find Catholics who are against peaceful demonstrations by local faithful a TV station goes so far as to pay a poor man to speak against the former. A Catholic judge and a priest are forced to deny statements attributed to them in the print media. Another paper reports a statement by an actual Catholic; too bad that he has been dead for some years.

Imagine the reaction of Judge Vu Kim My, prosecutor in Kim Son (Phat Diem diocese), when last Monday People’s Police reported statements he never made. “I never said anything about Thai Ha,” he said after reading his alleged statement. The journalist who interviewed him asked him some general questions about the law; “everything else in the article was added.”

A few days ago a certain Nguyen Duc Thang, a dissident Catholic was presented as an opponent to the Thai Ha protesters. Fr Nguyen Khac Que, vicar in Thach Bich parish, confirmed that the man was among his parishioners, but there was a glitch in the whole story: “He died a few years ago.”

Last but not least a group a Hanoi TV crew allegedly interviewed an old man on 4 September. He was presented as a Catholic, but when asked for his Christian name, he could not give it because he did not know it. He eventually said that he was just a poor man and the TV people “gave me some money to act and speak as instructed.”

“Let us not forget to pray for writers and all those who work in the media. May they know how to respect each and every person and have the courage to act according to their conscience,” he said.

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