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Anti-Catholic violence designed to hide crisis and graft in Vietnam’s Communist Party

ICC Note:

The persecution of Catholics in central Vietnam may be an effort to divert attention from internal conflicts within the Communist Party.

8/5/09 Vietnam (AsiaNews) On July 20, 2009 police in Quang Binh province launched a surprised attack on the unarmed parishioners of Tam Toa—a struggling parish in the diocese of Vinh, Central Vietnam. Local Catholics were erecting a makeshift tent as a temporary place for liturgical services. The assault resulted in hundreds being injured, and dozens being taken away in police vehicles and detained indefinitely.

A week later, the diocese of Vinh reported the brutal beating of two Catholic priests by plain clothed police and thugs hired by the government. Fr Paul Nguyen was beaten by a group of men when he tried to save three women who were being attacked by the same men. As he was being beaten, resulting in some broken ribs and head injuries, about 30 uniformed police officers stood indifferent, looking on at the scene. The other priest, Fr Peter Nguyen The Binh, was beaten by a gang of armed men and thrown from the second floor window of the hospital where he was visiting Fr Nguyen.

The situation of violence in Dong Hoi has led some Catholics to believe that the Church in Vietnam is being made a scapegoat because of a power struggle currently taking within the Communist Party. Some evidence suggests that the government has decided to employ the same methods used in China during Cultural Revolution to stifle growing criticisms against it.

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