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New state media smear campaign against Catholics in Vietnam

ICC Note:

Vietnam’s state media has launched a campaign of “verbal attacks” against the Catholic church in the country – specifically targetting prelates who have condemned the authorities confiscation of church property and violence against Catholics.

9/29/09 Vietnam (AsiaNews) Media in Hue have launched a campaign of “verbal attacks” against Archbishop Nguyen Nhu Stephen The and his auxiliary Francis Xavier Le Van Hong. The prelates are being targeted for having condemned the confiscation of a Catholic school in the parish of Loan Ly, Phu Loc district, and the brutal police violence against the Vietnamese faithful who were protesting against the misappropriation of their land.

In response to the bishops, the television in Hue has “opened fire” with a series of interviews in which the alleged faithful attack the prelates, condemning their behaviour. Added to this there is a current campaign by Vietnamese newspapers against Father Joseph Ngo Thanh Son, pastor of Loan Ly, charged with conspiracy and of heading the protests on 13 September. The accusation however is unfounded, because Fr. Joseph has spent several weeks in hospital and was not in the church when the incident erupted.

The People’s Committee of Dong Da finally threatened to confiscate church property near the lake of Ba Giang, putting them under the administration of the state. The faithful have begun a protest campaign, against which the authorities deployed hundreds of police agents and dogs. So far there have been no reports of clashes.

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