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Christians in Vietnam camp out in front of the Provincial People’s Committee building asking officials to uphold legislation, and award them their church land back.
12/20/2010 Vietnam
(Spero Forum) – Another peaceful protest broke out in Vietnam against the illegal seizure of Church property. This time it occurred in Thai Nguyen, 80 kilometres northeast of Hanoi where hundreds of people have been camping out in front of the Provincial People’s Committee  (administration) building, demanding the return of land taken away from their parish.

Unlike the case of the Apostolic Delegation compound or Thai Ha parish, protesters here want the law to be enforced and promises made by the prime minister upheld.

The incident began on 29 November when hundreds of parishioners went to the Provincial People’s Committee, demanding to see the new chairman, Pham Xuan Duong, to submit a written complaint.

In view of his refusal to meet them, they decided to camp outside the building, setting up tents, putting up banners and posters and, despite the cold and rain, singing rosary and religious hymns. Since then, they have not budged.

What is at stake here is the government’s commitments and its pledge to fight corruption. The fact that people from all walks of life, including non-Catholics, have joined the protest and that the government’s press has not attacked the protesters goes to show that this matter is different.  And yet, local officials are still trying to hang on to their ill-gotten property.

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