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09/02/2020 Vietnam (International Christian Concern) – On August 17, a Vietnamese state-run Radio and Television Station aired a documentary, Some Monks at Thien An Monastery Appropriate Land and Distort the Truth. The six-and-a-half-minute documentary reportedly claimed the monks were cutting down pine trees and invading land illegally.

For weeks, these monks based in Thien An have been surrounded by government-employed protesters. The documentary was an attack against the character of the monks. The documentary presenter, Nguyen Thi Diem My, said the monks posted videos and posts vilifying the authorities, posing as the protesters, etc. However, Benedictine monks from the monastery rejected his claims.

In fact, according to UCA News, the monks say, the documentary “follows the provincial government’s sponsoring of public security officers, police and gangsters who posed as the people and illegally broke into the monastery on Aug. 10-11.” The monks also said they have proof of ownership of the 107-hectare land since 1940.

The land the government took over rightly belonged to the monks. Land which the monks have petitioned to reclaim, to no avail. The documentary has devastated trust in the press in Vietnam and abroad, as well as the monks’ dignity.

Father Tam invited government authorities and protesters on August 23, saying, “We would like to receive cooperation from you to deal with the case legally and objectively.” Otherwise, the monastery will hand it to the local government.

Pray that the Thien An monks will receive justice after years of local government oppression and land-grabbing attempts.

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected].