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More Church land disputed in Vietnam

HO CHI MINH CITY (SE): Within days of the conclusion of what was described as a satisfactory Holy See-Vietnam government confab, which ended in Hanoi on February 27, AsiaNews reports that more land claimed by the Redemptorist congregation in Ho Chi Minh City has been confiscated by the government.

Although it has been home to a kindergarten for decades, the Redemptorists are pointing out that since the kindergarten is closing down, the law does not allow the land to be sold by private investors for housing or commercial purposes, but demands that it be returned to its previous owners.

“This time it is a kindergarten and a pre-school complex seized a few decades ago by authorities. However, recently the building was demolished and the ground levelled,” the Rome-based news agency reports.

“In all probability it will either be sold or used for private purposes, given the hunger for urban real estate that dominates the country in the grip of a robust economic development. Usually these sales are to increase the personal wealth of some party secretary,” AsiaNews claims.

However, Vietnamese law states that land no longer required for public utility should be restored to its previous owners.

Despite sending letters and requests for clarification, there has been no response from government authorities.

In a letter dated March 3, Father Joseph Dinh Huu Thoai accuses the government of violating its own laws. He says that a state law provides that “criticism and complaints must be examined by state agencies within a period of time established by law.”

However, he laments all complaints sent by the Redemptorists have been met with a wall of silence.

Although the government delegation at the diplomatic confab with the Vatican reported that it is working towards introducing full religious freedom for all Christians in the country, CWNews.com reports that on March 5, local authorities created a No Religion Zone in Kontum.

The United States of America-based news agency reported that Father Louis Nguyen Quang Hoa was beaten after celebrating a funeral inside the zone.

Bishop Michael Hoang Duc Oanh announced in a pastoral letter to his diocese that he is challenging the decision of the local authorities to demand a separate permission for every single religious function to be celebrated within the zone.

The bishop broke such an ordinance at Easter last year and was mocked by an unruly mob as he heard confessions before the Easter ceremonies.

Later he was picked up with another priest and questioned for several hours by local officials.

‘In all probability it will either be sold or used for private purposes, given the hunger for urban real estate that dominates the country in the grip of a robust economic development’

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