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Exile exposes Vietnam’s treatment of dissidents

HANOI (UCAN): A Vietnamese Catholic social advocate in exile, Francis Xavier Dang Xuan Dieu, has backed up a claim from Amnesty International that his country is guilty of physically and mentally torturing prisoners of conscience.

During a human rights summit, Dieu described treatment meted out to prisoners of conscience in the Communist country.

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China and Vietnam are unrelated realities

HONG KONG (UCAN): Government-sanctioned Catholic organisations in China held their Ninth National Congress for Catholic Representatives in December 2016.

What is worrying is that this congress claims to be the supervisor of the Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China, while the conference itself claims authority over individual diocesan bishops.

Neither of these two practices are compatible with Canon Law or the doctrine of the Catholic Church.

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The why of Vietnam’s law on religion questioned

HOCHIMIHN (UCAN): The Vietnam National Assembly has ratified a controversial law on religious activities sparking a strong reaction from religious communities.

The Law on Belief and Religion, which was passed by the National Assembly on November 18 is the first ever law on religious activities since the country was reunified in 1975.

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Vatican and Vietnam continue meetings

VATICAN (SE): A delegation from the Holy See, headed by the undersecretary of state, Archbishop Antoine Camilleri, met with a delegation from Vietnam, led by Bui Thanh Son, the permanent deputy minister of foreign affairs, at the Vatican from October 24 to 26 with a view to establishing full diplomatic relations.

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Not quite the heroes

HO CHI MINH (AsiaNews): About a hundred former soldiers of the Republic of Vietnam were welcomed on September 13 at the House of Peace and Justice run by the Redemptorists in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, for a day of free medical services.

Organised in collaboration with local Buddhist monks, the initiative began some years ago. This year, the priests have provided the service on 11 such days.

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Church fights dirty war in Vietnam

HO CHI MINH (UCAN): State media accused the Church in Vietnam of playing dirty pool by attempting to dupe foreign organisations into supporting its observance of International Day for the Environment on August 7 in order to smear the country’s reputation overseas.

The media said that by observing the International Day of Care for the Environment, the Vinh diocese was attempting to cause social disorder by encouraging international criticism to foment internal unrest in Vietnam.

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Rights groups leery of Vietnam’s promises

Phnom Penh  (UCAN): Vietnamese officials visited 125 Montagnard asylum seekers in Cambodia, urging them to return to Vietnam and promising an end to persecution.

The head of the Jesuit Refugee Service in Cambodia, Mercy Sister Denise Coghlan, said that three carloads of senior Vietnamese police and officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs arrived early on June 7 and met with the Montagnards encouraging them to return home with a guarantee of safety.

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Swapping a priest for guns

HANOI (SE): Aware that human rights groups had been petitioning the president of the United States of America (US), Barack Obama, to exert pressure on his Vietnamese counterparts during his May 23 to 25 visit to the country, authorities in Hanoi released long term prisoner of conscience, 70-year-old Father Nguyen van Ly, on May 21.

AsiaNews reported that Hanoi spoke of a presidential pardon for Father Nguyen, who did his first stint behind bars in 1977 and 1978 and his second from 1983 to 1992.

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Priest allegedly attacked by corrupt police

Hanoi (AsiaNews): Father Joseph Nguyễn Văn Thế, assistant parish priest of Đồng Chuong parish, in the diocese of Bắc Ninh, Tuyen Quang province, northern Vietnam, was allegedly attacked by police while on his way to celebrate two Masses in a remote area on May 7.

The priest, who has been boldly critical of the corruption of the local authorities and police, was beaten with sticks and metal bars, sustaining serious injuries to his hands and feet. He has beean hospitalised.

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Rights groups call for release of Vietnamese lawyer

Ho Chi Minh City (UCAN): International human rights and pro-democracy groups called on the government of Vietnam to release a lawyer and his colleague in the lead up to the Communist Party congress which will run from January 20 to 28.

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