VNA affirms no suppression of parishioners

The Vietnam News Agency (VNA) has rejected an information that parishioners of the Dong Chiem Parish were suppressed after they erected a cross on mount Che in Hanoi ’s My Duc outlying district.

Hanoi Big Church in Nha Tho Street in Hoan Kiem district (Photo: VNA)

“Local authorities did not suppress Dong Chiem parishioners,” VNA said in its announcement released on January 15. It also said, “the wrongful information was produced with ill intention to destroy the great national unity”.

The announcement was made in response to the fact that some websites, including the Catholics News Agency AsiaNews, have recently posted ill-informed and distorted information and aggressive comments on the dismantlement of the cross illegally built on the top of mount Che . The dismantling was undertaken by the administration of Dong Chiem village, An Phu commune, My Duc district.

This information has been reproduced by radios -- Vaticana and Maria of the Vatican , sparking misunderstanding among the international public.

VNA has provided an account of the developments as follows: on March 3-4, 2009, Parish Priest Nguyen Van Huu and the Parish Council of Dong Chiem village persuaded a number of followers to illegally build the cross on the top of mount Che which lies on the public land area under the direct management of the An Phu Communal People’s Committee.

Given the work was done without a construction permit from an authorised agency it was a violation of the Land Law and the Construction Law and also contrary to the State’s Ordinance on Belief and Religion.

On March 11, 2009, the An Phu Communal People’s Committee made a written record against the Parish Council of Dong Chiem village on the administrative violation in terms of land management.

In the record, representatives of the Parish Council of Dong Chiem village acknowledged that “the self-erection of the cross made by the Parish Council and some followers is a breach of laws and a violation of the Land Law.”

Consecutively between March and December 2009, the local administration persistently worked to mobilise and persuade Parish Priest Huu and followers to dismantle the illegally-built structure but they intentionally ignored the proposal.

On January 6, 2010, the local authorities of Dong Chiem village dismantled the above-mentioned structure safely, following strictly the procedures stipulated by law. This act was necessary to keep the rule of laws of the State and the municipal construction regulations.

While handling the case, the local administration issued a warning against Priest Huu, accusing him of instigating local followers to infringe laws, embroiling followers from other parishes to Dong Chiem to carry out illegal religious activities, and showing no willingness to cooperate with the local administration to settle the situation.

“ Vietnam ’s persistent policy is to respect the rights to religious and belief freedom of all citizens and concurrently adhere to defending the strictness of law,” VNA said.

Over recent years, religions have been growing robustly in Vietnam , the people have been practicing religious activities fully, and particularly activities marking the Holy Year 2010 have been held widely in the country. These constitute a vivid evidence of religious and belief freedom in Vietnam , the news agency said.

Source: VNA

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