Ministry clarifies church’s complaint on land grab

Construction has been stopped and local authorities will review illegal encroachment on disputed land near Thai Ha Church, Hanoi, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It was in response to a foreign correspondent’s question about a candlelight prayer at the church on April 25.

Le Dung,  ministry spokesman, asserted that the Hanoi People’s Committee has only received one letter, requesting the local government to intervene and stop illegal construction on the land and for it to be given back to Thai Ha Parish.

The letter was lodged by Father Nguyen Khoi Phung, parish priest of the church, but no other letter or petition has been added by parishioners, the spokesman said.

The Hanoi People’s Committee has requested the Dong Da District People’s Committee to take the complaint into consideration and provide Fr. Phung with its opinion on the issue.

At the same time, all construction on the must stop and local authorities asked to prevent people from illegally encroaching on the land.

The spokesman also responded to an article written by Fr. Khai on the Redemptorist congregation’s website, saying although issued by a priest, the content had nothing to do with the religious issues.

The article distorted the truth, said the spokesman, and falsely accused the regime. Its purpose was to incite parishioners to gather for collective prayer on April 25, in order to claim back land near Ba Giang lake.

The announcement was in contradiction to official statements previously made by the Vietnamese Bishops Council, stressed the spokesman.  

By staff writers – Translated by Phuong Lan

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