Authorities in Nghe An Intensify Crackdown against Catholic Community
By Defend the Defenders
June 4, 2017
In recent days, authorities in Vietnamís central province of Nghe An have intensified suppression against local Catholic priests and followers who are seeking adequate compensation from the Taiwanese Formosa steel plant which caused the biggest environmental disaster in the central coastal region last year by illegally discharging huge amount of toxic industrial waste into the local waters.
On May 28, authorities in Nghe An held a live drill near the Van Thai Church, Song Ngoc commune, Quynh Luu district and sent thugs to beat followers who protested the exercise in which participants learned how to invade the church and suppress parishioners.
On the same day, police and thugs brutally beat Catholic doctrine teacher Nguyen Thi Tra, demanding her to take off all clothes to search her cell phones they suspected that with them she filmed an attack of police officers and thugs against a woman in the Song Ngoc parish.
During the last two days of May, authorities in Quynh Luu district deployed a large number of police officers and militia and thousands of thugs to surrounding the Van Thai Church when priest Nguyen Dinh Thuc held masses there. They caused great noise to disturb the masses and threw stones and brick to local houses. Even they broke in many private residences of Van Thai parishioners and destroyed furniture and electronic devices, including TV sets, computers, washing machines, printers, photocopy machines, and motorbikes.
A number of Catholic followers of Van Thai were beaten.
On June 1, Amnesty International launched a campaign calling international community to write open letters to Vietnamís leadership to demand for immediate and unconditional release of human rights defender Hoang Duc Binh and drop of all charges against blogger Bach Hong Quyen.
Also on June 1, dozens of international and domestic organizations sent a joint letter to Vietnamís senior leaders to demand for immediate and unconditional release of prisoner of conscience Protestant pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh, who is inhumanely treated while serving his 11-year imprisonment in Dong Nai provinceís Xuan Loc prison.
Political dissident Pham Minh Hoang, who has double Vietnamese-French citizenship, is under threat of being extradited to France as the Vietnamese government has revoked his Vietnamese citizenship in revenge to his activities which aim to promote human rights and multi-party democracy in Vietnam.