|Deputy Chairman of the provincial People's Committee, Thai Van Hang.— Photo nghean
NGHE AN (VNS)— A recent dispute between Vietnamese Catholics and local police that escalated quickly into violence was condemned as an "excessive act" by Thai Van Hang, Deputy Chairman of the provincial People's Committee.
On August 30 and September 3 and 4 in Trai Gao parish, My Yen diocese in Nghi Loc District's Nghi Phuong Commune, 1,000 local parishioners demanded that the police release two men arrested in May for public disorder. Dozens were injured in the ensuing dispute.
"The parishioners' activities –surrounding the local government offices, illegally detaining people, assaulting public officials and vandalising property –violated the Criminal Code of Viet Nam and must be handled in accordance with the law," Hang said.
"While performing their task, the police force did not use weapons, in line with the laws of Viet Nam as well as international practices.
" We hope that domestic and foreign media will remain objective and report the case in the most precise manner, and that religious dignitaries will stop trying to incite people into violating the law."
In an effort to consolidate solidarity among religious and non-religious locals and improve their living conditions, the provincial People's Committee sent a document to the Bishop's Office of Vinh asking for collaboration in dealing with the case.
"Soon the committee will propose a dialogue with religious dignitaries about the case, so we can draw lessons together from it and improve coordination in implementing socio-economic development activities in the locality," said Hang.
He added that the authorities of Nghe An had always paid significant attention to socio-economic development and the improvement of living conditions for locals, including Catholics.
"Nghe An province will continue implementing socio-economic development projects in the commune," he said.
All demands met
"All legitimate, legal and realistic demands of Catholics have been met promptly in accordance with regulations."
The incident, he said, was "caused by a lack of legal understanding" as well as "incitement by reactionary organisations and individuals inside and outside the country through several religious dignitaries."
According to Hang, the province has helped to form 23 dioceses and 43 parishes and provided land for expansion to many religious compounds. The province has also approved and granted construction licences for more than 70 churches and other religious buildings. Up to 97 per cent of the religious facilities have received land-use certificates, while 25 others have expanded their compounds. The province is currently considering the expansion of An Ton Church of Trai Gao parish in Nghi Phuong Commune, Nghi Loc District.
Hang praised the Catholic community's numerous contributions to the defence and construction of the country as well as of Nghe An. He called on religious dignitaries to act for the interest of the people, following Pope Benedict XVI's words that a good Catholic is a good citizen.
"Any citizen of any country has the duty to respect the law of that country. We are Vietnamese, so we must live and work in accordance with the Constitution and the law of Viet Nam," he said. — VNS