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Royal tomb bulldozed, family sues investor

Update: July, 30/2017 - 19:00
Family relic: Nguyễn Dynasty descendants by the grave of the lady. Photo courtesy of Phụ Nữ online
Viet Nam News

THỪA THIÊN- HUẾ — Direct descendants of the Nguyễn Dynasty (1802-1945) have decided to take a grave issue to court.

Tôn Thất Viễn Bào, head of the Nguyễn Family Committee that comprise royal descendants, has sued local company Chuỗi Giá Trị Ltd. for destroying the tomb of a wife of emperor Tự Đức to make way for a parking lot.

The committee says the legal action was based on a provision in Vietnamese criminal law on violations relating to corpses, graves and tombs.

The petition also calls for legal action against Huế City’s Centre for Land Source Development for neglecting to ensure a safe corridor around UNESCO heritage sites.

A parking lot is being constructed in the buffer zone between the mausoleums of emperors Tự Đức and Đồng Khánh as well as the tombs of 16 wives of King Tự Đức.

The petition questions a decision by local authorities to move the grave to another place and use the land for a parking lot for visitors to King Tự Đức’s mausoleum which is part of Huế’s beautifully landscaped area.

The conflict between local authorities and the royal family committee has raged for a month, but neither party has been willing to compromise and accept solutions proposed by the other.

On June 21, a bulldozer razed the tomb despite efforts by locals living near the tomb to stop it. Local authorities and Huế Monuments Conservation Centre – the local government body authorised to manage all relics left by the dynasty, had previously denied the existence of the king’s wife’s tomb.

After trucks bulldozed the area, the grave and tombstone bearing her name were found.

Members of the royal family committee had repeatedly voiced their protest against the decision to remove the tomb from its current position. They had warned relevant parties about the tomb, but to no avail.

They said they have decided on the legal suit as their final option.

Emperor Tự Đức (1847-1883), the fourth king of the dynasty, had 104 concubines, and the woman buried in the bulldozed tomb is believed to be a wife of the 9th rank in the hierarchy of the emperors’ consorts. — VNS




Signed, sealed: The petition lodged by by the royal family committee. Photo

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