The Redemptorist Province of Vietnam

Urgent Protest Letter


- People’s Committee of Hanoi City
- People’s Committee of My Duc County, Hanoi
- People’s Committee of An Phu Commune, My Duc County, Hanoi

I, Catholic priest Dinh Huu Thoai, Chief of the Secretariat of Vietnam Redemptorist Province, would like to present to you our view points on incidents happening at Dong Chiem parish in the area of An Phu Commune, My Duc County, Hanoi.

According to the report of Redemptorist priest Nguyen Van Khai of the Thai Ha Monastery, and the testimonies of a large number of eyewitnesses, as well as pictures taken at the scene and at the Viet Duc hospital, we have learnt that on Jan. 20, on his way to the church of Dong Chiem, our Redemptorist monk Nguyen Van Tang of Thai Ha Monastery was assaulted by a group of plain-clothes police who stopped and savagely beat him causing severe injuries.

The statement dated Jan. 20 of the archdiocese of Hanoi also states that during recent days, a number of priests and lay people living in or visiting Dong Chiem have suffered the same form of mistreatment.

Along with more than 300 Vietnamese Redemptorists, we protest:

1) The demolition of the crucifix at Dong Chiem. This is a profane act that insults the religious symbol of our faith.
2) The blockade and arbitrary restrictions on freedom of movement, visiting, and praying as an act of communion among Hanoi Catholics. This is a violation of human rights, especially Religious Freedom.
3) The employment of violence to solve the incident at Dong Chiem, in particular the brutal beatings against monk Nguyen Van Tang and other lay people. This is an inhumane act that cannot be acceptable.
4) The detention, and isolation against a number of faithful in Dong Chiem causing extreme stress to our priests, religious, faithful, and to the society as a whole.
5) The distortion of truth on state media such as newspapers and radio outlets.

In line with the document “Viewpoint of the Vietnam Conference of Catholic Bishops Toward Current Issues”, published at Xuan Loc on Sep. 27, 2008, we petition the government to:

1) Stop the distortion campaign on all state media outlets.
2) Cancel the blockade on Dong Chiem, relax pressures on parishioners and restore for them the normal life.
3) Release all detained faithful who have been arrested arbitrarily.
4) Investigate and prosecute those cadres who robbed or assaulted, causing injuries to the parishioners at Dong Chiem, Bro. Nguyen Van Tang in particular.
5) Respect Religious Freedom and the religious symbol of our faith, the crucifix.

We earnestly ask the authorities to listen to people’s legitimate aspirations in order to adjust your behaviour, respect the truth, and bring about stability and prosperity to Vietnamese people.

Sincerely yours,

By Order of
Provincial Superior,

Chief of the Secretariat

Fr. Joseph Dinh Huu Thoai, C.Ss.R.

(signed and sealed)


- Hanoi Archbishop
- Thai Ha Redemptorist Monastery
- The above mentioned
- Archive.

Fr. Joseph Dinh Huu Thoai, C.Ss.R.