38 Ky Dong Street,

District 3, Hochiminh City – VIETNAM


Ky Dong, 07 January 2008




Dear Confreres,

As you may have known about the event that took place yesterday – 06 January 2008 - in our Redemptorist Monastery in Hanoi, wherein the local government of Dong Da district has publicly provided more than a hundred police, security personnel, building inspectors, officers, etc... in order to protect Chien Thang Sewing Company’’s illegal construction on our land that is still in dispute. The land originally belongs to our monastery and the parish of Thai Ha.

Therefore, I am writing this letter to you all in the province, firstly to ask you to pray earnestly, to act moderately and wisely when we are confronting the difficult task of our confreres in Hanoi community.

Secondly, I would like to inform you about the history and the present situation of the land which is under care and managed by Hanoi monastery but has been confiscated illegally by the local government. This kind of action goes against the law of the current government.

In 1928, Bishop Francois Chaize, the Administrator of Hanoi bought the land, approximately (400m x 150m) 61.455 square meters, on our behalf. The land was on 6th street, now it is Nguyen Luong Bang town.

The Redemptorists began to live here on September 26, 1928, from that time onward, they had constructed buildings and began serving the parishioners in that area. From 1939, the Church local authority of Hanoi had established Thai Ha parish and has entrusted it to the pastoral care of the Redemptorists until now. The monastery and the parish has always belonged to us as our own property and we have the legal right to use the land and all its buildings as normal.

From 1959, after the Apostolic Nuncio had been moved out of Hanoi and all the Redemptorist foreign missioners had been expelled from Hanoi, a lot of our land had been illegally occupied and had been unjustly confiscated. For example, 16.362 square meters of land belongs to the monastery and parish, consisting of parish hall, swimming pool, animal farm and other facilities had been unlawfully seized by wool carpet manufacturer. This firm has been incorporated into Chien Thang Sewing Company on March 25, 1994. On several occasions, the illegal occupants have tried to divide the land and make it their own private property. At present, this land has been already occupied by many illegal tenants. Particularly from middle of 2006, the Chien Thang Sewing Company began to demolish some of the buildings which have been built earlier on the property by the church of Thai Ha. We have also been told that they did divide the land and sold it to different private owners for their own benefit.

When confronting with this reality, from 1996, many times Thai Ha’s parish had formally lodged an application to complain and suggested that the government get to the bottom of the problem, however there was no answer.

Recently, on January 05, 2007, the church of Thai Ha has formally submitted a complaint to the Vietnamese Prime Minster, the Minister of Resource and Environment, the President of People’s Committee of Hanoi city, making a request that they would return the land to the church.

On April 04, 2007, The People’s Committee of Hanoi city has formally replied in a letter which informs that they have authorized the People’s Committee of Dong Da district, the Ministry of Environment, the Housing Commission and the Committee of Religion to deal with the church’s complaint.

On May 07, 2007, the Ministry of Environment and the Housing Commission has formally answered in a letter, which said, the returning of the land that is being used and managed by Chien Thang Sewing Company to the church of Thai Ha has no legal ground to answer.

On May 16, 2007, We - the Redemptorists in Thai Ha - have resubmitted the complaint for a second time to the Vietnamese Prime Minster and the central government and also the local government, in order to repeat our request. So far there has been no answer.

During this time, on June 08, 2007, there were about a hundred parishioners went to the People’s Committee of Hanoi city, carrying banners and demanded the Secretary of the People’s Committee of Hanoi city to resolve the land issue which has been disputed between Thai Ha’s parish and Chien Thang Sewing Company. We (The Redemptorists and their parishioners) have determined to get back the land, because, earlier, we have intended to build a church on this property, we have already drawn the plan. However, we have not been able to start construction yet, due to circumstances; meanwhile the land has been illegally occupied.

One July 06, 2007, again there were about a hundred parishioners carrying the banners and went to the People’s Committee of Hanoi city, continuing to demand that the land which has been illegally occupied by Chien Thang Sewing Company must return to the church.

On December 03, 2007, the parishioners of Thai Ha have discovered that Chien Thang Sewing Company has unlawfully constructed a building during night time, therefore they have protested against the company. Chien Thang Company has agreed to stop awaiting the case to be resolved by local authority. From this time onward, the parishioners have been always present at the site, day and night, in order to protect church’s property. The local government has worked with the parish and the company to make sure that the land will not be developed any further.

Nevertheless, during the last few days the local government has publicly and unreservedly brought police to the site, in order to protect Chien Thang Company’s construction. Our Redemptorist confreres in Hanoi and their parishioners have responded by gathering people to pray at the construction site, asking the government to respect fairness and put justice into practice.

I would earnestly implore all of you, the whole province of Vietnam, to be in solidarity with our brother Redemptorists in Hanoi, in order to pray for our common apostolate. I ask you to inform your community, your parishes, which you are in charge of, and invite the people of God to pray for us in a united spirit. You or your own community may like to send your letter to the confreres in Hanoi which express your brotherly love and in solidarity with these confreres in their difficulty. May you do all that you can to collaborate with the province and to support the community in Hanoi.

We put our trust in God who is always on the side of those whose have been oppressed, and who is ever ready to respond to the cry of the poor, and the supplication of unfortunate people. Therefore, let’s be constant and firm and completely entrusted ourselves to Christ – the Redeemer, and his Mother Mary, Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

With this confidence, let us be united together in our brotherly love and in our communion and solidarity with one and another.

Fraternally in JMJA.

Rev. Fr. Joseph CAO Dinh Tri, C.Ss.R

Provincial of Vietnam