A Buddhist delegation visited Thai Ha to comfort parishioners whose chapel had been attacked by local government. Staff from Hanoi US Embassy also came to evaluate the destruction of the chapel.

For the first time in the history of Hanoi Redemptorist Monastery, Redemptorists greeted a delegation of Buddhists who came to visit and console parishioners who had been attacked by government forces on Saturday Nov. 15.

During the meeting on Wednesday Nov. 19, the leader of the Buddhist delegation told Fr. Matthew Vu Khoi Phung, the Superior of the monastery, that they only could learned about the attack after the New Hanoi newspaper published a statement from Le Dung, the spokesperson of Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs to foreign correspondent. The paper reported that Dung had denied the attack at Thai Ha saying that “no government forces attacked Thai Ha parish area” on Saturday night.

They got shocked at the violence organized by Vietnam government, and wanted to show their solidarity with Thai Ha’s Catholics through their visit.

Buddhists have been subjected to Vietnamese government’s persecution for ages. Their Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV), which claims to represent 80% of the Buddhists living in Vietnam, was outlawed in 1981 because of its refusal to follow the dictates of the government. Many leaders of UBCV have been jailed or under house arrested for years.

The arbitrary attack at Thai Ha has raised great concerns for religion groups in Vietnam for their security. “Catholics are well-organized. They have their Vatican to speak on behalf of them, to defend for them. Now, they are persecuted openly right in the capital. How about us and religion groups that have no one to count on?” a Buddhist said to Asia-News.

Before meeting with the Buddhist delegation, Fr. Mathew Vu also met with Mr. Marchant Christian, staff of Hanoi US Embassy who came to evaluate the destruction of Saint Gerardo Chapel. He had a long talk with Redemptorists on the incident.