WASHINGTON DC Jan 13 -- Today, Congressman Anh “Joseph” Cao (LA-2) condemned the recent violent and repressive actions of the Vietnam government against the Dong Chiem Catholic Church in Hanoi, Vietnam.

According to reports from the BBC, AFP and Catholic News Services among others, an estimated 600 to 1000 heavily armed police moved in to the Nui Tho cemetery early January 6, 2010 morning and used explosives to demolish the crucifix on the premises.

Parishioners were severely beaten when they tried to stop the government forces from the violent actions. Some parishioners sustained serious injuries and had to be hospitalized.

“I was extremely alarmed and shocked by the disturbing news of the Vietnam communist government’s actions against the Dong Chiem Catholic church and its parishioners.

“Such violence is has been a pattern of the Vietnam government for years and run counter to the government claims that they are increasing freedom and democracy.

“Last September, about 1500 police and government thugs surrounded and took over the school of Loan Ly Catholic church in Hue.

“Last October, the government resorted to similar tactics against the Bat Nha monastery and violently evicted 400 monks and nuns from this Buddhist temple.

“Last November, the Lady of Lavang statue of Bau Sen Catholic church cemetery was bulldozed.

“I have and will continue to condemn such brutality and call on the Vietnam Government to stop all violence against all people of all religions.”