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Old Saigon Echo website
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Director: Bai An Tran, Ph.D.

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Bishop of Hai Phong in communion with his indignant faithful

Hai Phong Bishop voiced his support and called for justice being done on Peter Doan Van Vuon and his family

 dgm vuvanthien haiphong
 Msgr. Joseph Vu Van Thien of Hai Phong

*In a violent confrontation between farmers and local authorities,
Catholics defended their land with guns and mines shooting at local police
and military on a controversial land revocation. Local bishop voiced great
concerns on the incident.*

In his recent letter dated Jan. 14 to the pastor and the congregation of
Suy Neo parish, Hai Phong Bishop voiced his support and called for justice
being done on Peter Doan Van Vuon and his family, the latest casualty of
the Vietnam government's land policy gone haywire.

Msgr. Joseph Vu Van Thien of Hai Phong, upon hearing the news about Peter
Doan Vuon and his extended family being subjected to a government's
wrongful eviction, sent a letter to Fr. J.B. Ngo Ngoc Chuan, the Parish
Council and parishioners of Suy Neo, Hai Phong diocese to express his
concerns for Peter Doan Van Vuon whom the prelate called "someone with good
background and a zeal for parish religious activities"

Mr. Doan Van Vuon who has been all over the news these days for his
surprised reaction against the provincial government's plan to evict 40
hectares of land he and his family in 1993 had got government's permit for
usage of the area and invested their life savings and loans in building a
levee, transforming the alluvial, coastal line into aquaculture farms in
order to help create jobs prevent oceans fierce storms so devastating to
the area during the monsoon season.

His courageous and selfless action has made him a local hero among many
local peasants and fishermen who have been spending their lifetime battling
the ocean waves unsuccessfully. However when his fruit of labour was about
to bring profit, the local authorities in 2009 arbitrarily decided to
recover the entire farm land. On Nov 24, 2011 they issued an ultimatum for
Doan Vuon to move his business out of the area or face forced eviction.

On Jan 5 the authorities sent armed forces which are supposed to be
deployed during combats and police to enforce the eviction the Doan family
out of their private home which did not locate within the area subjected to
eviction despite Mr. Doan's appeal process being underway. This action was
the last straw that drove the Doan family into fighting back to protect
their private properties with BB guns and handmade bombs which caused
non-life threatening injuries to the military men who trespassed their
properties.

The arrest and prosecution of Doan Vuon, his brothers, his son and nephew
has caused uproar not only among the local residents but also the public
throughout the country, many of whom are influential people such as former
President of Vietnam, Deputy Minister of Nguyen Quoc Thuoc, a former army
general and a Congress member and many intellectuals. They have expressed
their concerns over the infamous eviction for fear it can make bad
impression on the image of the government. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung,
however, has signed a document which called for the local authorities to
"strict handling of people who fight against the law enforcement" and to
"ensure the safety of the cadres, police, and all those who participated in
the process of preventing of fighting against crimes" without any
mentioning about the measures to protect ordinary citizens who are victims
of wrongful eviction.

Bishop of Hai Phong in his letter expressed a humane concern for the Doan
family by sending his representative and the parish pastor to visit and
deliver his gifts to Doan's elderly parents. He called for everyone in his
diocese to "offer support and prayers to the Doan family", and urged the
authorities to "handle the matter in a just, legal manner to protect Mr
Doan’s legitimate rights and honour" as the Lunar New Year is approaching.

In the latest development, local authorities have destroyed Doan’s house
and bulldozed it to take revenge on the casualties of their men.

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