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02/16/2019 Vietnam (International Christian Concern) – In January, local authorities from Ho Chi Minh City and Tân Bình district dispatched hundreds of police officers to tear down the houses in Loc Hung community. At least 112 houses were demolished.

The Loc Hung community is a predominantly Catholic area, where 65 years ago priests and missionaries of the Paris Foreign Missions Society began welcoming the poor, those economically disadvantaged, and former South Vietnamese soldiers to make this place their home.

These residents have been offered compensation but it is too small to enable them to be relocated elsewhere. They went to state agencies to appeal and seek justice and fairness.

According to Radio Free Asia’s report, office director of Ho Chi Minh City’s peoples committee, Vo Van Hoan, told state media on Thursday that the district’s authorities met with representatives of 111 of the 124 displaced families. And 92 of these agreed to accept financial support, while 19 refused the government’s offer. 39 of the 92 families had received their compensation, which cumulatively totaled more than 41 billion dong (approximately $1.77 million in USD).

But a representative from the displaced families disagrees with the official’s claim. “They mix up the number of families they are talking to with the number of families that agree with them,” Cao Ha Truc said. “If they agree with the government, why are they still signing complaints and petitions?”

Land disputes are not uncommon in Communist Vietnam. In recent years, conflicts over property between Catholics and local authorities have become one of the key obstacles to a normalization of relations with the Vatican.

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Author: Anna Grebeniuk

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