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Nine Hmong Catholics Killed During Mass Arrests in Vietnam

Nine Hmong Catholics Killed During Mass Arrests in Vietnam

Dien Bien Phu, Phongsali, Laos, and Washington, D,C. May 16, 2011 - Vietnam security forces, including over 15,000 soldiers from various Vietnam People’s Army units, backed by allied armed forces from Laos, have sealed off much of Dien Bien province in Vietnam and arrested over 2,400 ethnic Hmong citizens of Vietnam, according to the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) and Hmong and Laotian non-governmental organizations with sources inside the region that borders of Laos and Northern Vietnam. Nine (9) more Vietnamese-Hmong Catholic believers, who were part of a mass demonstration for religious freedom, land reform and an end to illegal logging by Vietnam People’s Army owned military companies, were known killed by army soldiers, and police, as of Monday, May 16, for taking part in the peaceful rallies that occurred earlier in the month.

The beatification of Pope John Paul II, in Rome on May 1 helped to spark the mass gatherings and peaceful, non-violent demonstrations by thousands of Viet-Hmong Catholics, Protestant and Animist believers according to Philip Smith of the CPPA and other sources inside the northern province of Vietnam.

The Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) government in Hanoi has called in army troops to attack Hmong protestors in Northern Vietnam.

“The Hmong Catholic and Protestant Christian believers in Vietnam’s Dien Bein province continue to be wrongly targeted and defamed by the Vietnam People’s Army soldiers and secret police, who are arresting, beating and persecuting them by the hundreds,” said Christy Lee of Hmong Advance, Inc.

“ Ordinary Vietnamese Catholic, Christian and Animist believers, and Vietnamese citizens, engaged in peaceful mass protests against the government for reform are being arrested, tied up and blindfolded, by the hundreds and forcibly loaded onto military trucks where they being taken away and out of the sealed off province,” Ms. Lee said.

“We fear that many Viet-Hmong will be summarily executed after interrogation like the nine Catholic believers who were killed last week by the soldiers and police because of their faith and peaceful appeals for an end to religious persecution and injustice,” Lee stated. “Now, over 2400 innocent Hmong have been arrested on baseless and false charges as many people had gathered initially in Dien Bien to honor Pope John Paul II, and his message of hope to the suffering people and Christians worldwide who are being persecuted.”

“Multiple sources in Vietnam have confirmed that nine more Vietnamese-Hmong Catholic believers, who were part of a demonstration for religious freedom, land reform and an end to illegal logging by Vietnam People’s Army owned military companies, have been killed by security forces,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA)in Washington, D.C.

“Many of our Hmong and Vietnamese sources in Dien Bien province and in the bordering areas of Laos have reported that the beatification of Pope John Paul II, in Rome on May 1st played a significant factor in sparking the mass gatherings and peaceful, non-violent demonstrations by thousands of Viet-Hmong Catholics, Protestant and Animist believers,” said Mr. Smith.

“The Hmong people of the Catholic diocese in Dien Bien were brutally beaten and killed by army soldiers, and police for allegedly taking part in the peaceful rallies that occurred earlier in the month calling for an end to religious persecution, the lifting of oppressive government restrictions on Christian and Animist believers and the celebration of the beatification of Pope John Paul II in Rome on May 1st, of this year and the former Pope’s important message to fearlessly confront government injustice and Stalinist authoritarianism,” Smith commented.

“The Polish Pope, who had opposed Nazi forces during World II, and the spread of Communist totalitarianism and its attacks on the Catholic and Protestant Church , has been a source of inspiration to many Vietnamese, Laotian, Cambodian and Hmong Christian believers by the courageous moral conduct of his life and his profound words to ‘be not afraid' in challenging social injustice and Stalinist regimes around the world.

ENDS

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