Bishop Joseph Nguyen Chi Linh of Thai Hoa diocese concelebrated Mass for protestors with Bishop Paul Cao and Bishop Joseph Dang Duc Ngan of Lang Son who has been among the protestors since last Friday. “We are here to show our communion with you,” said Bishop Joseph Nguyen in his sermon. He asked everyone to pray intensely “for those who were arrested and for those who have been harassed somehow by the government.” Thousands of Catholics in nearby provinces had to ride bicycles to Thai Ha after their buses were forced to return by police. Correspondents in Vietnam report that plain clothed police are hunting for Catholic reporters who have informed to the outside world developments of the protest. Internet Café have been raided since Monday. “I was about to send an email,” said a source who has requested anonymity for her own safety, “when police swamped in. The person next to me had his browsing history inspected. He even was forced to log-in his Gmail account for ‘security inspection’.” Vietnam is closely monitoring reports of Catholic outlets on the protests. “VietCatholic News is completely firewalled. Other Catholic sites are still accesible. But you are in serious trouble should your browsing history include Asia-News, Catholic News Agency, Catholic World News, Independent Catholic News, Zenit...just to name a few” the source warned.
Thousands of Catholics in Hanoi are continuing their peaceful protests asking for the return of their land illegally seized by the Vietnamese government. Worried about the international exposure of their tactics, the police are engaging in a campaign against journalists and foreign media. With tensions simmering between the police and the Catholic protestors, the government has spent the better part of the past month using its influence in the state media to spread false accusations, defame parishioners, their priests, and the Church as a whole. False priests and people who aren’t even Catholics have also been trotted out for TV interviews, radio, and newspapers. The police have even gone so far as to physically attack some of the protestors, local sources report.
Realizing that their efforts to distort the Catholic protests are not succeeding when it comes to international news outlets, such as CNA, the Vietnamese police have made internet reporting a crime and have organized a manhunt for Catholic reporters. One source informed CNA that plain-clothed police are hunting for Catholic reporters who have corresponded with media outlets regarding developments of the protests. The Vietnamese government is closely monitoring reports of Catholic outlets on the protests. “You are in serious trouble should your browsing history include Asia-News, Catholic News Agency, Catholic World News, Independent Catholic News, VietCatholic News, Zenit...just to say a few names,” the source warned.
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