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Vietnam rejects 'subversive' cries for religious freedom
    Four religious leaders in Vietnam have appealed to their government to recognise human rights sanctioned by the United Nations.
    Secretary General of Vietnam's Communist Party, Le Kha Phieu warns about "hostile forces" aiming for subversion of order to undermine the socialist regime.
    Our enemies - Prime Minister Phan Yan added - use religion and human rights to sabotage the stability of the regime".
    The four religious leaders who signed the appeal include Redemptorist Fr Chan Tin and Hue Archdiocesan priest Fr Thaddeus Nguyen Van Ly.
    The leaders said in their statement: "After the conquest of southern Vietnam on April 30 1975 the Communist Party imposed inhuman restrictions on religions".
    Their appeal denounces the confiscation and nationalisation of institutions and properties belonging to various religions, as well as laws suppressing and limiting religious activity.
    The religious leaders are claiming total independence for religions in Vietnam and freedom of conscience of every citizen.
    In the meantime repression continues. On 20 December in An Gian province, police used brute force to dispel 3000 Buddhists taking part in public ceremony, to mark the anniversary of the birth of the founder of Hoa Hao Buddhism. Fr Thaddeus Nguyen Van Ly of Hue, who signed the appeal, is still under house arrest. Harassment of Fr Van Ly resumed after he issued a ten point appeal denouncing repression and control on the Church on 3 December 3 2000.