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.
One Catholic reporter, who asked to remain anonymous out fear of being discovered, related a recent incident. “I was about to send an email, when police swamped in. The person next to me had his browsing history inspected. He was even forced to log into his Gmail account for a ‘security inspection’.”
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.