Lien Tri Pagoda incident: Land clearance for national developments


The incident of removing Lien Tri Pagoda has recently received a great deal of attention – mostly extreme violence and outrage – from so-called activists and religious dissidents inside and outside the country. This once again raises the matter of land clearance and disputes over land ownership between the State and religious organizations. So, this article will give a look at the matter through the incident of Lien Tri Pagoda.
 Firstly, it must be agreed that land in Vietnam belongs to the people and the State, which elected by and represented for the people, takes ownership to serve the national interests and common needs of the country and people. That is in the Vietnam’s legislation, and all individuals and organizations operating in the country must abide by it. Otherwise you can go elsewhere abroad and ask.
 And Lien Tri Pagoda, which is located on Thu Thiem peninsula at 153 Luong Dinh Cua Street, District 2 in Ho Chi Minh city. The Thu Thiem peninsula is a quasi-circular area about 7 square kilometers in area (1,726 acres). The peninsula is carved from the banks of the Saigon River as it meanders its way to the South China Sea. From the air, one can see that the southern tip of the peninsula points to the center of the city. Due to its location, the Thu Thiem peninsula has played an important role in the city’s development in particular and in the country’s in general. So, it’s been selected to be site of an ultra-modern and ambitious upscale housing and financial center development project dubbed the New Thu Thiem Urban Area. For this project to become a reality, several houses and places will have to be cleared away. Unfortunately, Lien Tri Pagoda is located in the area, and it must be cleared for the projects. Of course, the city authority has prepared another place for the pagoda to be rebuilt. On September 3, 2014, the Chairman of the People’s Committee of District 2, HCM City, Mr. Nguyen Cu, signed a Decision to “approve the plan to compensate and support the Lien Tri Worship Establishment in the Thu Thien planned city development zone”. The Decision provides a 5.4 billion VN Dong (USD 275,000) compensation for Lien Tri Pagoda to fund the costs of moving, rebuilding and re-establishing the pagoda and its operations elsewhere. It would be a common matter if some activists and dignitaries of the pagoda, typically the abbot of Lien Tri Pagoda Venerable Thich Khong Tanh, has protested and tried to distort the policy as a crackdown on religions.
A self-claimed religious group called the Interfaith Council of Vietnam, which includes extreme individuals and some dignitaries from the five major faiths of Vietnam – Buddhism (Venerable Thich Khong Tanh, Thich Vien Hy…), Catholicism (Priests Phan Van Loi, Dinh Huu Thoai, Le Ngoc Thanh, Le Xuan Loc, Nguyen Cong Binh), Protestantism (Pastor Nguyen Hoang Hoa, Dinh Uy, Dinh Thanh Truong, Nguyen Trung Ton, Nguyen Manh Hung, Le Quang Du), Hoa Hao (Nguyen Van Dien, Le Quang Hien, Le Van Soc, Phan Tan Hoa, Tong Van Chinh, Bui Van Luoc) and Cao Dai (Hua Phi, Nguyen Kim Lan, Nguyen Bach Phung)– have issued a Joint Declaration to protest the government’s decision to take down Lien Tri Pagoda. They condemned what they called the blatant violation of human rights and relentless suppression of religious freedom by the Vietnamese government in this 2016 announcement.
 Numerous efforts to collect signatures pledging support for Lien Tri Pagoda have been initiated to protest against the government. Religious organizations, civil society organizations, and Buddhists inside and outside of the country have reacted strongly against the government’s decision to take back the land on which Lien Tri Pagoda stands.
 So ironically that something belongs to the State’s administrative jobs now has become an issue of democracy and human rights. One thing you should know that Lien Tri Pagoda is a unit of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam which religion has not been registered to the State, not the Vietnamese Buddhist Church, which has legally been registered and operated in Vietnam for a long time.  The pagoda is where anti-government civil society organizations, even reactionary groups hold many of their meetings and anti-government activities. It is also the location where Venerable Thich Khong Tanh illegally holds his recognition and gift-giving sessions for disabled veterans of the Republic of Vietnam, an old puppet regime in the Vietnam war and distributes offerings or fees to people participating in anti-government protests.
 Lien Tri Pagoda and other religious facilities that are unfortunately located in clearing areas for the country’s development projects should consider sacrifices for the national interests, for the people’s sakes. Is that what religions always claim for?
Religion in Vietnam today looks markedly different than it did 40 years ago. People should come to Vietnam and see how religious freedom has expanded in the last four decades. The Vietnamese government has often paid attention and gathered suggestions to complete the law on religions and beliefs to protect and promote the freedom rights of practicing and following religions.
Vietnam has made significant progress in religious freedom, and that help Vietnam meet international standards on religious freedom. It is also clear that Vietnam want to have good relations with the United States and other countries, and Vietnam knows that religious freedom is an issue that these nations always use to keep pressure on us. So if you don’t believe, just come to Vietnam to see for yourself our progress on religious freedom. Do not only base on what hostile forces slander about that./.
Chia sẻ bài viết ^^
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All comments [ 11 ]

LawrenceSamuels 8/8/16 19:34

In Vietnam, the people hold all ownership rights with the State as the administrator. However, the laws of Vietnam allow ownership of a right to use land. This right is called the Land Use Right.

Deck Hero14 8/8/16 19:39

I think the compensation is reasonable. The government determines land price based on the actual value of the land under normal circumstances. If there is a large discrepancy between their calculations compared to the market price, the Government must adjust the price.

Pack Cassiopian 8/8/16 19:45

Everyone, every organizations, every religions in Vietnam must abide the Vietnamese law of land, and all must be sacrifice for the national interests.

John Smith 8/8/16 19:47

Lien Tri Pagoda and its abbot should consider to remove for the country's and people's benefits.

Gentle Moon 8/8/16 19:49

Investment in infrastructure development is pivotal to Viet Nam's journey towards becoming an industrial nation by 2020, and land clearance is needed for developments.

Jane smartnic 8/8/16 20:39

A major problem with land law, viewed broadly, is that it lack
s a core set of principles related to the definition of rights,
their orderly transfer, and their adjudication and protection.

Love Peace 8/8/16 20:42

Land issues in Vietnam are more sensitive now than at any time since the ruling Communist Party launched its economic reforms (doi moi) in the late 1980s. The government’s ability to resolve these land issues will play a critical both in determining Vietnam’s future political atmosphere and its relations with the West.

Only Solidar 8/8/16 20:43

Land in Vietnam is the property of the people (or government), and there is no legal concept of private land ownership. Under the Constitution, the government is responsible for the allocation of land to individuals and organizations and allows land users to transfer land use rights.

yobro yobro 8/8/16 20:49

Thich Khong Tanh is not just a Buddhist dignitary but also a political dissident which I think opposite to his religion.

Pack Cassiopian 8/8/16 20:50

Conflicts over land clearance and compensation have driven a significant wedge between farmers and the Communist Party over the years. To maintain strong economic growth, the government must provide land for new development projects while appeasing the rural population.

MaskOf Zero 8/8/16 20:54

It's a pity that Buddhism is always a good religion in Vietnam, many Buddhist dignitaries sacrificed their lives not just property for the country's sake.

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