Weeks after the raids and attacks orchestrated by the local government aimed at the clergy and parishioners in Hanoi archdiocese with its stigma still raw on people's mind, Vietnam government has just started a new round of harassments and intimidations this time on the priest and his parishioners in a remote, poor fishing village of An Bang which belongs to Hue archdiocese and located in central region of Vietnam.

Geographically speaking An Bang is about 25 km Southeast of Hue city which had been established since 1571 with the first conversion to Catholicism dated back in 1894. Currently there are 800 parishioners are living and fishing to provide for their families, but they also are active members of the church. These parishioners though scattering around 4 different zones called An Thuong, An Trung, An My and An Bac where they usually gathered at this location during the festive events or religious feasts to celebrate and or worship God.

Due to the swelling needs for religious activities, the church in mid-2007 had petitioned to the local government to get permission to build a stage for religious ceremony at the private property of the late Mr. Le Khinh, a parishioner whose death resulted in the donation of the land by his family. This petition had been returned to the parishioners without any response from the local government. However, the passionate Christians could not wait for the approval, just this year they erected a large concrete cross and a stage where they have been gathering on a regular basis for prayers.

However, the dream of maintaining an active, meaningful religious life is far from becoming reality for the parishioners since the local government learned of their intention to build up the worshiping site. On 9/16/08 the People's Committee of Phu Vang county had asked the pastor father Peter Nguyen Huu Giai and the parish council as well as An Bac's leadership to dismantle the "illegal project" on the basis that it was being built on the reservation woodland managed by the Vinh An People's Committee. A notice was also sent to bishop Stephano Nguyen Nhu The of Hue.

On behalf of his parishioners father Nguyen Huu Giai had protested the demand from the Committee in a letter, citing that the property has legally belonged to Mr. Le Di and his son Le Tuan who had willingly donated to the church. In addition, due to the fact that no response had been issued by the Committee, the parish was forced to make decision on their own to fulfill the urgent needs of religious practice.

To respond, the government on Sep. 26 sent troops in to besiege the site while the faithful were praying. The priest in his indignation has warned the troops “If you're here to remove our cross, there will certainly be bloodshed". Since then, the government has set up to guard posts in order to monitor the activities of parishioners. In addition more traffic police being sent in on Sep. 27 father Nguyen Huu Giai and the parish council members being forced to sign in documents acknowledging their wrong doings such as illegal building the site on strategically reservation woodland, celebrating masses without permission from the government. At such meeting, government officials constantly warned the council members about potential severe punishment for violating the law, in reference to three arsons, which they were not responsible for. But when the (council) members questioned the Committee about the endless accumulation of land disputes that never been resolved as a result of murky land law, the official responded ”Never in this country shall be the right to privately own any land".

The harassment did not end there. Soon the rectory's phone lines were cut off, loudspeaker started to blare everywhere especially around the church during masses, lecturing people on how freedom of religion should be understood and what the current land laws are.

In the following days the harassment continued with rectory's phone service being cut-off, more police sent in to monitor parishioners' activities and movement, even the state media had joined in with a smearing campaign being broadcast every night on local stations in addition to the loudspeaker systems working already mentioned above.

Also there was a letter dated Oct. 19 that came from Forestry service demanding the parish to dismantle the so-called "illegal construction" on the reservation woodland in An-Bac, to which the parish responded with their defiance and determination to keep the project in tact since they have the legal right to do so.

From Sep. 29 - Oct. 18 scores of parishioners have been summoned to the Committee's office for interrogation.

Those were Nguyen Duc Man, Van Dinh Hiep, Phan Cong, Le Van Tuan, Van Dinh Trung, Nguyen Thanh, Pham Xuan Tan to name a few. Others such as Le Ba, Dao Tan Ky being paid with uninvited visits by the police with the attempt to check on their resident status, to sway their opinion against the church on land issue, or just simply to intimidate or badger them.

As of now, from what happened in Hanoi archdiocese, the priest and his parishioners are still hoping for the best while preparing for the worse. Their livelihood being disrupted, their religious lives, and their freedom to own private land also being severely violated for they are unsure when the day the government will use force to destroy their worship site and their cross be taken away just like what was done to the Statue of Pieta in Hanoi Archdiocese.

Regardless of what's going to take place, as father Nguyen Huu Giai has put "We're children of the light, we'll be doing things under the day light" they would put their fate in the hands of God, trusting that He would guide them in the right the direction in this struggle for what is right. What has driven them this far is not for themselves but for the will of God and no earthly power can undo his plan for his faithful.