The International Buddhist Information Bureau (IBIB) has reported that, as in every year under the communist regime, both Giác Minh and An Cư Temples were under siege by heavy police cordoning in order to block both temples from celebrating Vesak Buddhist Calendar Year 2555. Police and authorities also harassed and turned away supporters of the temples. Giác Minh Temple is a regional headquarter of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) Representatives in Quang Nam – Danang as well as the office of the UBCV’s Youth Bureau
All monks, nuns and Buddhist members of Giác Minh temple were placed under house arrest on Vesak day. Police surrounded the temple and arrested those who tried to get to the temple to celebrate Vesask. A monastic member of the UBCV, The Venerable Thích Thiện Phúc was knocked unconscious when he was trying to reach Giác Minh temple; his whereabouts as well as health situation are still unknown.
Phước Huệ Temple in Quang Tri city whose Abbott is the Venerable Thích Từ Giáo, has been harassed ever since Vesak celebration.
On May 19, 2011, a group of local authorities and strangers belligerently rushed into the temple’s monastic guestroom. This unwelcoming intrusion turned a sacred religious institute into a chaotic government propaganda stadium. Monks and Buddhist members at Phước Huệ temple tried to explain and ask these intruders to leave the temple. Instead of cooperating with the request, these people used violence and insults against monks from the temple. One member of the group, a civil defense officer named Hoan struck an elderly woman so hard she dropped down in the front yard under the witness of members Le Van Nho, Nguyen Tuong and numerous villagers.
On May 20, 2011, the Venerable Thích Từ Giáo sent a letter to the Chairman of the People’s Committee of Quang Tri and Chief of Quang Tri’s Police Bureau, protesting against what happened at Phước Huệ Temple as described above. The following is the content of the Venerable Thích Từ Giáo’s letter
THE UNIFIED BUDDHIST CHURCH OF VIETNAM
PHƯỚC HUỆ TEMPLE
10th Ward, 5th District, Dong Ha Province, Quang Tri City
Re: The committee for voting campaign beat up temple members
SENT TO: Mr. Cường, Chairman of the People’s Committee of Quang Tri City
Mr. Dung, Chief of the Police Bureau, Quang Tri City
My name is Bhikhu Thích Từ Giáo, secular name Le Quang Vui. I was born in 1969 and am currently Abbott of Phước Huệ Temple in 10th Ward, 5th District, Dong Ha Province, Quang Tri City. I would like to report the following incident:
At 15:00 on May 19, 2011, there was a presence of the following individuals and a number of strangers whom I did not know:
1- Mr. Hồ Ngọc Việt, and Mr. Đông, police from Dong Ha Province, Quang Tri City
2- Mr. Hoàng Kim Niên, police major from the police station in 5th District, Dong Ha Province, Quang Tri City
3- Mr. Phạm Kim, Deputy Chairman of the People’s Committee, 5th District, Dong Ha Province, Quang Tri City
4- Mr. Mai Châu, Deputy Chairman of Vietnam Fatherland Front, 5th District, Dong Ha Province, Quang Tri City
5- Mr. Trần Hửu Phước, leader of 10th Ward, 5th District, Dong Ha Province, Quang Tri City
6- Mr. Tuấn, Deputy leader of 10th Ward, 5th District, Dong Ha Province, Quang Tri City
7- Mr. Hoàn and Mr. Minh, people’s defense officers from 5th District, Dong Ha Province, Quang Tri City
Your honors: This group of people charged into the temple without permission; and while claiming to be the Committee for Voting Campaign, in reality they behaved like an army many times more violent than the ones previously robbing the temple of its property.
Your honors: the days after Vesak are the time for monastics to gather for the 3 months of Monastic Retreat according to Buddhist tradition. However, the Committee for Voting Campaign converted the monastic hall into an unwholesome marketplace. Obviously we could not let that happen, so we requested the Committee to leave the temple. In order to protect our property and lives, my elderly mother had to lock the gate. Immediately, Mr. Minh, people’s defense officer signaled to Mr. Hoàn in the manner of a thug. In a flash of an eye, Mr. Hoàn was “elbowing and kneeing” my frail mother. Unable to withstand brutal attacks from a young and powerful man like Mr. Hoàn, my mother collapsed right under Mr. Hoàn’s feet. Mr. Hoàn immediately fled through the temple’s gate in front of everybody’s eyes. My mother is still bed-ridden and unable to sit up.
Your honors: it is known that Mr. Hoàn’s family is one of the elements contributing to a degenerating society (specifically, he has a son who committed robberies and is being temporarily held at Quang Tri’s police station)
Thus, we request that you open an investigation into what Mr. Hoàn’s responsibilities are in the People’s Committee for Voting Campaign, or whether the Committee sponsored Mr. Hoàn to rob and destroy our temple.
We are waiting for the conclusion from your investigation into above-mentioned incident.
I wish you all good health!
Dong Ha, May 20, 2011.
(Signed and Sealed)
Bhikhu Thích Từ Giáo