According to report from the Institute for the Dissemination of Dharma (The Institute), member temples of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) were barricaded by police on the morning of the student-organized anti-China demonstration in front of the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi and Consulate in Saigon. The peaceful demonstration was a reaction following incidents of Chinese navy patrol vessels invading Vietnamese territory and attacking Vietnamese seismic survey ships.
At Thanh Minh Zen Monastery, numerous uniformed and plain-clothed police barricaded the front gate of the monastery. Two plain-clothed policemen were positioned in the temple’s main hall and observing all activities while 6 uniformed policemen summoned the Most Senior Venerable Thich Quang Do for a “working session”. However, the Most Senior Venerable Thich Quang Do refused to follow that unreasonable and abrupt order.
At 7AM, a taxi came to pickup the Most Senior Venerable Thich Quang Do was turned away by police.
All member temples of the UBCV in the Saigon vicinity were under similar circumstances as Thanh Minh Zen Monastery, especially Giac Hoa Temple, the office of the Generable Secretary of The Institute in Binh Thanh district. Right from very early morning, police surrounded the small road leading the the temple. The Most Venerable Thich Vien Dinh, Deputy President and General Secretary of the The Institute, and two Venerables were trying to catch a taxi when a group of mobilized police in uniform and plain clothes immediately stopped them and ordered the three Venerables back to the temple for an interrogation.
Police followed the Venerables closely to the temple and said “Issues in Southeast Asia sea belong to the government; citizens are not allowed to do anything about these issues. Anyone who has any activity against that violates the government’s principles and will negatively affect its foreign affairs”.
In the phone conversation with Mr. Vo Van Ai of the International Buddhist Information Bureau, the Most Senior Venerable Thich Quang Do said “I am a monk, and I am also a citizen. Nobody can be indifferent when the country’s territory is being poached upon. I am in my advanced years but I am very enthusiastic and confident in young students who are still concerned about the fate of our nation and called on a demonstration to wake up everybody. Therefore, the monks and I want to join and support the student movement. I did not expect that the government ordered police to block people’s patriotism and love for fellow countrymen!”
Around 10AM of the same day, the Venerable Thich Vien Hy had to leave Giac Hoa temple to run an errand. As soon as the Venerable left the temple, he saw two Traffic policemen, one city police named Xuan, 2 district police named Minh and Tot, one Ward’s police named Tun. Additionally, the Venerable heard policeman named Tot say “Lets ask supervisors for authority to arrest this thug!” Police forbade all taxis and motorcycles from servicing the Venerable. When the Venerable protested, police told him “You are not allowed to go anywhere today; you are not allowed to go to either the site of demonstration or other temples. We have isolated all temples!”
Meanwhile, hundreds of students demonstrated in front of the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi, and thousands of students protested in front of the Chinese Consulate in Saigon. One banner reads “China, One Fat, Ugly Neighbor!”