SUMMARY OF GOVERNMENT REPRESSION AGAINST THE UNIFIED BUDDHIST CHURCH OF VIETNAM (UBCV) DURING VESAK IN QUANG NAM – DANANG

Authors

Through a document numbered 07011.BDD/BTK signed in Danang on May 19, 2011, the Most Senior Venerable Thich Thanh Quang, UBCV Representative in Quang Nam – Danang and Chief of Youth Bureau of The Institute (The Institute) for the Dissemination of Dharma, reported to The Institute a summary of Vesak in Quang Nam – Danang. The repression and terrorization was concised by the Most Senior Venerable Thich Thanh Quang in the summary as follows:

“On the day prior to Vesak, at Giac Minh temple which is the Office of the UBCV Representative in Quang Nam – Danang, the UBCV Youth Bureau, and Youth Buddhist Foundation, the government apathetically issued a decree forbidding “hanging of banners carrying the symbols of the UBCV, reading of Message or Announcement from Thich Quang Do ..and so on

“At An Cu temple, Son Tra District, Danang, which is the resident of the Venerable Thich Thien Phuc, Special Representative of UBCV Youth Bureau in Quang Nam – Danang, the government violated both the Venerable’s reputation and body, forcing him to commit self-immolation unsuccessfully.

“From above-mentioned incidents, we had reported via Emergency Reports number 1 and 2, the International Bureau of Buddhist Information, on behalf of The Institute and the UBCV, had issued a press release denouncing the Communist government and alerted human rights agencies as well as the international public.

However, the Communist government ignored the public outrage and continued to egregiously violated Vesak like follows:

At Giac Minh Temple:

“On April 14, lunar calendar, a number of Buddhists who had known that the Communist government would terrorize and ban Vesak celebration (like it had done in previous years), went to the temple to page homage to the Buddha.

“All of them had their license numbers written down, their pictures taken like previous occasions. On their way home, however, a number of these Buddhists were confiscated of their paperwork and vehicles with a promised to get them back at police stations. Up to now, many of these Buddhists still have not had their paperwork or vehicles returned to them.

“Many Buddhists told that the government had gone to people’s houses and organized meetings during which they forbade the public to celebrate Vesak at Giac Minh temple as it belongs to the UBCV, a “reactionary temple”, and that the Most Senior Venerable Thich Thanh Quang would be arrested and punished …

“Around 3AM on April 15, lunar calendar, police and people’s security personnel formed 3 layers of isolation, cordoning off all directions to the temples. Nobody in the temple could go outside, and no-one from the outside could get to the temple.

“In the morning of April 15, lunar calendar, all Buddhists from Danang City and nearby districts were blocked from entering the temple.

“In order to avoid unecessary confrontation with police, the Nun Thich Nu Dong Tam, Big Brothers Nguyen Chien, Ho Du, Ho Thi Huong, ..etc guided fellow Buddhists to sit facing the temple’s directory and sincerely pressed their palms together.

“At 8AM, despite being surrounded and blocked by police, monastic members of Giac Minh temple celebrated Vesak with all proper Buddha’s Birthday ceremonies. Especially, Vesak Message by the Most Senior Venerable Thich Quang Do, UBCV Supreme Patriarch and President of The Institute was read to all members, even though the government turned loud speakers from the people’s security office across from the temple to the full volume in order to overwhelm the message’s reading.

“At 2PM of the same day, police and assail teams slowly withdrew from the temple. A number of Buddhists who had patiently waited came to pay homage at Vesak stage erected in the main hall of Giac Minh temple.

At An Cu Temple:

Like Giac Minh temple, on April 14, lunar calendar, police and people’s seuciry personnel surrounded An Cu temple. Nobody was able to enter the temple.

“On the morning of April 15, lunar calendar, when the Venerable Thich Thien Phuc was preparing to go to Giac Minh Temple to celebrate Vesak, he noticed that the temple’s lock were jammed shut with glue in order to prevent him from venturing outside.

“Feeling unjustifified, the Venerable freed himself by destroying the jammed lock. Immediately, dpzens of police and people’s security personnels jumped to vilonently push the Venerable back to the temple. The Venerable hit his head against the wall in protest, but police still did not let him go. The Venerable hit his head against the wall for a second time and he fell unconcious from the injury. A number of Buddhists braved to carry the Venerable into the temple and appled emergency medical rescue. At 11AM, the Venerable regained his consciousness.

“At the moment, Buddhists at An Cu temple are taking the Venerable to see the doctors and seek treatments, however, his health is still not 100%.

For conclusion in the summary, the Most Senior Venerable Thich Thanh Quang wrote:

“With our hearts remain unwaveringly loyal to Dharma, the Nation, and the UBCV, we resolutely denounce inhumane actions that treat religions like enemies, human lives like trash, egergiously violate the rights to religious freedom, and abusing national laws issued by the Communist government itself.”