The Most Senior Venerable Thich Quang Do and monastic members of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) once again planned to support and join the protest organized by students and pupils on Sunday June 12, 2011 in Saigon to denounce China’s invasion of Vietnamese territory.
However, at very early morning, all temples that belong to the UBCV in provinces and districts in Saigon were cordoned off by an overwhelmingly large force of public security, especially at Thanh Minh Zen Monastery and Giac Hoa Temple. Police prohibited all UBCV members from leaving entering their temples and going to Thanh Minh Zen Monastery to take the Most Senior Venerable Thich Quang Do to the protest site.
Meanwhile, upon returning to Saigon at 7AM from his charity trip to visit leprosy patients in Quy Nhon, the Most Senior Venerable Thich Khong Tanh planned to catch a ride to the protest site near the former Independence Hall. When the Most Senior Venerable arrived at the protest site, he was surrounded by numerous police and consequently arrested. The police forced the Most Senior Venerable Thich Khong Tanh onto a taxi and took him to the Public Security Bureau in the 1st District. By 11AM, police moved the Most Venerable Thich Khong Thanh to Public Security Bureau in 2nd District. At this location, police interrogated the Most Senior Venerable and released him at 8PM.
The following is a summary of the interrogation of the Most Senior Venerable Thich Khong Tanh (Venerable) by Colonel Xuan (Xuan), City Public Security of Saigon city in charge of religions.
Xuan: Why are you joining to support the protest?
Venerable: Supporting students and pupils in their protest against China is a right thing to do, why are you arresting me instead?
Xuan: The government already has policies and strategies. People cannot do whatever they want.
Venerable: What strategies that let to the loss of land and sea territories, Nam Quang Pass, Ban Gioc Falls, Paracel Islands? What strategies that allow China to kill fishermen, kidnap people for ransom throughout decades?
Xuan: But you have to obey the government’s laws if you want to do anything!
Venerable: The government was arbitrarily erected by you people; and then it setup ambiguous laws, so you have to obey those laws. I did not elect this government, why tell me to obey its laws?
Xuan: The Most Senior Venerables Tri Tinh, Minh Chau ..and so on, have followed the Government’s Buddhist Church. Why do only a small number of monk keep being faithful to the UBCV?
Venerable: There’s nothing to talk about those Venerables who sold the UBCV to the regime.
Xuan: Why do you listen to Mr. Quang Do?
Venerable: So I have to listen to the Communists instead?
Xuan: If you keep protesting against the government, you will be arrested.
Venerable: Arrest me if you want to.
Xuan: You will be arrested in a few years. In the near future, what is the UBCV’s personnel plan like?
Venereable: That is our internal business; you don’t have to know that.
Xuan: Can you let me know your solution to address the current situation in our country?
Venerable: Very easy. If the government would please implement the following 4 points:
- Restore the UBCV’s legal rights and rights to function.
- Follow a system of multi-party, pluralism; respect freedom, democracy, and human rights.
- Release all political and religious prisoners.
- Support students and pupils, lean on people’s power to fend off foreign invasion and protect the country.