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Cablegate: Thich Quang Do's March 29 Letter

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.


2001HOCHI00631 - UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED PTQ5440

PAGE 01 HO CHI 00631 01 OF 02 250206Z
ACTION EAP-00

INFO LOG-00 AID-00 AMAD-00 CIAE-00 DODE-00 SRPP-00 MEDE-01
EB-00 UTED-00 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 IO-00 L-00
NSAE-00 NSCE-00 OIC-02 OPIC-01 PRS-00 P-00 SP-00
SS-00 STR-00 TEST-00 TRSE-00 USIE-00 PRM-01 DRL-02
G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /008W
------------------F083FC 250206Z /38
FM AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 5098
INFO AMEMBASSY HANOI
USMISSION GENEVA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HO CHI MINH CITY 000631

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/BCLTV AND EAP/PD/JMARTIN
STATE ALSO FOR DRL/IRF

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM VM HUMANR RELFREE
SUBJECT: THICH QUANG DO'S MARCH 29 LETTER

REF: A. HCMC 0603 B. HANOI 1208 C. HCMC 0456

1. REF C REPORTED THAT DISSIDENT UBCV BUDDHIST MONK THICH
QUANG DO TOLD GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS THAT IF THICH HUYEN
QUANG, UBCV PATRIARCH, WAS NOT ALLOWED TO RETURN TO HCMC
FROM DETENTION IN QUANG NGAI PROVINCE, THEN DO WOULD GO TO
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 HO CHI 00631 01 OF 02 250206Z
QUANG NGAI HIMSELF TO BRING QUANG BACK TO HCMC. DO MADE
THESE STATEMENTS IN A LETTER DATED MARCH 29. POST HAS
OBTAINED A COPY OF THAT LETTER AND IS PROVIDING AN
UNOFFICIAL TRANSLATION IN PARAGRAPH TWO. ON MAY 21, DO
ISSUED A SIMILAR LETTER, SETTING JUNE 7 AS A DEADLINE FOR
GOVERNMENT ACTION (THIS IS BEING REPORTED SEPTEL). POST
DOES NOT YET HAVE A COPY OF THE MAY 21 LETTER.

2. FOLLOWING IS THE UNOFFICIAL TRANSLATION OF DO'S MARCH
29 LETTER. BEGIN TEXT:

THAN MINH ZEN MONASTERY
MARCH 29, 2001

MR. LE KHA PHIEU, SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY
OF VIETNAM
MR. TRAN DUC LUONG, PRESIDENT OF THE SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF
VIETNAM
MR. PHAN VAN KHAI, PRIME MINISTER OF THE SOCIALIST
REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM
MR. NONG DUC MANH, CHAIRMAN OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF
THE SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM

DEAR SIRS:

FOR GENERATIONS, THE CONCEPT OF FILIAL PIETY - CHILDREN'S
AFFECTION, LOVE, RESPECT, AND CARE FOR THEIR PARENTS - HAS
BEEN THE WAY OF LIFE OF OUR SOCIETY. EVEN AFTER REACHING
ADULTHOOD, VIETNAMESE PEOPLE WHOLEHEARTEDLY SERVE AND TAKE
CARE OF THEIR ELDER PARENTS.

UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 HO CHI 00631 01 OF 02 250206Z
I DARE SAY THAT EVEN YOU WOULD NOT ABANDON THIS
TRADITIONAL PRACTICE, ESPECIALLY IF YOUR ELDER PARENTS
WERE IN A POOR STATE OF HEALTH.

MY PURPOSE HERE IS NOT TO PRY INTO YOUR PERSONAL FAMILY
AFFAIRS, BUT TO DEMONSTRATE IN A PERSONAL MANNER THE
GRIEVOUS ANXIETY THAT TENS OF MILLIONS OF BUDDHIST
BELIEVERS FEEL ABOUT THEIR SPIRITUAL LEADER, THE MOST
VENERABLE THICH HUYEN QUANG, THE PATRIARCH OF THE UNIFIED
BUDDHIST CHURCH OF VIETNAM (UBCV).

THE MOST VENERABLE THICH HUYEN QUANG, BIRTH NAME LE DINH
NHAN, 83, WAS ARRESTED AND PUT UNDER DETENTION BY THE HO
CHI MINH CITY POLICE IN 1982 IN AN ABANDONED PAGODA IN
NGHIA HANH DISTRICT, QUANG NGAI PROVINCE. HE HAS BEEN
DETAINED THERE FOR 19 YEARS, BUT HAS NEVER BEEN CHARGED
WITH A CRIME. BESIDES OLD AGE AND WEAKNESS, THE MOST
VENERABLE THICH HUYEN QUANG SUFFERS MANY SERIOUS
ILLNESSES. ONE PERSON COMES TO COOK FOR HIM IN THE
MORNING, BUT LEAVES IN THE AFTERNOON. IN THE EVENING, NO
ONE IS THERE TO TAKE CARE OF HIM. OVER THE PAST 19 YEARS,
THE POLICE HAVE HARASSED HIM HUNDREDS OF TIMES. THIS HAS
MADE HIM EXCLAIM, "I HAVE NO HOME TO LIVE IN, NO GRAVE TO
DIE IN, NO ROAD TO WALK UPON, AND NO CRIME TO JUSTIFY THIS
INTERMINABLE IMPRISONMENT."

ON NOVEMBER 28, 1997, THE POLICE OF QUANG NGAI PROVINCE
CAME TO HIM AND READ OUT A STATE DECISION DECLARING THAT
HIS TERM OF DETENTION WAS OFFICIALLY CONCLUDED. THEY READ
IT TO HIM, BUT WOULD NOT HAND THE DOCUMENT OVER TO HIM AS
REQUIRED BY LAW. IN DECEMBER OF THAT YEAR, THE POLICE
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 HO CHI 00631 01 OF 02 250206Z
CAME BACK TO FORCE HIM TO REGISTER AND HAVE HIS
IDENTIFICATION CARD SHOW HIS OFFICIAL RESIDENCE AS CHO
CHUA COMMUNE, NGHIA HANH DISTRICT, QUANG NGAI PROVINCE.
BUT HE REFUSED TO SIGN THE DOCUMENTS. HE STATED THAT
BECAUSE HE WAS ARRESTED IN SAIGON, WHEN HIS TERM OF
DETENTION IS CONCLUDED, HE SHOULD BE PROVIDED AN OFFICIAL
RELEASE ORDER TO ALLOW HIM TO RETURN TO HIS PREVIOUS
RESIDENCE AT AN QUANG PAGODA. THE POLICE OFFICER LEFT
WITHOUT RESPONDING TO THIS STATEMENT, AND THE AUTHORITIES
OF QUANG NGAI HAVE YET TO FREE THE PATRIARCH.

UNDER THE GOVERNMENT DECREE ON HOUSEHOLD REGISTRATION AND
MANAGEMENT NUMBERED 51/CP, DATED MAY 10, 1997, HO CHI MINH
CITY RESIDENTS WHO ARE SENT TO PRISON OR WHO SUBMIT TO
ADMINISTRATIVE PUNISHMENTS AT REEDUCATION CAMPS OR MEDICAL
TREATMENT CENTERS ARE ALLOWED TO RETURN TO AND RESIDE IN
HO CHI MINH CITY ONCE THEIR TERM OF DETENTION HAS
CONCLUDED. WE ASK WHY THE POLICE AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES OF
QUANG NGAI HAVE NOT FOLLOWED THIS DECREE, WHICH IS CLEAR
AND SPECIFIC.

CURRENTLY, THE MOST VENERABLE THICH HUYEN QUANG'S HEALTH
IS DETERIORATING. OUR ENTIRE CHURCH AND ITS BUDDHIST
BELIEVERS ARE EXTREMELY CONCERNED. THIS IS WHY I AM
WRITING TO REQUEST YOUR URGENT ACTION. I RESPECTFULLY
REQUEST YOU TO ISSUE A LETTER TO THE PROVINCE OF QUANG
NGAI SO THAT THE MOST VENERABLE THICH HUYEN QUANG MAY BE
FREED TO RETURN TO HIS PERMANENT RESIDENCE IN HO CHI MINH
CITY AS REGULATED BY DECREE 51/CP.
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 HO CHI 00631 02 OF 02 250206Z

IF WE DO NOT RECEIVE A REPLY OR IF YOU DO NOT ISSUE ANY
LETTER TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE REQUEST OF OUR CHURCH BY EARLY
JUNE, I WILL HEAD A DELEGATION OF MONKS, NUNS AND
BELIEVERS TO QUANG NGAI TO ESCORT THE MOST VENERABLE THICH
HUYEN QUANG BACK TO SAIGON. HIS HEALTH CONDITION NOW IS
SUCH THAT HE NEEDS REGULAR CARE AND TREATMENT BY NURSES
AND ATTENDANTS ON A DAILY BASIS.

THE EXILE TO A REMOTE, MOUNTAINOUS AREA OF AN ORDINARY,
GOOD MAN SPARKS ANGER IN HUMANITY. THE EXILE OF THE
PATRIARCH WHO REPRESENTS MILLIONS OF BUDDHIST BELIEVERS IS
EVEN MORE OF AN AFFRONT TO MANKIND.

IF THE MOST VENERABLE THICH HUYEN QUANG PASSES AWAY, I
SINCERELY WOULD NOT WANT THE PARTY AND THE STATE TO BE
RESPONSIBLE TO HISTORY AND TO THE CONSCIENCES OF TENS OF
MILLIONS OF VIETNAMESE BUDDHIST BELIEVERS.

THAT IS THE REASON I WRITE THIS URGENT, HUMANE REQUEST.

RESPECTFULLY YOURS,

BUDDHIST MONK THICH QUANG DO
HEAD OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

CC: THE MOST VENERABLE THICH HUYEN QUANG
OFFICE II OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
UBCV AT ALL LEVELS DOMESTIC AND ABROAD
HEAD OF AN QUANG PAGODA
INTERNATIONAL BUDDHIST INFORMATION BUREAU IN PARIS
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 HO CHI 00631 02 OF 02 250206Z

END TEXT.

RAY

UNCLASSIFIED

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