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Cablegate: Prominent Buddhist Monk Sets Deadline in Showdown with Authorities

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

250205Z May 01

2001HOCHI00632 - UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED PTQ5446

PAGE 01 HO CHI 00632 01 OF 02 250207Z
ACTION EAP-00

INFO LOG-00 AID-00 AMAD-00 CIAE-00 COME-00 SRPP-00 EB-00
UTED-00 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 IO-00 L-00 NSAE-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 /007W
------------------F08428 250208Z /38
FM AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5100
INFO AMEMBASSY HANOI PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY TOKYO
AMEMBASSY BEIJING
AMCONSUL HONG KONG
USMISSION GENEVA
ASEAN COLLECTIVE
USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI
JICPAC HONOLULU HI
SECDEF WASHDC
DIA WASHDC
NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HO CHI MINH CITY 000632

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

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

PAGE 02 HO CHI 00632 01 OF 02 250207Z
CINCPAC FOR FPA
SECDEF FOR ISA/EA/LSTERN
DEPTTREAS FOR AJEWELL
USDOC FOR 4431/MAC/AP/OKSA/HPPHO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM VM RELFREE HUMANR
SUBJECT: PROMINENT BUDDHIST MONK SETS DEADLINE IN SHOWDOWN WITH AUTHORITIES

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

1. (U) SUMMARY: ON MAY 21, THICH QUANG DO SENT A LETTER TO
GOVERNMENT LEADERS IN HANOI URGING THEM TO ISSUE A
DOCUMENT ALLOWING UBCV PATRIARCH THICH HUYEN QUANG TO
RETURN TO HCMC. IN THE LETTER, DO SAID THAT IF THE
DOCUMENT WAS NOT ISSUED BY JUNE 7, HE WOULD GO TO QUANG
NGAI PROVINCE (WHERE QUANG IS BEING HELD UNDER CONDITIONS
RESEMBLING HOUSE ARREST) AT THE HEAD OF AN UNAUTHORIZED
UBCV DELEGATION TO BRING QUANG BACK TO HCMC. ALSO ON MAY
21, DO REFUSED TO COMPLY WITH A SUMMONS TO APPEAR BEFORE A
DISTRICT PEOPLE'S COMMITTEE. HE HAD RESPONDED TO AN
EARLIER SUMMONS ON MAY 18. AT THAT MEETING, THE PEOPLE'S
COMMITTEE HAD WARNED HIM STRONGLY NOT TO CARRY THROUGH
WITH HIS PLANS TO GO TO QUANG NGAI (REF A.) END SUMMARY.

2. (U) THICH QUANG DO SENT A LETTER TO GOVERNMENT LEADERS
ON MARCH 29, URGING THAT THEY ISSUE AN OFFICIAL DOCUMENT
THAT WOULD ALLOW THICH HUYEN QUANG TO RETURN TO HCMC.
(QUANG HAS RESIDED AT A PAGODA IN QUANG NGAI PROVINCE
SINCE 1982 AND IS RESTRICTED FROM TRAVELING ELSEWHERE.)
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 HO CHI 00632 01 OF 02 250207Z
IN HIS LETTER, DO NOTED THAT QUANG, WHO IS 83 YEARS OLD,
IS IN DETERIORATING HEALTH. HE ALSO NOTED THAT IN 1997,
POLICE IN QUANG NGAI READ TO QUANG A DECISION THAT HIS
OFFICIAL TERM OF ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION HAD CONCLUDED.
(NOTE: THE POLICE WOULD NOT, HOWEVER, GIVE HIM A COPY OF
THAT DOCUMENT, AND SEVERAL DAYS LATER THEY RETURNED WITH
FORMS FOR HIM TO REGISTER HIS RESIDENCE IN QUANG NGAI AS
HIS OFFICIAL PERMANENT RESIDENCE. QUANG REFUSED TO SIGN
THOSE FORMS. END NOTE.) BECAUSE OF THAT, ACCORDING TO
DO, THERE IS NO LEGAL BASIS FOR QUANG'S CONTINUED
DETENTION IN QUANG NGAI. DO SAID THAT IF HE RECEIVED NO
REPLY TO HIS LETTER BY JUNE, HE WOULD GO HIMSELF TO QUANG
NGAI TO BRING QUANG BACK TO HO CHI MINH CITY.

3. (SBU) ON MAY 15, ANOTHER UBCV CONTACT TOLD POLOFF THAT
QUANG'S HEALTH WAS INDEED DETERIORATING. HE SAID THAT
PERSONS IN GOVERNMENT BOTH IN HANOI AND HCMC ARE CONCERNED
ABOUT POSSIBLE REPERCUSSIONS BOTH INSIDE AND OUTSIDE
VIETNAM SHOULD QUANG PASS AWAY WHILE IN DETENTION IN QUANG
NGAI. ACCORDING TO THIS CONTACT, SOME GOVERNMENT
OFFICIALS WOULD BE HAPPY TO SEE QUANG RETURNED TO HCMC AS
LONG AS HE RETURNED "QUIETLY." THIS CONTACT SAID THE
PROBLEM WAS THAT QUANG REFUSED TO GO TO HCMC WITHOUT AN
OFFICIAL DOCUMENT ALLOWING HIM TO GO. BUT THE GOVERNMENT
IS HARD-PRESSED TO ISSUE AN OFFICIAL RELEASE DOCUMENT
SINCE HE WAS NEVER OFFICIALLY CHARGED WITH OR TRIED FOR
ANY CRIME.

4. (U) A MAY 16 PRESS RELEASE BY THE PARIS-BASED UBCV
INFORMATION SERVICE REPORTED THAT SECURITY POLICE IN QUANG
NGAI ENTERED QUANG'S PAGODA IN APRIL AND TOLD HIM THAT
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 HO CHI 00632 01 OF 02 250207Z
"THE CIA IS GOING TO ASSASSINATE YOU." A FEW DAYS LATER
ON APRIL 15, THE POLICE TOLD HIM THAT IF HE WISHED TO BE
RELEASED TO GO BACK TO HCMC, HE MUST FILE AN APPLICATION
TO THE HCMC POLICE WHO ARRESTED HIM IN 1982. ACCORDING TO
THE LETTER, QUANG RESPONDED IN A LETTER SAYING, "I REFUSE
TO FILE A REQUEST TO THE SAIGON POLICE, FOR I HAVE
COMMITTED NO CRIME AND WILL ASK NO FAVORS." (THICH QUANG
DO TOLD POLOFF IN A PHONE CONVERSATION MAY 18 THAT QUANG'S
REFUSAL TO APPLY FOR OFFICIAL PERMISSION TO GO TO HCMC
DOES NOT MEAN HE WOULD REFUSE TO RETURN TO HCMC WITHOUT
PERMISSION.)

5. (SBU) AS REPORTED IN REF A, THE DISTRICT PEOPLE'S
COMMITTEE WHERE THICH QUANG DO RESIDES IN HCMC CALLED HIM
IN ON MAY 18 AND ISSUED A STERN WARNING FOR HIM NOT TO GO
TO QUANG NGAI. AFTER TWO HOURS OF DISCUSSIONS, THEY
ALLOWED HIM TO RETURN TO HIS PAGODA, BUT TOLD HIM THEY
WOULD SUMMON HIM AGAIN TO CONTINUE THE DISCUSSIONS. ON
MAY 21, DO IGNORED A SUMMONS TO RETURN TO THE DISTRICT
PEOPLE'S COMMITTEE. HE THEN ISSUED ANOTHER LETTER
PUBLICLY SETTING A DEADLINE, JUNE 7, FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO
OFFICIALLY ALLOW QUANG'S RETURN TO HCMC.


COMMENT
-------
6. (SBU) BASED ON THE UBCV CONTACT'S STATEMENTS IN
PARAGRAPH 3 AND ON THE QUANG NGAI POLICE'S OWN STATEMENTS
ON APRIL 15, IT APPEARS THAT THERE MIGHT BE THE SMALLEST
GLIMMER OF AN OPPORTUNITY FOR QUANG TO RETURN TO HCMC
"QUIETLY." OTHER INDICATIONS, SUCH AS THE WARNING FROM
THE DISTRICT PEOPLE'S COMMITTEE WHERE DO RESIDES, THE
OUTRAGEOUS ASSERTION OF A CIA ASSASSINATION THREAT, AND
PARTICULARLY DO'S PUBLICLY SETTING A DATE FOR A SHOWDOWN,
MAKE CERTAIN THAT OPPORTUNITY IS TENUOUS AT BEST.

RAY

UNCLASSIFIED

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