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Cablegate: Buddhist Immolation in Danang

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


2001HOCHI01040 - UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED PTQ7260

PAGE 01 HO CHI 01040 01 OF 02 050936Z
ACTION EAP-00

INFO LOG-00 AID-00 AMAD-00 CIAE-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
------------------1AD1F1 050936Z /38
FM AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5494
INFO AMEMBASSY HANOI PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY TOKYO
AMEMBASSY BEIJING
AMEMBASSY CANBERRA
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 001040

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/BCLTV AND EAP/PD/MSPEER
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 HO CHI 01040 01 OF 02 050936Z
DEPARTMENT ALSO FOR DRL/IRF
CINCPAC FOR FPA
SECDEF FOR ISA/EA/LSTERN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM KIRF VM HUMANR RELFREE
SUBJECT: BUDDHIST IMMOLATION IN DANANG

REF: A) HANOI 1340 B) HCMC 0734 AND PREVIOUS

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: THE PARIS-BASED INFORMATION BUREAU OF
THE UNIFIED BUDDHIST CHURCH OF VIETNAM (UBCV) AND
SEVERAL INTERNATIONAL NEWS SERVICES REPORTED THAT A
UBCV LAY BUDDHIST SUPPORTER COMMITTED SUICIDE BY
IMMOLATION IN DANANG ON SEPTEMBER 2 TO PROTEST
REPRESSION OF THE BANNED UBCV. BUDDHIST OFFICIALS IN
HANOI CONFIRMED ONLY THAT A PERSON FROM A BUDDHIST
FAMILY IN DANANG HAD COMMITTED SUICIDE BY IMMOLATION
BUT CLAIMED TO BE UNAWARE OF THE REASONS FOR HIS ACT.
UBCV MONKS IN HUE TOLD HCMC POLOFF ON SEPTEMBER 4 THAT
SEVERAL OTHER MONKS IN HUE AND DANANG WERE ALSO
CONSIDERING SELF-IMMOLATION. SUCH ACTS ARE UNLIKELY TO
ENCOURAGE OR FORCE THE GVN INTO DIALOGUE WITH THE UBCV.
END SUMMARY.

IMMOLATION IN DANANG
--------------------

2. (U) ACCORDING TO THE PARIS-BASED INFORMATION BUREAU
OF THE UBCV AND SEVERAL INTERNATIONAL PRESS ACCOUNTS,
61-YEAR-OLD HO TAN ANH (VIETNAMESE NAME ORDER - LAST
NAME, MIDDLE NAME, FIRST NAME), A LAY UBCV SUPPORTER
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 HO CHI 01040 01 OF 02 050936Z
AFFILIATED WITH THE BUDDHIST YOUTH MOVEMENT IN QUANG
NAM PROVINCE, BURNED HIMSELF TO DEATH BETWEEN 3:30 AND
4:30 A.M. IN A PARK IN DANANG CITY ON SEPTEMBER 2,
VIETNAM'S INDEPENDENCE DAY.

3. (U) ANH REPORTEDLY SENT SEVERAL LETTERS TO THE UBCV
INFORMATION BUREAU TO FORWARD TO INTERNATIONAL LEADERS
EXPLAINING THAT THE SELF-IMMOLATION WAS IN PROTEST OF
CONTINUED REPRESSION OF THE UBCV, ESPECIALLY THE FORCED
CONFINEMENTS OF UBCV LEADERS THICH HUYEN QUANG AND
THICH QUANG DO. (NOTE: THICH QUANG DO HAS BEEN CONFINED
UNDER GUARD TO HIS LIVING QUARTERS IN HCMC SINCE JUNE
AFTER HE ANNOUNCED HE WOULD LEAD A DELEGATION OF MONKS
FROM THROUGHOUT THE SOUTHERN PART OF VIETNAM TO ESCORT
UBCV SUPREME PATRIARCH THICH HUYEN QUANG FROM QUANG
NGAI PROVINCE TO HCMC. REFTELS REPORTED ON THE
ACTIVITIES OF UBCV MONKS IN HCMC AND HUE IN JUNE AND ON
THE POLICE AND SECURITY RESPONSE. END NOTE.)

4. (SBU) IN A MEETING WITH EMBASSY POL/C AND POLOFF ON
SEPTEMBER 5 IN HANOI, SENIOR MONKS OF THE VIETNAM
BUDDHIST SANGHA EXECUTIVE COUNCIL CONFIRMED THAT THEY
HAD RECEIVED NEWS FROM DANANG THAT A PERSON FROM A
BUDDHIST FAMILY HAD INDEED KILLED HIMSELF BY
IMMOLATION. THEY DECLINED TO CHARACTERIZE HIM AS A
MONK, AND SAID THAT THEY HAD NO INFORMATION ABOUT HIS
REASONS FOR SUICIDE.

5. (SBU) HCMC POLOFF CONTACTED MONKS AT TU HIEU PAGODA
AND BAO QUOC PAGODA IN HUE ON SEPTEMBER 4 BY TELEPHONE.
THE MONKS ALSO CONFIRMED THAT THE IMMOLATION TOOK
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 HO CHI 01040 01 OF 02 050936Z
PLACE, AND ADDED THAT SEVERAL OTHER PERSONS IN DANANG
AND HUE ARE CONSIDERING SELF-IMMOLATION IN PROTEST OF
THE CONFINEMENTS OF THICH HUYEN QUANG AND THICH QUANG
DO. HCMC POLOFF SEPARATELY CONTACTED MONKS FROM PHUOC
THANH PAGODA AND PHUOC DUYEN PAGODA IN HUE WHO HAD
ATTEMPTED TO TRAVEL TO QUANG NGAI PROVINCE IN JUNE.
UNTIL POLOFF'S CALL, HOWEVER, THEY HAD BEEN UNAWARE OF
THE IMMOLATION IN DANANG.

6. (SBU) DANANG'S DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL RELATIONS
CONSULAR SECTION OFFICIALS TOLD HCMC POLOFF ON
SEPTEMBER 4 THAT THEY KNEW NOTHING ABOUT THE INCIDENT.
DANANG POLICE CONFIRMED TO THE DEUTSCHE PRESSE-AGENTUR,
HOWEVER, THAT ON SEPTEMBER 2 THEY HAD FOUND AND BURIED
THE CHARRED REMAINS OF AN UNIDENTIFIED MAN.

COMMENT
-------

7. (SBU) THE TIMING OF THE IMMOLATION REMAINS UNCLEAR.
SUCH ACTS, ESPECIALLY IF FOLLOWED BY MORE THAT RECEIVE
SIMILAR INTERNATIONAL ATTENTION, WILL BE UNLIKELY TO
SWAY THE GOVERNMENT'S ATTITUDE TOWARD THE UBCV AND MAY
INSTEAD MAKE MORE DIFFICULT ANY CHANCES FOR DIALOGUE.

TANNENBAUM

UNCLASSIFIED

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