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Cablegate: Protestant Problems in Kon Tum Province

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


2002HOCHI00759 - UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED PTQ7254

PAGE 01 HO CHI 00759 01 OF 02 290756Z
ACTION DRL-02

INFO LOG-00 AID-00 AMAD-00 ACQ-00 CIAE-00 SRPP-00 EAP-00
EB-00 ED-01 UTED-00 HHS-01 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00
IO-00 LAB-01 L-00 DCP-01 NSAE-00 OIC-02 OPIC-01
PRS-00 P-00 SP-00 IRM-00 SS-00 STR-00 TEST-00
TRSE-00 USIE-00 PRM-00 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /010W
------------------D1660E 290757Z /38
FM AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6567
INFO AMEMBASSY HANOI PRIORITY
USMISSION GENEVA
ASEAN COLLECTIVE
DIA WASHDC
NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HO CHI MINH CITY 000759

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/BCLTV AND EAP/PD/KFOSTER
DEPARTMENT ALSO FOR PRM
DEPARTMENT ALSO FOR DRL/IRF

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM KIRF SOCI VM ETMIN HUMANR RELFREE
SUBJECT: PROTESTANT PROBLEMS IN KON TUM PROVINCE

UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 HO CHI 00759 01 OF 02 290756Z
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: AN ETHNIC MINORITY PROTESTANT PASTOR
AND ONE OF HIS CONGREGATION MEMBERS TRAVELED TO HO CHI
MINH CITY TO TELL CONGENOFFS OF AN ASSAULT BY 20-PLUS
VILLAGERS IN THAT CENTRAL HIGHLANDS PROVINCE OF KON TUM
THIS PAST APRIL. THE PASTOR SAID THE VILLAGERS WHO
ATTACKED THEM HAD ACTED ON INSTRUCTIONS FROM LOCAL
POLICE. THE PASTOR NOTED HE WAS AWARE OF THE
SEPARATIST "DEGA PROTESTANTS" IN THE OTHER CENTRAL
HIGHLANDS PROVINCES OF DAK LAK AND GIA LAI, BUT
MAINTAINED THAT ONLY MAINSTREAM PROTESTANTS RESIDE IN
KON TUM. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) ON JULY 24, AN ETHNIC CO TU (KATU) PROTESTANT
PASTOR AND AN ETHNIC RO NGAO (RENGAO) CONGREGATION
MEMBER FROM KON TUM PROVINCE - THE MOST REMOTE OF
VIETNAM'S CENTRAL HIGHLANDS PROVINCES - TRAVELED DOWN
TO HCMC TO TELL CG AND POLOFF OF THE DIFFICULTIES THEY
ARE EXPERIENCING THERE. AN HCMC RELIGIOUS CONTACT HAD
RECOMMENDED THAT THEY TRY TO SEE US. (NOTE: POST IS
REFRAINING FROM NAMING SOURCES IN THIS SBU REPORT.)

3. (SBU) THE PASTOR, WHO LIVES IN KON TUM CITY, SAID HE
HAS BEEN PREACHING TO SEVERAL FAMILIES IN A
PREDOMINANTLY CATHOLIC ETHNIC RO NGAO VILLAGE NAMED DAK
CHACH IN KON TUM PROVINCE'S DAK HA DISTRICT FOR SEVERAL
YEARS. THE CONGREGATION MEMBER, A RESIDENT OF THIS
VILLAGE, SAID DISTRICT AND VILLAGE POLICE HAD GATHERED
THE VILLAGERS TOGETHER ON MARCH 20, TO TELL THEM TO
GIVE UP PROTESTANTISM AND TO BEAT THE PASTOR AND
DESTROY HIS VEHICLE NEXT TIME HE CAME TO THE VILLAGE.
ON MARCH 30, DISTRICT AND VILLAGE POLICE TOLD THE
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 HO CHI 00759 01 OF 02 290756Z
RESIDENTS THAT THEY EXPECTED THE PASTOR THE FOLLOWING
DAY AND REITERATED THEIR INSTRUCTIONS TO "GIVE HIM A
BEATING."

4. (SBU) THE PASTOR AND CONGREGATION MEMBER DESCRIBED
THAT WHEN THE PASTOR CAME TO DAK CHACH VILLAGE ON APRIL
1, ABOUT 20 ETHNIC RO NGAO CATHOLIC RESIDENTS CORNERED
HIM AND BEAT HIM SEVERELY FOR THREE HOURS. (POST NOTE:
POST HAS SEEN PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE PASTOR, ALLEGEDLY
TAKEN AFTER HE RETURNED TO KON TUM CITY. HE IS CLEARLY
HEAVILY BRUISED AND SWOLLEN, WITH WELTS ON HIS BACK,
SIDES, AND BLACK EYES.) THE CONGREGATION MEMBER CALLED
THE PASTOR'S WIFE (WHO WAS 25 KILOMETERS AWAY) TO
NOTIFY HER. THE PASTOR'S WIFE CALLED PROVINCIAL AND
DISTRICT SECURITY OFFICES AND THE POLICE 113 EMERGENCY
NUMBER, BUT THEY TOLD HER IT WAS JUST A MINOR CLASH
BETWEEN CATHOLICS AND PROTESTANTS. THE CONGREGATION
MEMBER SAID THAT WHEN HE AND HIS WIFE TRIED TO ASSIST
THE PASTOR, THEY WERE ALSO BEATEN BY THE VILLAGERS.
THE PASTOR RELATED THAT SOME VILLAGERS HAD APOLOGIZED
TO HIM AFTERWARDS, SAYING THEY HAD BEEN ORDERED TO DO
WHAT THEY DID.

5. (SBU) THE PASTOR SAID THAT AFTER HE RETURNED TO KON
TUM CITY, DAK HA DISTRICT POLICE INFORMED HIM THAT HE
WOULD NO LONGER BE ALLOWED TO PREACH IN THE DISTRICT --
AND IF HE DID, THE LAW WOULD NOT PROTECT HIM. HE HAS
NOT BEEN BACK TO PREACH.

6. (SBU) THE CONGREGATION MEMBER SAID THAT ON APRIL 2,
DISTRICT AND VILLAGE POLICE EXPELLED HIM, HIS WIFE, AND
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 HO CHI 00759 01 OF 02 290756Z
THEIR YOUNG CHILDREN FROM THE VILLAGE. WHEN THEY
REFUSED TO LEAVE, AUTHORITIES DEMOLISHED THEIR HOME
WITH A BULLDOZER. HE PROVIDED PHOTOGRAPHS OF SOME
WRECKAGE THAT HE SAID WAS HIS FORMER HOUSE. BULLDOZER
TRACKS COULD BE CLEARLY SEEN. HE SAID THE POLICE ALSO
CONFISCATED THE "RED BOOK," WHICH PROVES HIS OWNERSHIP
OF THE PROPERTY WHERE HIS HOUSE STOOD. HE HAS BEEN
UNEMPLOYED SINCE APRIL, AND HAS BEEN LIVING WITH
FRIENDS OR RELATIVES FOR A FEW DAYS OR WEEKS, BEFORE
MOVING ON SOMEWHERE ELSE.

7. (SBU) IN RESPONSE TO QUESTIONS, THE PASTOR WAS
EMPHATIC IN ASSERTING THAT THE SIZABLE PROTESTANT
POPULATION OF KON TUM PROVINCE ARE MAINSTREAM BELIEVERS
WHO ONLY PRACTICE PRAYING TO GOD. THERE ARE NO "DEGA
PROTESTANTS" - PROTESTANTS WITH A POLITICAL AGENDA -
ACCORDING TO THE PASTOR. HE BELIEVES PROVINCIAL
AUTHORITIES IN KON TUM REFUSE TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN
"DEGA" AND MAINSTREAM PROTESTANTS IN AN EFFORT TO
JUSTIFY "ELIMINATING" PROTESTANTISM IN THE PROVINCE.

8. (SBU) PREVIOUSLY, THIS PASTOR HAD SENT WORD THROUGH
OUR MUTUAL HCMC CONTACT THAT HE WOULD WELCOME A VISIT

UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED PTQ7256

PAGE 01 HO CHI 00759 02 OF 02 290757Z
ACTION DRL-02

INFO LOG-00 AID-00 AMAD-00 CIAE-00 SRPP-00 EAP-00 EB-00
ED-01 UTED-00 HHS-01 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 IO-00
LAB-01 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-00
G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /009W
------------------D16618 290757Z /38
P 290644Z JUL 02
FM AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6568
INFO AMEMBASSY HANOI PRIORITY
USMISSION GENEVA
ASEAN COLLECTIVE
DIA WASHDC
NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 02 OF 02 HO CHI MINH CITY 000759

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/BCLTV AND EAP/PD/KFOSTER
DEPARTMENT ALSO FOR PRM
DEPARTMENT ALSO FOR DRL/IRF


UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 HO CHI 00759 02 OF 02 290757Z
BY CONGENOFFS TO KON TUM. WHEN ASKED FACE-TO-FACE
WHETHER SUCH A VISIT WOULD BE HELPFUL OR HURTFUL TO HIM
AND HIS CONGREGATION, HE HESITATED. HE THEN RESPONDED
THAT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PREDICT HOW LOCAL AUTHORITIES
WILL REACT TO "INFORMAL" VISITS. HE SAID HE WOULD LET
US KNOW AFTER HIS RETURN TO KON TUM.

9. (SBU) COMMENT: POST CANNOT GENERALIZE ABOUT SYSTEMIC
VIOLENT HARASSMENT OF MAINSTREAM PROTESTANTS IN KON TUM
PROVINCE BASED ON THIS SINGLE FIRSTHAND ACCOUNT. BUT
WE BELIEVE IN THIS PASTOR'S BONAFIDES. ELEMENTS
DESCRIBED IN THIS REPORT - BEATINGS OF PROTESTANT
PASTORS AND FOLLOWERS, POLICE HIRING OR ORDERING LOCAL
RESIDENTS AND/OR THUGS TO DO THE DIRTY WORK, AND
PROTESTANT RESIDENTS BEING EXPELLED FROM THEIR VILLAGES
- ARE SIMILAR TO THOSE WE HAVE HEARD IN NUMEROUS SECOND
AND THIRD-HAND REPORTS FROM THE CENTRAL HIGHLANDS AND
OTHER PROVINCES. THIS HAS BEEN THE FIRST FIRSTHAND
REPORT ABOUT AN ASSAULT ON A PROTESTANT PASTOR IN KON
TUM PROVINCE WITH CREDIBLE PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE.
YAMAUCHI

UNCLASSIFIED

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