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Cablegate: Still No Official Detention Orders for Top Ubcv Monks

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

UNCLAS HO CHI MINH CITY 001010

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/BCLTV, DRL
BANGKOK PLEASE PASS TO DRL/IRF WILL INBODEN

E.O. 12958: N/A


TAGS: PHUM SOCI PGOV PREL KIRF VM HUMANR RELFREE
SUBJECT: STILL NO OFFICIAL DETENTION ORDERS FOR TOP UBCV MONKS

REF: A) HCMC 0993 B) HCMC 1000

1. (SBU) Continuing to work the few remaining telephones that
haven't been cut off or rerouted, ConGen received confirmation
today that Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) Patriarch
Thich Huyen Quang is in good condition at his pagoda, although he
is being closely watched. While neither he nor UBCV Deputy Thich
Quang Do are under written orders of administrative detention,
they are nevertheless being "detained" and closely guarded at
their pagodas in Binh Dinh Province and Ho Chi Minh City
respectively.

2. (SBU) Speaking with ConGen over a landline from his Gia Lam
Pagoda in HCMC's Go Vap District, UBCV General Secretary Thich Tue
Sy said he had been able to reach Thich Huyen Quang earlier in the
day. No one had been in contact with Thich Quang Do, however, and
the doors of his Thanh Minh Zen Pagoda in Phu Nhuan District
remained locked shut. Thich Tue Sy had also learned more about
his own status since yesterday (ref A), noting that he now needed
to request official permission for any travel outside the ward
where Gia Lam is located. He believed he was free to receive
visitors under the terms of his written administrative detention
order. (Post note: Poloff will test that hypothesis over the
next day or two.) He sounded very relaxed and confident over the
telephone, saying, "monks aren't afraid."

3. (SBU) Providing additional information on the recent "illegal"
meeting of the UBCV leadership in Binh Dinh and subsequent events,
Thich Tue Sy noted that Thich Huyen Quang was now officially the
4th Patriarch of the UBCV. (The three prior patriarchs were all
based in Hue and are now deceased.) Thich Quang Do now holds the
position of President of the Institute for Dissemination of the
Dharma, with Thich Tue Sy as Vice President. The three monks were
"elected" to these positions at the recent general conference in
Melbourne, according to Thich Tue Sy, but the decisions were made
in Binh Dinh.

4. (SBU) After the initial incident during which they were
prevented from leaving Binh Dinh for over eight hours on October 8
(ref B), Thich Tue Sy, Thich Huyen Quang, and Thich Quang Do had
all proceeded in a van toward HCMC. They were accompanied by
Thich Thanh Huyen (also from Gia Lam Pagoda), Thich Nguyen Ly
(from Tu Hieu Pagoda in HCMC's District 8), Thich Vien Dinh (from
Giac Hoa Pagoda in HCMC's Binh Thanh District), Thich Nguyen Vuong
(the assistant of Thich Tue Sy), two assistants of Thich Huyen
Quang, and two lay believers from Tu Hieu Pagoda. The group
stayed at the Linh Son Pagoda in Khanh Hoa Province for the night
and was stopped by police near Nha Trang the next morning. Thich
Tue Sy said that he and Thich Thanh Huyen were taken back to HCMC
by police on October 11, at 4:45 p.m. Thich Nguyen Vuong had not
joined the group leaving Linh Son Pagoda and was never detained.
The two believers from Nguyen Ly's pagoda were detained for two
days and released, after which they promptly returned to Tu Hieu
Pagoda.

5. (SBU) ConGen also spoke with Thich Vien Kien, an associate of
Thich Vien Dinh, via a landline at Giac Hoa Pagoda. He said that
police had escorted Thich Vien Dinh to his pagoda on October 11,
at 7:00 p.m. Monks inside saw local police filming the pagoda
from a distance before his arrival. Many plainclothes security
officers remained just outside the premises today. While Thich
Vien Dinh had not received any written administrative detention
order, the Binh Thanh District police had told him vaguely he
needed approval to "travel." They also told him to resign from
his new position as Second Vice President of the Institute for the
Dissemination of the Dharma. The police had advised him that he
would be "invited" to the police station for questioning, but then
visited him briefly October 15 to ask about his health and any
special needs. According to Thich Vien Kien, Thich Vien Dinh is
tired and a little disoriented from the ordeal, but otherwise
healthy. He apparently responded to the police by saying that, "I
am a monk and need nothing but to practice my religion."

6. (SBU) ConGen was unable to contact monks at four different
pagodas in Hue, where UBCV monks have reportedly been under
pressure from police since attending the "illegal" leadership
meeting, with some telephones cut off and others just ringing or
busy. Thich Tue Sy told ConGen that Thich Thien Hanh had already
gone on hunger strike the last time they spoke on October 12. He
said the UBCV was working to get followers in the U.S. to contact
relatives in the Hue area to have them go check on the situation.
YAMAUCHI

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