Main case of the month January 2007 Thich Huyen Quang

The Most Venerable Thich Huyen Quang, the head of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV), who has written critically about the lack of religious freedom in his country, has been living in internal exile / house arrest in a number of locations since 1994. His first arrest was in 1977. Despite international attention in recent years, his deteriorating state of health has not led to his freedom.

19 September 1919   Born in Le Dinh Nhan.

1932   Became a monk at the age of 13.

March 1977   Two years after Vietnam came under communist rule, as the second highest leader in the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV), wrote a letter to Prime Minister Pham Van Dong detailing 85 instances of government repression of the UBCV.

9 June 1977   Arrested for this letter of protest together with five other prominent church leaders and charged with opposition to government policy.

8 December 1978   Brought to trial, he was given a two-year suspended sentence for “agitating against the military service law and other social duties”.

October 1981   Arrested for 24 hours because of his continued opposition to the planned incorporation of the UBCV into a church more pliable to government control.

15 February 1982   Arrested for a third time, sent into exile at Hoi Phuoc Pagoda in Quang Ngai province and put under constant surveillance. His name became internationally known when two Nobel Laureates nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize that year.

Since 1982, from his place of internal exile, he has sent out a series of pronouncements admonishing the Vietnamese government to reform its ways. These statements have each resulted in increased persecution by the authorities.


 

April 1992   The late Most Venerable Thich Don Hau, on his deathbed, selected Thich Huyen Quang as his successor at the head of the UBCV Institute for the Propagation of the Dharma, a mantle which he then assumed.

29 December 1994   Public Security forces entered the Hoi Phuoc Pagoda, confiscated all official papers and the seal of the UBCV, and transferred him to a new location, keeping him in total isolation.

February 2003   It was reported that he was prevented from travelling to Ho Chi Minh City for urgent surgery to remove a painful growth near his right eye.

The Most Venerable Thich Huyen Quang is reportedly suffering from serious health problems. He was also said to be suffering from high blood pressure, chronic arthritis and stomach ulcers.

10 March 2003   Finally underwent surgery for the growth on his eye in Hanoi, and was visited by diplomats from the European Union and the US.

2 April 2003   Met with Prime Minister Phan Van Khai, reported to be the first time in unified Vietnam that a Prime Minister has met with the head of the UBCV.

October 2003    Again kept in total isolation in Nguyen Thieu Pagoda and reportedly denied access to medical care.


November 2004   Reported to be gravely ill in hospital after a stomach haemorrhage.

September 2006   Finally allowed to be hospitalized at Binh Dinh Hospital and subsequently transferred to a private clinic in Ho Chi Minh City to receive more appropriate medical treatment.

December 2006   Thich Huyen Quang is under house arrest at the Nguyen Thieu Monastery in Vietnam’s Binh Dinh Province.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions deems the imprisonment as “arbitrary” and in denial of the UN Declaration on Human Rights in its decision 17 May 2001.

Read Thich Huyen Quang’s open letter published in February 2005 here: http://www.queme.net/eng/e-docs_detail.php?numb=350

Thich Huyen Quang is Honorary Member of English, French, Danish and Sydney PEN.

He has been awarded the Homo Homini Award by People in Need – Czech TV Foundation on 9 April 2003.

Sources include Amnesty International and QUEME – Action for Democracy in Viet Nam (www.queme.net/).

Please send appeals:

 

  • expressing concern about Thich Huyen Quang’s health;
  • demanding immediate reassurances on his well being;
  • urging the authorities to drop the charges against him;
  • reminding the Vietnamese government of its commitment to freedom of expression as guaranteed by the Vietnamese Constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Vietnam is a signatory.

 

Appeals to be sent to:

His Excellency Tran Duc Luong

President, Socialist Republic of Vietnam

C/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Hanoi

Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Prime Minister Phan Van Khai

1 Hoang Hoa Tham Street

Hanoi

Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Pham Quang Nghi

Minister of Culture and Information

1 Hoang Hoa Tham Street

Hanoi

Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Please note that the Vietnamese authorities have no fax addresses, therefore you might want to ask the representative of your country to forward your letters.

The Vietnamese representative in the UK is:

HE Mr Trinh Duc Du

Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

12-14 Victoria Road

London W8 5RD

Fax: 020 7565 3853

Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/prisoners/thichhuyenquang/

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