Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

50 Buddhist Clergy Demonstrate in Hanoi

As reported by International Buddhist Information Bureau, on July 6th over fifty monks and nuns participated in a protest held outside the People’s Supreme Organ of Supervision and Control in Hanoi. The demonstration was the first time members of the Buddhist clergy have protested in the capital over human rights concerns.

The recent death of the Buddhist monk, Very Venerable Thich Duc Chinh, was the main issue that sparked the demonstration; Chinh was beaten to death while in prison. In addition, the protest was held to draw attention to the unfair arrests and subsequent mistreatment of other Buddhist monks and Buddhist followers that have been occurring since 2003.

According to this piece,

“Venerable Thich Tam Thuong, 33, told foreign media correspondents that nine Buddhists (four monks, four lay-men and one lay-woman) were arrested by Police in Bac Giang province in late 2003 and early 2004 on false accusations of stealing 27 Buddhist statues. Police brutally tortured the men to extract “confessions.” 70-year-old Very Venerable Thich Duc Chinh (secular name Phan Huu Huong) died in Xa Prison, Bac Giang as a result of severe beatings. ‘We eight people were beaten in different ways,’ said Thich Tam Thuong. ‘They hung me up and beat me on the chest, in the stomach and even the genitals.’ Thich Nguyen Kien, 44, was stripped naked and beaten on the genitals. He was also suspended by his feet, and Police smashed his head against the wall. Lay-Buddhist Pham Manh Hung, 37, was handcuffed and suspended, and showed media correspondents the scars on his wrists. ‘They forced us to plead guilty’ said lay-Buddhist Duong Phuc Thinh.

“These recent acts of religious persecution, as well as on-going harassment of members of 13 UBCV Provincial Representative Boards justifies Vietnam’s designation by the US State Department’s as a “Country of Particular Concern” for violations of religious freedom.”

To read this article in full, click here


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