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TLH
03-13-2009, 01:51 PM
Update on the situation of UBCV leader Thich Quang Do. Y Lan (Radio Free Asia) author
by Viet-Am Review on Wed 11 Mar 2009 07:58 AM PDT
PARIS, 11 March 2009 (IBIB) - Patriarch Thich Quang Do, leader of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, 80, remains under effective house arrest at the Thanh Minh Zen Monastery in Saigon. On 26th February 2009, Thich Quang Do received a visit from Ms. Katia Bennett, Political Officer of the U.S. Consulate in Saigon. During the meeting, he described government strategies to suppress the outlawed UBCV, ranging from blatant repression to subtler forms of infiltration, isolation and “divide to rule”. He also expressed his concerns about U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s remarks on human rights during her trip to China. The International Buddhist Information Bureau publishes Thich Quang Do’s account of the meeting transcribed from an interview with Radio Free Asia’s Vietnamese Service, broadcast on 28th February. Moreover, Thich Quang Do is nominated for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. Over a hundred international personalities, including members of the US Congress, the European Parliament, Senators and MPs from Italy, Great Britain, France, as well as University professors and former ministers from Albania, Croatia, Kosovo etc, sent nomination letters to the Nobel Institute in Norway. We quote some of the letters and messages of support for Thich Quang Do in his efforts for religious freedom, democracy and human rights in Vietnam: “Thich Quang Do’s selfless actions in pursuit of human rights in Vietnam have brought him great personal hardship. His advocacy for liberty is of historic proportions and deserves to be recognized by members of your Committee” (Letter to the Nobel Committee, Ed Royce, Loretta Sanchez, Anh Joseph Cao, Zoe Lofgren, members of the US Congress). “We know that there is courage, strength and hope in the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people. Amongst the world’s greatest heroes is the Most Venerable Thich Quang Do, the 2006 Rafto Prize laureate. He is a shining example representing the noblest values of human beings. His courage, moral standards and persistence are a source of inspiration for all people around the globe” (Arne Lynngård, Chairman of the Rafto Prize Committee, Norway). INTERVIEW WITH kATIA bENNETT, POLITICAL SECRETARY OF THE UNITED STATES CONSULATE IN SAIGON, regarding remarks about Human Rights made by Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. OPEN ARTICLE TO CONTINUE: “In March 2007, I had the greatest honour of meeting Thich Quang Do in person in his pagoda. Sadly, the meeting only lasted a few minutes, because the Police came and took us away. But I will always carry with me the deeply moving experience of being close to one of the greatest spirits among human beings. Thich Quang Do’s unique charisma, his character and his lifelong effort places him as one of the most prominent human rights advocates of all times”. (Therese Jebsen, Executive Director, Rafto Foundation, Norway). “I tried to visit Thich Quang Do to thank him for his combat, his life, his force. I am proposing him for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, and I have proposed him for the EP Sakharov Prize, for he is truly worthy of it. But Hanoi was afraid. Thich Quang Do has such power, despite his age. Hanoi is afraid to let people meet him and feel this power. Yes, Hanoi’s bureaucrats were afraid to let us meet. But we will meet, that’s for sure !”. (Marco Pannella, MEP on Radio Free Asia).