US embassy cable - 01HOCHIMINHCITY603

UPDATE ON ARREST OF DISSIDENT CATHOLIC PRIEST AND THREATS TO BUDDHIST, HOA HAO DISSIDENTS

Identifier: 01HOCHIMINHCITY603
Wikileaks: View 01HOCHIMINHCITY603 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Consulate Ho Chi Minh City
Created: 2001-05-18 10:27:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Tags: PHUM VM HUMANR RELFREE
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

181027Z May 01

2001HOCHI00603 - UNCLASSIFIED
 
 
 
                           UNCLASSIFIED     PTQ7454

PAGE 01        HO CHI  00603  01 OF 02  181255Z 
ACTION EAP-00   

INFO  LOG-00   AID-00   AMAD-00  CIAE-00  INL-00   SRPP-00  DS-00    
      EB-00    EUR-00   UTED-00  H-01     TEDE-00  INR-00   IO-00    
      LAB-01   L-00     NSAE-00  OIC-02   OPIC-01  PRS-00   P-00     
      SCT-00   SP-00    SSO-00   SS-00    STR-00   TEST-00  TRSE-00  
      USIE-00  SNIS-00  NISC-00  DSCC-00  PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     
      NFAT-00  SAS-00     /008W
                  ------------------ED8E26  181256Z /38    
FM AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5075
INFO AMEMBASSY HANOI IMMEDIATE 
NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY TOKYO 
AMEMBASSY BEIJING 
AMEMBASSY ROME 
AMCONSUL HONG KONG 
USMISSION GENEVA 
ASEAN COLLECTIVE
JICPAC HONOLULU HI
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HO CHI MINH CITY 000603 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
PAGE 02        HO CHI  00603  01 OF 02  181255Z 
STATE FOR S/S-O, P, EAP, EAP/BCLTV AND EAP/PD/JMARTIN 
STATE ALSO FOR DRL/IRF, DRL/BA AND PRM 
CINCPAC FOR FPA 
SECDEF FOR ISA/EA/LSTERN 
ROME PLEASE PASS VATICAN 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PHUM, VM, HUMANR, RELFREE 
SUBJECT: UPDATE ON ARREST OF DISSIDENT CATHOLIC PRIEST AND THREATS TO BUDDHIST, HOA HAO DISSIDENTS 
 
REF: HANOI 1208 
 
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: AS REPORTED REFTEL, POLICE IN THUA-THIEN 
HUE PROVINCE ARRESTED FATHER LY ON MAY 17.  VIETNAM NEWS 
MEDIA REPORTED THE ARREST, INCLUDING SOME FOOTAGE SHOWN ON 
A LOCAL PROVINCIAL NEWS CHANNEL.  THERE ARE CONFLICTING 
REPORTS ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT PARISHIONERS ATTEMPTED TO 
PREVENT THE ARREST AND WHETHER OR NOT POLICE MET THESE 
ATTEMPTS WITH VIOLENCE.  ON MAY 18, THICH QUANG DO WAS 
SUMMONED TO A DISTRICT PEOPLE'S COMMITTEE IN HCMC. 
AUTHORITIES ALLOWED HIM TO RETURN TO HIS PAGODA AFTER TWO 
HOURS OF QUESTIONING.  BUT THE WARNED HIM NOT TO MAKE A 
PLANNED CONTROVERSIAL VISIT TO QUANG NGAI PROVINCE IN 
JUNE.  HOA HAO ELDER LE QUANG LIEM REMAINS UNDER HOUSE 
ARREST AT HIS HOME IN HCMC.  CONTRARY TO INDICATIONS 
REPORTED IN REFTEL, IT APPEARS THAT LIEM IS NOT IN DANGER 
OF ANY FURTHER POLICE ACTIONS AT THIS TIME.  END SUMMARY. 
 
ARREST OF FATHER LY 
------------------- 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
PAGE 03        HO CHI  00603  01 OF 02  181255Z 
 
2. (U) ON MAY 18, THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE DAILY "VIETNAM 
NEWS," VIETNAMESE VERNACULAR "TUOI TRE" ("YOUTH") AND 
"THANH NHIEN" ("YOUTH"), AND THE HANOI VOICE OF VIETNAM 
RADIO ALL CARRIED SHORT PIECES ON THE MAY 17 ARREST OF 
CATHOLIC DISSIDENT PRIEST NGUYEN VAN LY IN HUE CITY.  THE 
ARTICLES ECHOED THE FOREIGN MINISTRY'S WRITTEN STATEMENT 
THAT LY HAD BEEN ARRESTED BECAUSE HE HAD "CONTINUED TO 
CARRY OUT BEHAVIOR THAT AFFECTED PUBLIC SECURITY AND 
DISRUPTED THE NORMAL LIFE OF THE PEOPLE."  THE VIETNAMESE 
VERNACULAR DAILIES ADDED THAT THE ARREST TOOK PLACE IN 
FRONT OF A GREAT NUMBER OF LOCAL RESIDENTS. 
 
3. (U) A MAY 17 REUTERS ARTICLE STATED THAT LY WAS 
ARRESTED AFTER CONDUCTING A MASS FOR ABOUT 150 
PARISHIONERS DURING WHICH HE HAD DISTRIBUTED ANTI- 
GOVERNMENT LEAFLETS.  A PRESS RELEASE BY THE "FREE VIETNAM 
ALLIANCE" SAID 600 SECURITY OFFICERS USED FORCE TO REMOVE 
LY FROM HIS CHAMBERS.  IT SAID, "PARISHIONERS... BEGAN TO 
CRY AND TRIED TO BLOCK THE ARREST.  POLICE IN TURN USED 
ELECTRIC PRODS AGAINST THE PARISHIONERS AND TOOK THE 
PRIEST AWAY." 
 
4. (SBU) ON MAY 18 POLOFF SPOKE BY PHONE WITH A BUDDHIST 
RESIDENT AND A CATHOLIC RESIDENT OF HUE CITY.  BOTH KNEW 
ABOUT THE ARREST AND SAID THEY HEARD SECOND-HAND THAT ONLY 
A "FEW" POLICEMEN CAME TO THE CHURCH, AND THAT THE ARREST 
TOOK PLACE WITHOUT ANY VIOLENCE.  THEY NOTED THAT FOOTAGE 
OF FATHER LY BEING QUESTIONED BY POLICE WAS SHOWN ON THUA- 
THIEN HUE TELEVISION THE NIGHT BEFORE (MAY 17).  REFTEL 
REPORTED THAT A CATHOLIC CONTACT IN HCMC TOLD POLOFF ON 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
PAGE 04        HO CHI  00603  01 OF 02  181255Z 
MAY 17 THAT 300 SECURITY OFFICERS HAD ENTERED THE CHURCH 
COMPOUND, AND THAT VIOLENCE HAD ACCOMPANIED THE ARREST. 
 
SUMMONS OF THICH QUANG DO 
------------------------- 
 
5. (SBU) UBCV BUDDHIST MONK THICH QUANG DO WAS SUMMONED TO 
APPEAR BEFORE THE PEOPLE'S COMMITTEE OF PHU NHUAN DISTRICT 
IN HCMC AT 2:00 P.M. ON MAY 18.  POLOFF SPOKE WITH DO BY 
TELEPHONE AT 4:00 P.M. JUST A FEW MINUTES AFTER HE 
RETURNED TO HIS PAGODA.  DO SAID THAT THE OFFICIALS AT THE 
DISTRICT PEOPLE'S COMMITTEE WARNED HIM STRONGLY NOT TO 
UNDERTAKE HIS PLANNED TRIP TO QUANG NGAI PROVINCE IN JUNE. 
(NOTE: DO HAD EARLIER SENT A LETTER TO THE GOVERNMENT 
REQUESTING THAT UBCV PATRIARCH THICH HUYEN QUANG BE 
ALLOWED TO RETURN BACK TO HCMC FROM QUANG NGAI PROVINCE. 
IN HIS LETTER DO STATED THAT IF HE DID NOT RECEIVE A REPLY 
BY JUNE, HE WOULD TRAVEL TO QUANG NGAI PROVINCE HIMSELF IN 
ORDER TO RETUIRN THICH HUYEN QUANG TO HCMC.  END NOTE.) 
 
6. (SBU) DO AGREED TO DELAY HIS PLANNED TRIP.  BUT HE SAID 
HE WOULD WRITE ANOTHER LETTER TO THE GOVERNMENT REQUESTING 
THE RETURN OF THICH HUYEN QUANG TO HCMC.  HE AGREED TO 
WAIT, BUT SAID IF HE RECEIVED NO WRITTEN REPLY FROM THE 
GOVERNMENT IN A REASONABLE PERIOD OF TIME, HE WOULD CARRY 
THROUGH WITH HIS PLANS.  AFTER NEARLY TWO HOURS OF 
DISCUSSIONS, DO REQUESTED PERMISSION TO RETURN TO HIS 
PAGODA.  THE OFFICIALS ALLOWED HIM TO LEAVE, BUT NOTED 
THEY WOULD SUMMON HIM AGAIN TO CONTINUE THE DISCUSSIONS. 
DO TOLD POLOFF HE WAS TIRED, BUT OTHERWISE IN GOOD 
SPIRITS. 
 
HOUSE ARREST OF LE QUANG LIEM 
----------------------------- 
7. (SBU) REFTEL REPORTED THAT A CONTACT TOLD POLOFF THAT 
HOA HAO ELDER LE QUANG LIEM WAS ALSO IN IMMINENT DANGER OF 
ARREST IN HCMC.  (LIEM IS ALREADY UNDER HOUSE ARREST.) 
CONGEN WAS UNABLE TO REACH LIEM BY TELEPHONE ALL DAY 
YESTERDAY, MAY 17, OR TODAY, MAY 18.  CONGEN WAS ABLE TO 
REACH ANOTHER HOA HAO CONTACT, HOWEVER, WHO SAID HE HAD 
TALKED WITH LIEM BY PHONE SHORTLY AFTER NOON ON MAY 17. 
ALTHOUGH POLICE MAINTAIN A VIGIL AT LIEM'S RESIDENCE, LIEM 
REPORTED NO UNUSUAL ACTIVITY TO THE OTHER CONTACT.  THIS 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
PAGE 03        HO CHI  00603  02 OF 02  181255Z 
CONTACT DID NOT BELIEVE LIEM WAS IN DANGER OF ANY FURTHER 
POLICE ACTIONS. 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
8. (U) POST WILL CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE SITUATIONS OF ALL 
THREE RELIGIOUS DISSIDENTS, FATHER LY, THICH QUANG DO, AND 
LE QUANG LIEM, AND REPORT SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENTS AS THEY 
OCCUR. 
 
RAY 
 
NOTE: NOT PASSED TO ABOVE ADDRESSEE(S) 
 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 


Latest source of this page is cablebrowser-2, released 2011-10-04