US embassy cable - 01HANOI1388

EMBASSY REPRESENTATIONS ON ACTIONS AGAINST DISSIDENTS; WHAT DRIVES THE GVN?

Identifier: 01HANOI1388
Wikileaks: View 01HANOI1388 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Hanoi
Created: 2001-06-08 04:57:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Tags: PHUM KIRF 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.

080457Z Jun 01

2001HANOI01388 - UNCLASSIFIED
 
 
 
                           UNCLASSIFIED     PTO6659

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ACTION EAP-00   

INFO  LOG-00   AID-00   AMAD-00  CIAE-00  INL-00   DODE-00  SRPP-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     
      SP-00    SSO-00   SS-00    STR-00   TEST-00  TRSE-00  USIE-00  
      SNIS-00  NISC-00  PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00  SAS-00   
        /008W
                  ------------------F5DB41  080509Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3072
INFO AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY 
AMCONSUL HONG KONG 
USMISSION GENEVA 
ASEAN COLLECTIVE
AMEMBASSY PARIS 
NSC WASHDC
UNCLAS HANOI 001388 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
STATE FOR EAP/BCLTV AND EAP/PD/JMARTIN 
STATE ALSO FOR DRL/IRF AND S/S-O 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PHUM, KIRF, VM, HUMANR, RELFREE 
SUBJECT: EMBASSY REPRESENTATIONS ON ACTIONS AGAINST DISSIDENTS; WHAT DRIVES THE GVN? 
 
REF: HCMC 0684 AND PREVIOUS 
 
1. (SBU) REFTEL PROVIDES LATEST AVAILABLE INFORMATION ON 
GVN ACTIONS AGAINST SENIOR MONKS OF THE UNIFIED BUDDHIST 
CHURCH OF VIETNAM (UBCV).  THE AMBASSADOR AND OTHER 
EMBASSY/CONGEN OFFICIALS HAVE WEIGHED IN AT VARIOUS 
LEVELS, URGING THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION ORDER BE 
LIFTED FROM THICH QUANG DO, THAT THICH HUYEN QUANG BE 
ALLOWED TO TRAVEL FREELY TO HCMC, AND THAT OTHER OUTSPOKEN 
FIGURES SUCH AS FATHER NGUYEN VAN LY BE ALLOWED TO VOICE 
THEIR NON-VIOLENT OPINIONS WITHOUT GOVERNMENT 
INTERFERENCE.  DCM SPOKE WITH MFA AND OFFICE OF THE 
GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES LAST WEEK, URGING THE 
GOVERNMENT TO FIND A WAY TO DEMONSTRATE ITS "HUMANITARIAN" 
CONCERNS OVER QUANG'S HEALTH SITUATION AND TO AVOID ANY 
PUBLIC CONFRONTATION WITH UBCV SUPPORTERS. IN THE PAST TWO 
DAYS, POLCOUNS, SENIOR ADVISOR AND POLOFF MET WITH 
MINISTRY OF PUBLIC SECURITY (MPS) DIRECTOR OF EXTERNAL 
RELATIONS TO PRESS THESE POINTS.  LIKEWISE, THE AMBASSADOR 
HAS RAISED OUR CONCERNS WITH MINISTER OF PLANNING AND 
INVESTMENT GIA AND OTHER SENIOR OFFICIALS.  WE ALSO 
CONTINUE TO PRESS OUR INTERESTS WITH MFA AND THE 
GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE ON RELIGION. 
 
2. (SBU) CLOSE POLICE SURVEILLANCE OF UBCV MONKS AT THEIR 
VARIOUS PAGODAS LIKELY WILL PREVENT ANY OF THEM FROM 
MEETING WITH THICH HUYEN QUANG OR THICH QUANG DO FOR THE 
TIME BEING.  THE AUTHORITIES' SUCCESS IN BLOCKING THE 
VISIT TO THICH HUYEN QUANG NO DOUBT WILL ONLY ADD TO THE 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
PAGE 03        HANOI  01388  080509Z 
FRUSTRATION AND RESENTMENT OF HIS SUPPORTERS.  SHOULD 
QUANG'S HEALTH EVENTUALLY FAIL WHILE STILL IN ISOLATION IN 
QUANG NGAI, THE PUBLIC OUTCRY WILL GET CONSIDERABLY 
STRONGER AND GO BEYOND THE UBCV AND ITS SUPPORTERS. 
VIETNAM'S DECISION TO PLACE THE ACTIVIST MONK THICH QUANG 
DO UNDER ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION, WILL CONTINUE TO HURT 
VIETNAM'S INTERNATIONAL IMAGE. 
 
3. (SBU) THE TOUGH ACTION AGAINST DISSIDENTS BEGAN DURING 
EX-PARTY CHIEF LE KHA PHIEU'S TENURE AND IS LIKELY ON 
"AUTOMATIC PILOT." THE LAST SEVERAL MONTHS HAVE SEEN A 
STEADY ESCALATION OF ACTIVISM ON THE PART OF RELIGIOUS 
FIGURES SEEKING LARGELY TO PROMOTE A POLITICAL AGENDA IN 
VIETNAM.  FOR A TIME, THEY SEEMED TO BE TRYING TO TAKE 
ADVANTAGE OF THE WEAKENED POSITION OF PARTY-BOSS LE KHA 
PHIEU WHOSE LEADERSHIP WAS UNDER CHALLENGE.  PHIEU, 
HOWEVER, SEEMED ABLE TO UTILIZE THESE ACTIVITIES AND THE 
DISTURBANCES IN THE CENTRAL HIGHLANDS TO ADVANCE HIS OWN 
CLAIMS FOR MORE ATTENTION TO "STABILITY," RESULTING IN THE 
"GET TOUGH" POLICY AGAINST SUCH FIGURES AS FATHER LY, 
THICH QUANG DO, AND HOA HAO LEADER LIEM. 
 
 4. (SBU) PHIEU'S EFFORTS TO HIGHLIGHT THE NEED FOR 
"STABILITY" WERE UNABLE TO REVERSE HIS DECLINING POLITICAL 
STATURE AND HE WAS REPLACED BY NONG DUC MANH WHO CAME 
ABOARD WITH A "REFORMIST" IMAGE.  BUT HIS FEW SHORT WEEKS 
OF TENURE SEEM TO HAVE INTENSIFIED THE "TESTING PERIOD" 
BETWEEN THE TWO GROUPS.  THE ACTIVISTS HAVE BEEN PUSHING 
THEIR POLITICAL AGENDA TO SEE WHAT THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH 
AND THE SECURITY FORCES HAVE BEEN ACTING MORE FORCEFULLY 
TO DEMONSTRATE THE NEED FOR THE LEADERSHIP TO RESTRICT 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
PAGE 04        HANOI  01388  080509Z 
THIS ACTIVISM.  THE SECURITY FORCES -- ALREADY SOMEWHAT 
DIMINISHED IN PRESTIGE BY PUBLIC CRITICISM AT THE PARTY 
CONGRESS -- ARE PROBABLY ALSO "TESTING" TO SEE HOW THEY 
MAY FARE UNDER MANH'S LEADERSHIP.  FOR HIS OWN PART, 
GENERAL SECRETARY MANH STILL NEEDS TIME TO FEEL OUT THESE 
COMPETING INTERESTS WITHIN THE PARTY, GOVERNMENT AND 
SOCIETY BEFORE HE AND THE OTHER NEW LEADERS CAN PUT THEIR 
IMPRINT ON NATIONAL POLICY.  FOR THE MISSION AND THE USG, 
THIS IS A TIME TO COUNSEL "MODERATION" AND TO AVOID A 
PUBLIC CONFRONTATION ON THE ISSUES.  WE WILL CONTINUE TO 
WORK WITH ALL SIDES TO SEEK NEW AVENUES OF CONSTRUCTIVE 
ENGAGEMENT. 
PETERSON 
 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
 


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