Monday, November 22, 2004

Thich Huyen Quang seriously ill

Venerable Thich Huyen Quang, 87, considered the supreme patriarch of Buddhism in Vietnam, is reported to be seriously ill, suffering from a stomach hemorrhage. He is hospitalized in Binh Dinh General Hospital in central Vietnam. Vietnamese authorities allowed the U.S. ambassador and other embassy officials to visit Thich Huyen Quang and his associate monk in HCMC, Ven. Thich Quang Do, 76, but they would not allow Ven. Quang Do to travel to Binh Dinh to visit Ven. Huyen Quang. The Paris-based Que Me/Vietnam Committee for Human Rights has issued many reports in recent days about this situation.

Since 1977, these two monks have spent much of their time either in prison or under house arrest for protesting government restrictions on Buddhism and other human rights violations. They were first arrested in June 1977 along with other leading monks of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) after Ven. Huyen Quang sent a letter to the prime minister listing various forms of repression against the UBCV and requesting redress. They were released in Dec. 1978, but in 1982 they were arrested again after protesting the government's creation of a state-sponsored Buddhist church, which was declared to be the only legitimate Buddhist organization in the country, thus effectively outlawing all other Buddhist groups in the country. Towards the end of the 1980s, both monks began issuing a series of statements challenging the state on its continued religious repression and other human rights violations, causing both to be placed under isolation and house arrest.

The Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam which they lead, although no longer recognized by government authorities, was prior to its banning the leading Buddhist church in Vietnam and had developed close ties with overseas peace activists during the war years.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home