(Slave Freedom Movement)
Saturday, September 25, 2004
NEWS ANALYSIS, SEPTEMBER 8, 2001.
On Sunday, September 2, 2001, a man burned himself to death in Danang, Central Vietnam to protest against religious persecution by the Vietnam Communist Party and its government. Ho Tan Anh, 61 years old, an honest and devoted farmer, leader of the Buddhist Youth Movement in Quang Nam Province, set himself on fire at 4:30 AM and died shortly later at a park of the city.
At first, Communist authorities denied the news report, but on Monday Sept 3, local Public Security Department confirmed the report, saying that there was a male citizen who committed suicide at time and place stated in the report.
Local Public Security Department hastily buried the burned man at an undisclosed site that people believed somewhere in the Go Ca cemetery in the Fourth District of the city. Mr. Ho Tan Anh's brother officially requested that his dead brother be returned to the family so that they could hold a decent funeral for him. The PS Department turned down his request, saying that the dead body's identity was not determined to be certain that it was his brother's. Communist authorities haven't explained why autopsy procedures had not been conducted as usual.
Before his self-immolation, Ho Tan Anh had sent four handwritten letters to international leaders such as the UN Secretary General, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Dalai Lama, top leaders of the United Buddhist Church of Vietnam, other religious freedom activists, and all chiefs of states in the world. The letters were received by the Paris-based International Buddhist Information Bureau which then forwarded them to the leaders, before Mr. Ho Tuan Anh tragic death.
In all letters, Mr. Anh denounces the Communist Party's wily schemes to obliterate the major religions in Vietnam since its first month in power in 1945 and it is continuing the persecution with higher intensity. Ho Tan Anh describes the torture and vexation suffered at the hands of the Communist Public Security because he was a member of the outlawed United Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV). He recalls how the Public Security Department of Duy Xuyen district was threatening him.
"You Buddhists are extremely dangerous. If you do not listen to us we will kill you as we did with Thich Thien Minh. Or we will keep you in prison until you die. This is a dictatorship and we can do what we want. Even if the United Nations secretary general himself were to come here he could do nothing for you. If you do not mend your ways we will take harsh measures against you."
In the letters, he calls on people to struggle for human rights, democracy, freedom, abolishing Article 4 of the 1992 Constitution which grants political mastery to the VCP, returning churches' properties, releasing priests, monks, preachers of the five religions who have been incarcerated only because of their religious activities.
Ho Tuan Anh must have carefully selected the date of his immolation. The second day of September has been claimed by the Communist regime as the National Day. It is also the 15th day of the 7th Moon, lunar calendar, one of the most important Buddhist holidays, the Vu Lan, or Purgatorial ceremony (Sansk. Ullambana) to pray for the expiation of sins and crimes committed by the dead, particularly by one's deceased parents.
He claimed that 13 other Buddhist Youth leaders have pledged to follow him in self-immolation to appeal for religious freedom, democracy and human rights.
Buddhist Youth Movement was founded in the late 1930s whose pure religious activities are appreciated by all Buddhists in the country. This independent religious group with about 300,000 members nation-wide is excluded from the party-controlled Buddhist Church, a political tool of the regime to weaken if not to eliminate the influence of the independent Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV).
During the last 25 years since the South Vietnam government collapsed, the VCP has carried out the hardest policy controlling the growth and actvities of the five major religions in South Vietnam. Many pagodas were seized to be used as warehouses, offices... Monks and nuns were evicted at five minutes' notices. Hundreds of monks, nuns and common Buddhists were jailed. Various Buddhist organizations established long time ago, including those advocating anti-war movement and staying neutral before April 1975, were outlawed.
That the Communist leaders were too arrogant after its victory in April 1975 led them to underestimating the hidden strength of the Buddhist Church and the followers in South Vietnam.
Since 1954 when they established the full Communist regime over North Vietnam, Hanoi leaders were confronting only problems from the Catholic Church. Meanwhile, most Buddhists were not organized into congregations. Each pagoda was almost independent and resident monks had no power over believers. With a few directives from Hanoi, most pagodas were confiscated, monks and nuns were evicted and unfrocked to become farmers working in agricultural co-operatives without any incident.
Since taking over South Vietnam, Hanoi leaders might have thought that they would not face any major trouble with their religious policy against the Buddhists in that part of the country as it had been in the North. They have made great mistakes.
Buddhist sects in South Vietnam have experienced long struggles for common interests of their religion. The struggles brought them closer to unification, particularly in 1963 when they joined protests against the late President Ngo Dinh Diem's government. Though the Buddhist Church was divided seriously, the religious spirit in the followers, monks and nuns is stronger than the Communists have ever expected.
Members of the party-controlled Buddhist Church are mostly in North Vietnam. They have been used to the oppression and limited religious practices. Whenever their practices are not collective and systematic, creating no major threats to the Communist regime, members of the party-controlled Buddhist Church in North and South Vietnam, and followers not committed to the outlawed UBCV, will face no persecution.
Contradicting Communist teachings and in order to keep the regime from any further disturbance, Hanoi tolerates various forms of superstition that it has promised to abolish since 1945. Superstitious practices are not leading to any major threat in the political security of the regime. That is why susperstitious practices are connived.
It is true as Hanoi always claims, that the Vietnamese are free to go to churches or pagodas or temples. Foreigners are able to see people attending religious services in large number.
But behind the scenes and beyond the sight of observers from outside, religions are tightly limited and controlled in ordaining, preaching, proselytizing especially clergy appointment. The farther a church or pagoda is from major cities, the more oppression the clergy and followers have to undergo.
According to latest news from Vietnam, Communist authorities are increasing their crackdowns against UBCV followers. Many have been detained, intensively interrogated and jailed while the bilateral trade agreement is about to be passed by the American Congress.
Doug Taylor, who is running for South Carolina State House District 9. He and one other man running for office said they would support my right to practice my religious beliefs not to be a slave (literally, figuratively, involuntarily or voluntarily), if elected. Amen. Gene.
We have letters off to Greek Scholars at Harvard and Notre Dame. If they support the views of the Bob Jones University Greek scholar, we will have a small army of credible Christian thought on not paying income taxes, property taxes, keeping books an records of personal finances for the government and not using a social security number. Gene.
Friday, September 24, 2004
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
I've been taking to a Christian ministry that has a ground operation in the Sudan. We are talking about them helping me get set up on a month long fast infront of the Capitol Building of Sudan for the end of slavery in that country. We'll see. I'm open to God's plan. Gene.
Monday, September 20, 2004
Sunday, September 19, 2004