Brussels, 10 October 2003. The Ven. Thich Huyen Quang, the Patriarch of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV), the Ven. Thich Quang Do and other leading dignitaries of the UBCV have been subjected over the last 48 hours to pressure of all types, ending with their arrest. The Patriarch was subsequently taken by force to the Nguyen Thieu Pagoda in the province of Binh Dinh, while his number two, the Ven. Thich Quang Do, was taken to Ho Chi Minh City, both charged with “being found in possession of secret documents.”
Statement by Olivier Dupuis, Member of the European Parliament, Radical:
“In the space of 48 hours the Hanoi regime has once again demonstrated its true nature and its total inability to move on the road to democracy. Members of the security services, aided by thugs employed by the regime, first blocked the Ven. Thich Huyen Quang (86), the Ven. Thich Quang Do (75) and other high dignitaries of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam for ten hours in the scorching sun. Only the intervention of hundreds of monks and citizens forced the regime to allow them to continue on their way. A few hours later they were stopped again and held for four hours before being separated; the Ven. Thich Huyen Quang was taken to the Nguyen Thieu Pagoda, while the Ven. Thich Quang Do was taken to Ho Chi Minh City. Still not satisfied, the Vietnamese authorities have now charged them with possession of state secrets.
The conduct of the Hanoi authorities once again contradicts the fine statements in favour of reforms and democracy that they regularly make to the governments of the European countries and to the EU institutions, which give generous funding to ambitious reform programmes … that are never put into effect, as these arrests show yet again! This situation cannot go on. The EU and the Member Countries, out of respect for their people and their tax-payers, must put an end to all forms of connivance with this dictatorial regime until such time as it shows a genuine will to initiate a true process of democratisation through the introduction of concrete reforms, beginning with reforms guaranteeing the freedom of religion.”