PARIS, 24 July 2013 (IBIB) Reverend Thich Huyen Viet, Buddhist monk and member of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) is staging a three-day hunger strike in Houston, Texas, from 25 – 27 July whilst Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang visits the United States and meets with President Obama.
The hunger strike will take place in front of the Vietnamese-American Memorial Monument at 11360 Bellaire Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77072, beginning at 8.00am on Thursday 25 July.
Before he begins his three days of fasting and silence, Reverend Huyen Viet will hold a Press Conference at 10.00am to explain the reasons for his act. The press and media are are kindly invited to attend this press conference in solidarity with all those detained in Vietnam for the peaceful expression of their beliefs or political views, with special thoughts for blogger Dieu Cay Nguyen Van Hai, who is currently in his 32th day of hunger strike to protest the ill-treatment of political prisoners in Vietnam. Below is the statement by Reverend Thich Huyen Viet:
Reverend Thich Huyen Viet
STATEMENT BY REVEREND THICH HUYEN VIET
Houston, Texas, 25 July 2013
I am Reverend Thich Huyen Viet, a Buddhist monk and Abbot of the Lien Hoa Temple in Houston, Texas. I have pledged to go on hunger strike for three days, from 25 to 27 July 2013 whilst Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang is on a visit to the United States.
The aim of my hunger strike is to draw the attention of President Barack Obama, the American people and the whole world to the tragic repression of religious freedom and freedom of expression by the communist authorities in Vietnam.
I decided to go on hunger strike to express my solidarity with Dieu Cay Nguyen Van Hai, a Vietnamese blogger detained in Camp No. 6, Thanh Chuong Prison in Nghe An, Vietnam, who has been on hunger strike for the past 32 days. He is serving a 12-year jail sentence simply for writing articles calling for democracy and human rights. Because he refused to sign a confession for crimes he did not commit, Dieu Cay was locked in a solitary confinement cell without any ventilation or light. He is on hunger strike to protest the cruel and inhumane treatment of all political prisoners in Vietnam.
With this hunger strike, I pray for the health of Dieu Cay Nguyen Van Hai and support his nonviolent protest;
I support the appeal for democracy in Vietnam made by the Most Venerable Thich Quang Do, head of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam in a letter to President Obama on 14 July;
I pray that all religious communities in Vietnam will one day be free to practice their faith without fear of repression; and that the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, which is banned by the communist authorities today, will soon win back its freedom and legitimacy.