Vietnamese Family Harassed, Attacked Over Religious Ties
RFA - 06.22.2016
A Vietnamese family belonging to a Buddhist sect operating outside of government
control was harassed this week by state-linked toughs in the run-up to the
anniversary of the sect’s founding in 1939, the father of the family said on
Vo Van Buu, who follows an unsanctioned branch
of the Hoa Hao Buddhist Church, told RFA’s Vietnamese Service that local
authorities have blocked approaches to his family’s home in southwestern
Vietnam's An Giang province, also sending men on motorbikes to intimidate and
attack his wife and daughter.
“Since June 20, the government has deployed from
40 to 50 people to block both ways to my home,” Buu said. “They even put up a
hammock in which to lie in front of the house.”
On Wednesday, as many as 70 men riding
motorbikes also forced Buu’s wife, Mai Thi Dung, and daughter, Mai Thi Thuyet
Linh, back to their home from a market about 10 kilometers away, Buu said.
The move was an apparent attempt to prevent them
from going to take part in services observing the anniversary of the sect’s
founding, he said.
“She told them that this was Hoa Hao’s
anniversary day, and asked why she couldn’t be allowed to participate in
observances, but they didn’t answer,” Buu said.
“Instead, they beat her, using helmets to hit
her from behind and leaving her with swollen lips,” he said.
Contacted by RFA, an official of the local
township People’s Committee declined to comment, saying he knew nothing about
Vietnam’s government officially recognizes the
Hoa Hao religion, which has some 2 million followers across the country, but
imposes harsh controls on dissenting Hoa Hao groups that do not follow the
Rights groups say that authorities in An Giang
routinely harass followers of the unapproved groups, prohibiting public readings
of the Hoa Hao founder’s writings and discouraging worshipers from visiting Hoa
Hao pagodas in An Giang and other provinces.
Reported by Gia Minh. Translated by Viet Ha.
Written in English by Richard Finney.