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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
01HANOI1388 2001-06-08 04:57:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Hanoi
Cable title:  

EMBASSY REPRESENTATIONS ON ACTIONS AGAINST DISSIDENTS; WHAT DRIVES THE GVN?

Tags:   PHUM KIRF VM HUMANR RELFREE 
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080457Z Jun 01

2001HANOI01388 - UNCLASSIFIED
 
 
 
                           UNCLASSIFIED     PTO6659

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FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3072
INFO AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY 
AMCONSUL HONG KONG 
USMISSION GENEVA 
ASEAN COLLECTIVE
AMEMBASSY PARIS 
NSC WASHDC
					  UNCLAS HANOI 001388 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR EAP/BCLTV AND EAP/PD/JMARTIN
STATE ALSO FOR DRL/IRF AND S/S-O

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM KIRF VM HUMANR RELFREE
SUBJECT: EMBASSY REPRESENTATIONS ON ACTIONS AGAINST DISSIDENTS; WHAT DRIVES THE GVN?

REF: HCMC 0684 AND PREVIOUS



1. (SBU) REFTEL PROVIDES LATEST AVAILABLE INFORMATION ON
GVN ACTIONS AGAINST SENIOR MONKS OF THE UNIFIED BUDDHIST
CHURCH OF VIETNAM (UBCV). THE AMBASSADOR AND OTHER
EMBASSY/CONGEN OFFICIALS HAVE WEIGHED IN AT VARIOUS
LEVELS, URGING THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION ORDER BE
LIFTED FROM THICH QUANG DO, THAT THICH HUYEN QUANG BE
ALLOWED TO TRAVEL FREELY TO HCMC, AND THAT OTHER OUTSPOKEN
FIGURES SUCH AS FATHER NGUYEN VAN LY BE ALLOWED TO VOICE
THEIR NON-VIOLENT OPINIONS WITHOUT GOVERNMENT
INTERFERENCE. DCM SPOKE WITH MFA AND OFFICE OF THE
GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES LAST WEEK, URGING THE
GOVERNMENT TO FIND A WAY TO DEMONSTRATE ITS "HUMANITARIAN"
CONCERNS OVER QUANG'S HEALTH SITUATION AND TO AVOID ANY
PUBLIC CONFRONTATION WITH UBCV SUPPORTERS. IN THE PAST TWO
DAYS, POLCOUNS, SENIOR ADVISOR AND POLOFF MET WITH
MINISTRY OF PUBLIC SECURITY (MPS) DIRECTOR OF EXTERNAL
RELATIONS TO PRESS THESE POINTS. LIKEWISE, THE AMBASSADOR
HAS RAISED OUR CONCERNS WITH MINISTER OF PLANNING AND
INVESTMENT GIA AND OTHER SENIOR OFFICIALS. WE ALSO
CONTINUE TO PRESS OUR INTERESTS WITH MFA AND THE
GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE ON RELIGION.



2. (SBU) CLOSE POLICE SURVEILLANCE OF UBCV MONKS AT THEIR
VARIOUS PAGODAS LIKELY WILL PREVENT ANY OF THEM FROM
MEETING WITH THICH HUYEN QUANG OR THICH QUANG DO FOR THE
TIME BEING. THE AUTHORITIES' SUCCESS IN BLOCKING THE
VISIT TO THICH HUYEN QUANG NO DOUBT WILL ONLY ADD TO THE
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 HANOI 01388 080509Z
FRUSTRATION AND RESENTMENT OF HIS SUPPORTERS. SHOULD
QUANG'S HEALTH EVENTUALLY FAIL WHILE STILL IN ISOLATION IN
QUANG NGAI, THE PUBLIC OUTCRY WILL GET CONSIDERABLY
STRONGER AND GO BEYOND THE UBCV AND ITS SUPPORTERS.
VIETNAM'S DECISION TO PLACE THE ACTIVIST MONK THICH QUANG
DO UNDER ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION, WILL CONTINUE TO HURT
VIETNAM'S INTERNATIONAL IMAGE.



3. (SBU) THE TOUGH ACTION AGAINST DISSIDENTS BEGAN DURING
EX-PARTY CHIEF LE KHA PHIEU'S TENURE AND IS LIKELY ON
"AUTOMATIC PILOT." THE LAST SEVERAL MONTHS HAVE SEEN A
STEADY ESCALATION OF ACTIVISM ON THE PART OF RELIGIOUS
FIGURES SEEKING LARGELY TO PROMOTE A POLITICAL AGENDA IN
VIETNAM. FOR A TIME, THEY SEEMED TO BE TRYING TO TAKE
ADVANTAGE OF THE WEAKENED POSITION OF PARTY-BOSS LE KHA
PHIEU WHOSE LEADERSHIP WAS UNDER CHALLENGE. PHIEU,
HOWEVER, SEEMED ABLE TO UTILIZE THESE ACTIVITIES AND THE
DISTURBANCES IN THE CENTRAL HIGHLANDS TO ADVANCE HIS OWN
CLAIMS FOR MORE ATTENTION TO "STABILITY," RESULTING IN THE
"GET TOUGH" POLICY AGAINST SUCH FIGURES AS FATHER LY,
THICH QUANG DO, AND HOA HAO LEADER LIEM.



4. (SBU) PHIEU'S EFFORTS TO HIGHLIGHT THE NEED FOR
"STABILITY" WERE UNABLE TO REVERSE HIS DECLINING POLITICAL
STATURE AND HE WAS REPLACED BY NONG DUC MANH WHO CAME
ABOARD WITH A "REFORMIST" IMAGE. BUT HIS FEW SHORT WEEKS
OF TENURE SEEM TO HAVE INTENSIFIED THE "TESTING PERIOD"
BETWEEN THE TWO GROUPS. THE ACTIVISTS HAVE BEEN PUSHING
THEIR POLITICAL AGENDA TO SEE WHAT THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH
AND THE SECURITY FORCES HAVE BEEN ACTING MORE FORCEFULLY
TO DEMONSTRATE THE NEED FOR THE LEADERSHIP TO RESTRICT
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 HANOI 01388 080509Z
THIS ACTIVISM. THE SECURITY FORCES -- ALREADY SOMEWHAT
DIMINISHED IN PRESTIGE BY PUBLIC CRITICISM AT THE PARTY
CONGRESS -- ARE PROBABLY ALSO "TESTING" TO SEE HOW THEY
MAY FARE UNDER MANH'S LEADERSHIP. FOR HIS OWN PART,
GENERAL SECRETARY MANH STILL NEEDS TIME TO FEEL OUT THESE
COMPETING INTERESTS WITHIN THE PARTY, GOVERNMENT AND
SOCIETY BEFORE HE AND THE OTHER NEW LEADERS CAN PUT THEIR
IMPRINT ON NATIONAL POLICY. FOR THE MISSION AND THE USG,
THIS IS A TIME TO COUNSEL "MODERATION" AND TO AVOID A
PUBLIC CONFRONTATION ON THE ISSUES. WE WILL CONTINUE TO
WORK WITH ALL SIDES TO SEEK NEW AVENUES OF CONSTRUCTIVE
ENGAGEMENT.
PETERSON

UNCLASSIFIED