A renowned Buddhist teacher has protested the eviction of his followers from a monastery in southern Vietnam’s Lam Dong province, and a group of Vietnamese intellectuals have issued a petition to support them. Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese-born Zen master who popularized Buddhism in the West, wrote a letter last week to President Nguyen Minh Triet criticizing the police eviction of nearly 400 from Bat Nha monastery. His followers say a mob including undercover agents descended on the monastery Sept. 27, damaged buildings and forced the devotees out, beating some with sticks.
This week, a group of Vietnamese intellectuals, artists, former Communist Party members and dissidents circulated a petition calling on Vietnam’s leaders to investigate the incident and allow the media to report on the standoff, which the state-controlled media have ignored. The petition, drawn up by poet Hoang Hung, has been signed by over 200—roughly half from inside Vietnam and half Vietnamese living overseas. (AP, Oct. 9)
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