Will FaithDefeat Communism in VietnamThomas Alton1/17/2005

NORTH CAROLINAAfter the end of World War II, the defeated Japanese forceswithdrew from Southeast Asia, creating a vacuum of powerin Vietnam.Communist Leader Ho Chi Minh’s RevolutionaryCommunist League in North Vietnam,called the Viet , atthe time very weak. He quickly declared Vietnama Socialist Republicwhile allowing the French to return to re-establish their colonial rule in theSouth. As a result of Ho Chi Minh’s reconciliationwith the French, Vietnamhad to fight a Liberation War, with the Viet andall Patriotic Nationalists fighting on one side against the French. The longand bloody war ended in 1954 with the Geneva Agreement dividing Vietnaminto two parts separated by the 17th parallel: Ho Chi Minh’sCommunist Regime in the North and the Non Communist Regime led by Ngo Diem in the South.

Before Ngo Diem took power inSouth Vietnam, the old French colony was in a state of anarchy with many localinsurgent forces created by the French, the Nationalist movements, and theCommunist guerilla agents that already infiltrated inside South Vietnam via theHo Chi trail as well as with the flow ofrefugees leaving North Vietnam to resettle in South Vietnam.

That situation was ripe for the North to conquer the South.With the strong support of the two big Communist Powers, the Soviet Union andChina, North Vietnam over 20 years time (1956-1975) waged the bloodiest and themost brutal war in Vietnam’s history, using all means and tactics, includingbeheading village chiefs, murdering civilians and government officials, andcreating a permanent state of terror.

However, North Vietnamhad to confront the strong resistance of the South Vietnamese people who wereunited under the anti-communist leader, Ngo Diem. The South Vietnamese people believed in Diem’s strong leadership that wasnurtured by his anti-communist ideology, based on “Truth and Compassion” (seeNgo Diem’s July 7, 1961 message to the Vietnamese people,republished as “Foundation for a Modern Vietnam,” the Viet Tide newspaper, October 29, 2004). Therefore, ittook 20 years for the Communists to conquer South Vietnam. However, they could not conquer theheart of the people of South Vietnam.The truth is that these freedom-loving people don’t believe in Communism, animported Soviet Marxist-Leninist product which is based on some outdatedrevolutionary theories used by the Party to seize power and rule the country bythreats and terror.

Conquest Followed byTerror

When the North conquered the South in 1975, a reign ofterror followed quickly. Hanoiconducted widespread executions to take revenge against Saigon’sdefeated government and armed forces and to secure its totalitarian rule. Whatwas left behind the iron curtain was only poverty and misery. Ironically, thepeace that the Communists claimed was but the peace of the grave!

Here is how the former USPresident Richard Nixon described the situation: “Now there are no political,religious, economic, or press freedoms. There are no free elections. There isruthless repression of religion. More Buddhist monks have committed suicidethrough self-immolation under the Communists than and his successors combined. Southern Vietnam has becomean economic disaster area.” {No More Vietnams, Richard Nixon, page 205-206}.

Many reports about Vietnam’sviolations of Human Rights have caused the U.S. State Department to name it aCountry of Particular Concern (CPC).

The “Declaration of Vietnamese Priests Abroad,” signed by144 priests on the Fifteenth of August, 2001 condemns Vietnamfor Religious Repression:

It is unfortunate for the Vietnamese people that what ishappening in our country increasingly proves that religion is at risk of beingused as an instrument by the Vietnamese Communist Government and enslaved by itto the point of dying away in the end. Using this as its strategy involvesagonizing policies of the legal system (especially the procedure of begging forgovernment permission and policies of discrimination), an unreasonableadministrative system, “divide and conquer” causing division amongleaders of the same religion, etc. All of these aim to deprive religious beliefof sacred values and to render it meaningless and finally useless. Religiousfreedom in Vietnamis being distorted and trampled brutally and shamelessly by the VietnameseCommunist Government. The present conditions of society are unstable and onlyconducive to bribery and power abuse at all levels. In the face of these greatsocial problems, religious organizations do not have a right to truly speakout. If they say anything, they must espouse the policies of the government.

The International Committee for Religious Freedom in Vietnamhas also urged the World and all the Congregations of all faiths—Buddhist,Catholic, -Dai, Hoa-Hao,Protestant—to take action against the continual harassment, intimidation, andpersecution of religions in Vietnam.

In addition, many International Organizations, NGO (Non-GovernmentOrganization), The United States, etc…have raised concerns about Vietnam’shuman rights violations.

Religious Persecution

Following are some examples of Vietnam’srelentless repression of religions and brutal persecution of people of faith.

Protestant Montagnards(highlanders) were forcibly moved from their homes and their churches weredestroyed. The bloody crackdown on a peaceful demonstration of Montagnards around Easter 2000 highlights the severity ofthe situation in that communist country. Thousands of Montagnardsconverged on several locations in the Central Highlandsof Vietnam todemand religious freedom and protection against the government’s confiscationof their ancestral land. The government sent the police and troops to the areaand used force to suppress the Montagnards’ peacefulexercise of their basic human and civil rights. Scores of protesters werereportedly injured and hospitalized. The government has blocked access to thisregion. Vietnam’sviolations of religious freedom have clearly exceeded the threshold for CPCdesignation.

Other groups of religions, including Catholics, Buddhists,and Protestants, also are victims of violations. Over four hundred Christian Churches have been closed, and manyhave been burnt down. The entire leadership of the Unified Buddhist Church ofVietnam is presently under “temple arrest.” Their top leaders are being heldincommunicado under round-the-clock surveillance by the police. A prominent andoutspoken Catholic priest has been incarcerated in isolation and heldincommunicado for two years. He was harshly sentenced to 15 years for hispeaceful demand for religious freedom and the return of confiscated Churchproperties. Catholic priests and laypersons supporting him have been placedunder house arrest. The government of Vietnamabducted a Buddhist monk from Cambodia,where he had been granted refugee status by the United Nations HighCommissioner for Refugees.

Other Buddhist Sects, and Dai, have alsosuffered a lot from the persecution of the Communists. pilgrims on their way to their Holy Land to commemorate the 81st anniversary of the death of theirleader, murdered on Ho Minh’sorders, were brutally stopped by local security forces. Many were beaten andarrested. Several threatened a hunger strike and self-immolation. In the Dai Mecca of , theVietnamese Communist Party enthroned 1,400 dignitaries of its own choosing,although the Dai rite prescribes the appointmentof its high officials by means of the Turning Table. The official Dai Churchwas replaced by a Leadership Committee picked by the Party.

Falun Gong, a peaceful movement ofcultivation based on Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance, was labeled asan “evil cult” and the practice was prohibited. The Government monitors andcontrols all Falun Gong websites, making it difficultfor this movement to grow.

The Communists TryNew Tactics

Having failed to nationalize religion, Hanoiis encouraging the establishment of several Zen Centers in Vietnamand abroad. Its covert aim is to distract the Vietnamese from their strugglefor democracy and freedom. Zen Buddhism is an important Buddhist school thatoriginated in Chinaand was introduced to Japanin the 7th Century. While restricting the activities of the traditionalchurches to the maximum, the Vietnamese government bestows a large number ofprivileges on the head of the Vietnamese Zen Buddhism movement. The monumentaltemples are built everywhere The Politburo has found in the leader of ZenBuddhism in Vietnamand in his temple the perfect supporters of their underhanded policy fornational reconciliation. His church is there to counterbalance the influence ofthe religious groups hostile to the government. The tactics are reallymanifestations of the evil nature of Communism to deceive people.

The Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP) is also trying othertactics to attract young Vietnamese overseas and to distract them fromsupporting the struggle for democracy and freedom inside Vietnam.Actually, this is an attempt to extend VCP’s Policyof Propaganda aiming at the Vietnamese overseas for the purpose of dividing anddisrupting their nationalistic unity. According to reliable sources, VCP hadadopted a resolution urging major tasks for implementing the Party’s ForeignPolicy focusing on the Vietnamese youth overseas. It is too early to know theoutcome, but there are many signs of strong resistance from many anti-communistorganizations in the USagainst the recent Vietnamese government officials’ visit to Little Saigon in California.

Crusade forNon-Violence

There is no doubt that Vietnamis facing an urgent appeal for action against religious repression. Theconfrontation between the Communist government and several religions has leadto a worsening of the repression.

However, in the more than three decades since they conqueredSouth Vietnam,the communists have not been able to destroy the unshakable faith of thepeople. Evidently, the faith of the people in “Truth and Compassion” willprevail, not the dictatorship’s ideology of terror. The communists will thenhave to decide between following the people’s righteous path or taking the evilpath of the Party, which is just a descendant of Marx and Lenin. Judging fromthe current situation, the Party seems to have no choice but to side with thepeople, as the communists did in the Soviet Union andother Marxist countries.

Will the struggle of the Vietnamese soul and thepreservation of Vietnamese identity become a crusade, a crusade fornon-violence?


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