Khmer Krom: Vietnamese Authorities Threaten To Defrock Monk For Teaching Khmer Culture
The Vietnamese government is threatening to defrock Ly Chanda, a Khmer Krom Buddhist monk, for teaching about Buddhism and the Khmer language.
Below is an article from Khmer Kampuchea-Krom Federation:
According to VOKK broadcasted on March 7, the Vietnamese government threatens to defrock Venerable Ly Chanda at Prey Chop Temple, Lai Hoa commune, Vinh Chau district, Soc Trang province.
Venerable Ly Chanda is one of the Buddhist monks who is helping to organize the teaching of the Cambodian language and Buddhism for the Buddhist monks in his temple. Unfortunately, the Abbot of Prey Chop temple, Venerable Thach Houl does not like it. The reason is Venerable Thach Houl is now a member of the Vietnamese Communist Party and also a member of the Vietnamese Congress. He does not want the Buddhist monks to study anything in his temple because he is scared that the Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks would stand up to demand for their religious rights.
On March 2, about fifty Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks and the committee member of the temple demanded Venerable Thach Houl to resign from the Abbot of the temple because he does not fulfil his responsibility as the Abbot to conduct the Chanting or Dharma talks for the Buddhist followers. He is too busy with going to the meetings with the authorities. Because he is a Congressman, he refused to resign and asked the Vietnamese polices came to the temple on March 4 to threaten the Buddhist monks who stood up demanding him to resign. Since March 4, the Vietnamese police have been surrounding the temple without wearing the police uniform and causing the Buddhist monks to live in fear.
The Buddhist monks and Buddhist followers of Prey Chop temple are very respectful of and support Venerable Ly Chanda because he has done many good things for the temple. Hundred of elderly Khmer-Krom Buddhist followers have come to the temple every day to show their support that Ven. Ly Chanda does not violate any Buddhist rules, so the Vietnamese authority should not defrock him.
The Vietnamese authorities have threatened the Buddhist followers not to come to the temple by summoning them individually for interrogation. The authorities even threatened to take back the "Ho Ngheo" which is a proof document for the poor Khmer-Krom to receive financial assistant from the government.
On March 26, 2013, the Vietnamese authorities summoned representatives of ninety two Khmer-Krom Buddhist temples in Soc Trang province to attend a meeting at the “Political School of Soc Trang”. Mr. Son Song Son, the Vietnamese authority representative, asked Ven Ly Chanda and Venerable Lieu Ny and Venerable Thach Thoul of Ta Set temple to defrock. If not, they would face imprisonment.
Venerable Ly Chanda and the Buddhist followers at Prey Chop temple have urged the world community, especially the countries that help promoting the freedom of religion to help saving Ven. Ly Chanda from these threats to be defrocked. The Vietnamese authority should not use the Buddhist organization that is controlled by the government, Patriotic United Buddhist Association (Hội Đoàn Kết Sư Sải Yêu Nước), to force the Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks to practice their Theravada Buddhism as the government wants.