Vietnamese authorities are intensifying their efforts to oust followers of an internationally known Buddhist monk from a monastery in the Central Highlands and have accused them of trying to “sabotage” Vietnam’s communist government. An angry crowd gathered outside the Bat Nha monastery on Monday and local police conducted late-night searches of the rooms, said Brother Phap Tu, speaking by telephone Tuesday from the compound in Lam Dong province. The monks and nuns there are followers of Thich Nhat Hanh, an exiled Vietnam-born monk who has sold more than a million books in the West and now lives in southern France. Authorities asked Nhat Hanh’s followers to leave Bat Nha earlier this summer, but the monks refused, ignoring a Sept. 2 government deadline. The monks ignored the deadline and tensions have been rising since. On Sept. 21, about 20 people, some carrying knives, unsuccessfully pressured the monks to leave, ripped their clothing from a line and tossed it into a nearby river, Tu said. A few days before that, the group smashed the windows of the meditation hall, he said. Nhat Hanh has visited Vietnam three times since 2005, but remains based at his Plum Village monastery in southern France. His followers at Bat Nha say they are being punished because Nhat Hanh has suggested that Vietnam’s communist government should abolish its control of religion.
Buddhism vs. Communism in Vietnam
Authorities accuse monk’s followers of sabotage