Report on Vietnamese communist authorities violating Religious Freedom for Pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh’s Wife, Ms. Tran Thi Hong

May16, 2016

To: The Honorable Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs

The House Committee on Foreign Affairs
2170 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5021
Fax: (202) 225-5394

Dear Mr. Royce,

The Vietnamese communist authorities continue to order the local governments of all levels to suppress their citizens who are committed to religious freedom and human rights. 

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Pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh in the front of the Court and his family’s picture is on the bottom corner of the right side.

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The picture on March 30, 2016, the U.S. delegation and Ms. Hong’s family took the picture together as a souvenir.

Five years ago, on April 28, 2011, while he was performing his duty of guiding Protestant followers, Pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh was arrested and imprisoned. He was framed as “undermining national unity” based on article 87 of the criminal code, a crime that has never existed in any civil judiciary. He was then sentenced to an unjust and horrible verdict of 11 years in prison.

We would like to report to you a new incident in the case of Ms. Tran Thi Hong, Pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh’s wife who was brutally beaten by the police of Hoa Lu ward, Pleiku city, Gia Lai province, Central Vietnam on April 14, 2016 after she met with the delegation of the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for the International Religious Freedom on March 30, 2016.

 

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(Right) Mrs. Tran Thi Hong was brutally beaten by the police of Hoa Lu ward, Pleiku city, Gia Lai province, Central Vietnam on April 14, 2016. She has fainted and was lying on the floor.

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(Left) Mrs. Tran Thi Hong, Pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh’s wife, was brutally beaten by the police of Hoa Lu ward, Pleiku city, Gia Lai province, Central Vietnam on April 14, 2016.

As a result of the heavy injuries caused by the police, Ms. Hong experiences pain and fatigue. It is our belief that under an order of the central communist authorities in Ha Noi, the Fatherland Front’s Committee of Hoa Lu ward (signed by Mr. Chairman Huynh Van Tra, dated on May 9, 2016), Pleiku City, Gia Lai Province, Central Vietnam, a letter was sent to her requiring her to meet with the officials at 8:00 am on May 10, 2016 for an investigation. Even though she told the local official who brought the letter that she is still too weak and hurt to go, he responded that despite the pain, she must present herself for the investigation.

Ms. Hong was fearful that if she did not comply, the Vietnamese communist authorities would come to her home and beat her again as the incident of April 14, 2016 and she could die.

This letter in Vietnamese sent to Mrs. Tran Thi Hong and signed by the local authority, Mr. Huynh Van Tra, Chairman of the Fatherland Front’s Committee of Hoa Lu ward, Pleiku city, Gia Lai province.  (Right) This is another letter in Vietnamese, signed by Mr. Huynh Van Tra, the Chairman of the Fatherland Front’s Committee of Hoa Lu ward brought to her at 2:00 pm on May 11, 2016.

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Despite receiving the letter and threats to her life, she was unable to attend the meeting due to her sickness. The police brought another letter, also signed by Mr. Huynh Van Tra on May 11, 2016, to Mrs. Hong at 2:00 pm and asked her to meet them at Hoa Lu ward at 2:30 pm the same day for the investigation.  It is an unbelievable issue that could only happen in a communist society where authorities inform and require their citizens to attend a meeting with a half an hour notice.   Again, she could not go. About one hour later, the police came to her house and used force to escort her to their office at Hoa Lu ward where there were about 10 government officials of various departments, including a nurse of Health Department, police of Pleiku city and Gia Lai province. They interrogated Ms. Hong on some issues. They wanted to know what she discussed with the delegation of the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom and why she informed the American delegation about the suppression of religious freedom. They said her meeting with the delegation violates Vietnamese laws. After that, the police asked why the media inside and outside the country interviewed her. The authorities also asked her why she joined the Association of Vietnamese Women for Human Rights, an anti-communist party and anti-authority organization.  Ms. Hong could not argue with 10 communist authorities. She answered that the police beat and harassed her and hampered her religious activities. She asked them to explain their actions. They forced her to come to their office. She was harassed and repressed with many interrogations. She asked the police why they beat her on April 14, 2016. She insisted that the police stop. These thug-liked actions against Ms. Hong by the police, supported by the Central communist authorities in Hanoi, are examples of how Vietnamese people have to live in an unlawful situation. The authorities of all levels pursue their own interests in order to remain in power.  Later in the day, Ms. Hong felt dizzy and too tired so the nurse measured her blood pressure. Afterward, the police told Mrs. Hong to go home. They said she will receive another letter to come to their office for another investigation.

At 3:00 pm (Vietnamese local time) on May 12, 2016, many plain clothes police officers, men and women came to Mrs. Hong’s house, and asked her to come to the Committee of Hoa Lu ward for further investigation. Mrs. Hong said she is still sick and could not go. At 3:30 pm the authorities used force to remove her from her house and escorted her to the police station. The Vietnamese authorities kept her there from 3:30 pm until 18:30 pm. This occurred many times. Each time they brought her to the police station, her young children worried for her safety.

On May 13, 2016 they brought her by force to the police station of Hoa Lu ward to investigate the same topic. Then, under physical duress, they forced her to confess a crime. They continued to say that her meeting with the delegation of the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for the International Religious Freedom was wrong and her

Protestant denomination is illegal because it is unrecognized by the communist party and the state. However, Mrs. Hong has been very brave to defend her religious freedom.

On May 14, 2016 the police came to her house at 8:00 am local time to bring her to their office until 5:30 pm. They said if she did not admit what she did is wrong they would bring her to their office every day. She and her four young children have been harassed almost every day. The police continue to terrorize them. This is unacceptable and unbearable for Ms. Hong.

The Vietnamese communist authorities have continued to harass Ms. Hong. On May 15, 2016 at 8:00 am (Vietnamese time), some female police officers, coordinating with Women’s Association of Hoa Lu ward, Pleiku city, came to her house and forced her to see the police for an investigation. She arrived home at 4:00 pm. The topic for the investigation was the same. They required her to confess to a crime she did not commit and said her meeting with the delegation of the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for the International Religious Freedom is wrong and violates the Vietnamese laws. They also said unless she confesses to the crime they will continue to come to her house and bring her to the police office. Every time the police come to her house they make her children very fearful.

Ms. Hong was harassed again on May 16, 2016 in the morning (Vietnamese time). The police came to her house and intended to force her to see them. But they saw she was very weak and they left. Then, at 13:30 pm of the same day, they came back and used force to escort her to their office where she was kept until 4:00 pm.

Even if her health is very poor and she is innocent, the Vietnamese authorities still oppress her to confess a crime she did not commit. At this point, we believe unfortunate things could happen to her and if this continues. Those who claim to advocate for human rights and religious freedom are failing to protect her and her family.

Ms. Hong has been fearful for her safety as a result of the Vietnamese authorities’ actions in recent days. It is urgent that the U.S. Government should help her by taking a strong and effective measure to deal with Vietnamese authorities to stop them from suppressing her family.  Obviously, the Vietnamese communist authorities have been violating human rights and religious freedom of their citizens. Therefore, the United Council of Vietnamese in Homeland and Overseas would respectfully like to request the Government of the United States:  – To contact Ms. Tran Thi Hong at her phone number: 0121.3590.191 or Pastor Nguyen Hoang Hoa at 0121.9460.045 and help her family as soon as possible because she could be in danger.  – To use your power to stop the Vietnamese communist authorities from suppressing the Vietnamese people who have different views with the regime.    – To condemn strongly the Vietnamese communist authorities for their violation of religious freedom against the Independent Religions in Vietnam and help them enjoy the freedom to express their religious activities. – To designate Vietnam under the communist regime as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) for its violation of religious freedom as recommended by the USCIRF. – Not give foreign aid to the Vietnamese communist regime since it does not respect the International Laws on Human Rights and Religious Freedom.

We thank you for your help in promoting Human Rights and Religious Freedom in Vietnam and all over the world. Sincerely Yours, Sub-dignitary Viet Hung Tran, MPPA.Vice-Chairman, Religious Affairs. General Secretary of the United Caodai Tayninh Holy See Overseas. Contact Information: Sub-dignitary Viet Hung Tran, MPPA, Vice-Chairman, Executive Committee.Phone: 514-299-0015 (Direct line). Email: daocaodai1926@gmail.com Dr. Hoi Van Do, Chairman, Executive Committee. Phone: 407-234-3596 (Direct line). hoivando@gmail.com

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