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Vietnam: Thugs Target Non-State Buddhist Sect Members

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Alleged state-linked thugs have intimidated a Vietnamese family who are members of a Buddhist sect that operates outside of government control, says the family’s father.

Vo Van Buu, an adherent of an unauthorized branch of the Hoa Hao Buddhist Church, told RFA that local authorities blocked approaches to his family’s home in southwestern Vietnam’s An Giang province.

Local officials also sent hooligans on motorbikes to threaten and assault his wife and daughter, said Buu.

“Since June 20, the government has deployed 40 to 50 people to block both ways to my home,” Buu said. “They even put up a hammock in which to lie in front of the house.”

He also said up to 70 people harassed his wife and daughter on June 22, forcing them to stay home.

Buu said some of the harassment that his family experienced was seemingly done to try and prevent them partaking in anniversary services celebrating Hoa Hao’s formation in 1939.

Vietnam’s ruling communists officially recognizes the Hoa Hao religion, which has around 2 million adherents in the Southeast Asian nation. However the state enacts severe controls on nonconforming Hoa Hao groups that do not align themselves with the state-sanctioned branch.

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The Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News, UCAN) is the leading independent Catholic news source in Asia. A network of journalists and editors that spans East, South and Southeast Asia, UCA News has for four decades aimed to provide the most accurate and up-to-date news, feature, commentary and analysis, and multimedia content on social, political and religious developments that relate or are of interest to the Catholic Church in Asia.

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