Friday, December 16, 2011

Khmer-Krom Buddhist Monk Defrocked By Vietnam Authority

From Pennsauken, USA on 14 December 2011 Khmers Kampuchea - Krom Federation released that a Khmer-Krom Buddhist Monk, named Venerable Ly Sol is 19 years old who staying at Tasek temple , Khleang province (Soc Trang) in Kampuchea Krom (Southern of Vietnam) was forced to defrock at his own temple by Vietnamese goverment.
Below is a PRESS RELEASE published by Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation

When people around the world were enjoying the International Human Rights Day to commemorate the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), a Khmer-Krom Buddhist Monk, named Venerable Ly Sol, in Vietnam was forced to defrock at his own temple. The Vietnam authority accused him with the alleged crime of intention to rape a woman who has an age as his grandmother.

At 1:00 pm, on December 11, 2011, the Vietnam authority ordered a Khmer-Krom Buddhist monk, named Thach Houl, who is a member of the Congress of Vietnam and also the vice-president of the Patriotic United Buddhist Association (Hội Đoàn Kết Sư Sải Yêu Nước) of Soc Trang province, to defrock Venerable Ly Sol at Tra Set temple in Tra Set commune, Vinh Hai village, Vinh Chau district, Soc Trang province, without the agreement of the Abbot and other Buddhist monks at Tra Set temple.

Venerable Ly Sol is 19 years old. He has been ordained to be a Buddhist monk for almost 4 years. According to Venerable Ly Sol, about 10 days ago, at 8:00 pm, he was thirsty so he went down to the kitchen to looking for water. In that night, Mrs. Danh Thi Tu, over sixty years old was sleeping in the kitchen. When she heard someone was walking to the Kitchen, she scared and screamed. Venerable Ly Sol came to her and used his one hand (Venerable Ly Sol is handicap) cover her mouth and told her that it was him, she should not scare. The Buddhist monks and the people talked about that incident as just a normal scaring case by an old woman living at the temple for almost four years. Unfortunately, when the local Vietnamese authority heard about it, they started framing a case to defrock Venerable Ly Sol.

According to Mrs. DANH THỊ TÚ, the local police forced her to finger printed on the complaint letter that was already written by the local authority to file complaint against Venerable Ly Sol so the authority has a reason to defrock him.

After being defrocked injustice, Venerable Ly Sol still stays at the temple. He said that even he is not allowed to wear the Buddhist robe as a Buddhist monk, but his mind and heart still believes he is a Buddhist monk. He still wants to be a Buddhist monk if he is allowed by the Vietnam Authority.

The Vietnam authority continues to fabricate the Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks at Tra Set temple because the Buddhist monks of this temple do not join the Patriotic United Buddhist Association that is set up by the Vietnamese government to control the way Khmer-Krom practicing their Theravada Buddhism. Moreover, in 2007, one of the Buddhist monks, Venerable Kim Moul, from this temple, was leading a peaceful demonstration to demand for religious freedom. Venerable Kim Moul was arrested, defrocked, and imprisoned for 2 years. After he was released, he escaped to Thailand via Cambodia and later was granted Asylum to live in Sweden. In 2010, he was re-ordained as a Buddhist monk while attending the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York.

Prior to April 30, 1975, the Khmer-Krom people had their own Buddhist Associations without interfering from the government. When the Vietnamese communist took over their homeland, the Vietnamese government dispersed the Khmer-Krom Theravada Buddhist Associations and forced Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks to join the Patriotic United Buddhist Association (Hội Đoàn Kết Sư Sải Yêu Nước) under the umbrella of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS - Giáo Hội Phật Giáo Việt Nam). The VBS is under the control of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee (FFCC - Mặt Trận Tổ Quốc Việt Nam) which is a committee of the Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP).

Currently, the Vietnam Authority successfully forced most of the Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks to join the Patriotic United Buddhist Association. Some Buddhist monks refuse to join and are facing the oppression from the Vietnam authority, just like the Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks at the Tra Set temple.

Vietnam allows the Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks to become its Congress members as the case of Venerable Thach Houl. This way, the Vietnamese government can use the Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks who work for the government to oppress their own fellow Buddhist monks. Vietnam also uses those monks to represent for the Khmer-Krom to propagate about the “religious freedom” that Vietnam currently has.

The Vietnamese government now even embeds its agents in most of the Khmer-Krom temples to monitor the activities of the Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks. Thus, it makes the Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks living in FEAR and really scares to talk about their rights to freely practice their Theravada Buddhism because they may be arrested. All the activities of the Khmer-Krom rituals must ask for the permission from the Vietnam authority. The Khmer-Krom men even have to ask for the permission to be ordained as Buddhist monks.

In this regards, we would like to ask for your assistance to:

•Urge Vietnam to allow Venerable Ly Sol to be re-ordained as a Buddhist monk.

•Urge Vietnam to allow the Khmer-Krom to freely practice their Theravada Buddhism. They should not need to ask for permission even just to organize a simple Buddhist ritual.

•Remind Vietnam that religious freedom is a right, not a privilege granted by government.

•Urge Vietnam to allow the Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks to form an independent Theravada Buddhist organization to promote their rich and unique history, religion and culture.
Originally posted at:

Yours sincerely,

Thach Ngoc Thach

KKF President

Open Letter to the President of Vietnam – Mr. Truong Tan Sang on the International Human Rights Day – December 10, 2011

Embassy of Vietnam
Att.: Mr. Truong Tan Sang, President of Vietnam
1233 20th St NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036

Dear Mr. President:

Today, people around the globe are celebrating the International Human Rights Day to pay tribute to all human rights defenders and commemorate the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 63 years ago. Taking this opportunity, I would like to congratulate you as the President of Vietnam. Hopefully, with your new leadership, the people in Vietnam, especially the Indigenous Khmer-Krom Peoples, would have a fundamental freedom as stated in the UDHR.

This year, millions of people around the world - from Tunis to Madrid, from Cairo to New York – have organized peaceful demonstration movements to demand for their rights and change. As you know, “Ở đâu có áp bức, ở đó có đấu tranh - Wherever there is oppression, there is resistance” and with the current human rights violations against the human rights activists in Vietnam, I believe that the peaceful demonstrations to demand for basic rights and change would continue to happen everywhere in Vietnam. I am sure that you would not want to see that happen.

I would like to bring up the following human rights violations against our people to your attention:

On April 22, 2010, Mrs. Tran Thi Chau was arrested and later sentenced by the Court of Tra Vinh for two and half years in prison. Mrs. Tran Thi Chau had a land-grab dispute with the local authority at the Nhi Truong market in Nhi Truong village, Cau Ngang district, Tra Vinh province. The authority arrested her on her way to Wedding and then accused her with an allege crime to take over her land.

On March 31, 2011, Mr. Chau Hen was sentenced for two years in prison by the Court of Tri Ton district, An Giang province. Mr. Chau Hen used to organize peaceful demonstrations to demand returning the Khmer-Krom’s confiscated farmlands in Tri Ton district in 2007 and 2008. Because of leading the demonstrations to exercise his rights, he was accused of public disturbance and face injustice imprisonment.

On February 8, 2007, more than two hundred Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks organized a peaceful demonstration to demand for their rights to freely practice their Theravada Buddhism. Unfortunately, that peaceful protest was oppressed. Nineteen Buddhist monks was arrested and defrocked. Five Buddhist monks were sentenced to imprison. One of the Buddhist monks who were imprisoned and now live in Sweden is from Tra Set temple in Vinh Hai village, Vinh Chau district, Soc Trang province. Because of that reason, this temple is treated as the “enemy” of the government.

Last week, the local authority, led by Mr. QUÁCH VŨ XUÂN of Vinh Hai village framed a case to arrest Venerable Ly Sol with allege crime of raping a Khmer-Krom lady, Mrs. DANH THỊ TÚ, at 8pm in his temple, when all the monks in the temple did not sleep yet. According to Mrs. DANH THỊ TÚ, the local police forced her to finger printed on the complaint letter that was already written by the local authority to file complaint against Venerable Ly Sol so the authority has a reason to arrest and defrock him. This is an unjust action that is used to smear the good repute of our religion, especially to make people to distrust the Buddhist monks at Tra Set temple.

Two weeks ago, our organization received information regarding to the land rights violation against the CheAng Krom temple at Ta On commune, Chau Lang village, Tri Ton district, An Giang province. The local authority built a school on the temple’s land without the consent of the Abbot, Buddhist monks and the committee members of this temple. The representatives of the temple ask the local government to pay the compensation for taking the temple’s land. The local authority refused to pay compensation. Near that school, there is an old Pali school that is torn out. The authority wants the temple to destroy it to make spaces for their school, but the representatives of the temple refused. They are worrying that one day the authority may use forces to destroy the Pali school and take temple’s land.

When a Human Rights violation happens in Vietnam, the Khmer-Krom people have nowhere to ask for help. They have to contact our organization asking for help to raise their issue to the world to seek justice for them.

In celebrating the International Human Rights Day, I would like to ask for your assistance to:

• Release Mrs. Tran Thi Chau and Mr. Chau Hen without any condition because they just exercise their basic rights to demand returning his confiscated lands.

• Allow our Buddhist monks to form an independent Theravada Buddhist organization to promote our rich and unique history, religion and culture.

• Allow our people to have freedom of press, freedom of expression, and freedom of belief, especially freedom from FEAR. Also allow the freedom to organize the associations that are already stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, (and even in Vietnam’s constitution).

• Allow our people to freely defend themselves in front of the Vietnamese judicial system. Vietnam should stop accusing our people for “disturbing the Vietnamese society” and imprisoning them because of they just stand up to demand for their fundamental rights or just asking to return their confiscated lands.

• Allow human rights organizations to operating in Vietnam to help protecting and promoting the basic rights of the people in Vietnam. 
Originally posted at:

Yours sincerely,


Thach Ngoc Thach

KKF President

Ethnic gold winner still to peak

HA NOI — Young karate athlete Thach Thi Trang surprised her coaching staff by boosting team morale with a win in the women’s kumite (combat) 68kg category at the 26th SEA Games just finished in Indonesia. 
 Trang’s victory was all the more meaningful because she defeated the host country’s Mardiah Nasution in the final round in spite of a bloody nose.

There was a pause in the match as doctors tried to stop the bleeding after Nasution punched her in the face. The medical team spent a great deal of time and effort but had difficulty stopping the flow of blood and they were worried that Thanh wouldn’t be able to finish the match, forcing a forfeit. Finally she was able to go on in spite of the injury.

“I am very happy to take the gold medal in my first appearance at the SEA Games. This is exactly what I dared not to think of. I understand that people have high expectations of me so I just want to carry on with the competition without thinking about anything else,” Trang said.

Trang began her path to glory with a big stroke of luck as she was moved straight to the next round without taking part in the preliminary round. In the semi-final, she faced a huge obstacle: Malaysian Jamalliah Jamaludin, the defending champion and also the silver medallist at the 16th Asian Games (ASIAD) in China.

Coach Le Cong said: “Trang is slow and is bad at handling contingencies while the Malaysian athlete has much more experience. We encouraged her will and spirit by saying: ‘You are the first ethnic Khmer person taking part in the SEA Games and you could be the first to receive a medal. You fight not only for yourself but also for your compatriots’.”

Trang found the initiative to attack her rival with constant movements and powerful punches and kicks for a 2-0 win. After her triumph, she changed her tactics under the instruction her coach for a more comfortable final round.

The psychological situation helped Trang overcome the significant pressure imposed by the Indonesian supporters at the Tennis Indoor Stadium. She quickly took a seven point lead to ensure victory.

After training Trang for many years, the coach knows her strong and weak points. In reference to ways she could improve in the future, Cong said: “At present, Trang only competes against Southeast Asian rivals. If she wants to take part in Asian tournaments like ASIAD 16 gold medallist Le Bich Phuong and runner-up Vu Thi Nguyet Anh, she has to improve her speed and capability to react to the unexpected as well as gain experience by participating in many competitions.”

Trang was born into a poor Khmer family of seven children in the southern province of Tra Vinh.At the age 13, she started to practise karate with friends in the village without asking her parents’ permission. A few months later, she had to tell them the truth after bringing home a gold medal from a competition organised by the province. Her endeavour and unstoppable practice were repaid with a position in the Viet Nam national karate team in 2008. Trang grabbed a silver medal at her first showing in the South Korea Open International Karate Championship in 2010. — VNS 
Originally posted at:

Vietnam Exploits the Khmer-Krom Culture and Sport for Tourism

From December 2-4, 2011, Vietnam organized the Fifth Festival Culture, Sport and Tourist of the Khmer in South Vietnam to lure the tourists. This festival is organized every three years. The fifth festival is organized in Krabao (Tinh Bien) district, Mouth Chrouk (An Giang) province.
In three days festival, it covered many activities, such as: Boat Racing, Ox racing, exhibition, cultural shows, Khmer music shows, etc. There were twelve Khmer-Krom delegations from difference provinces attending this event. This year, there was a Khmer-Krom delegation from Toul Ta Mouk (Binh Phuoc) province which is not from the Mekong Delta region. There are very few Khmer-Krom still living in Toul Ta Mouk province because it locates near the border of Kampuchea-Krom and the Champa Kingdom (currently a central part of Vietnam).
As a normal tourist attending this festival, they will think that it is very nice of the Vietnamese government organizing this festival to help the Khmer-Krom having opportunity to show off their culture, sport, and especially their Khmer identity.
The Voice of Kampuchea-Krom Radio had interviewed some Khmer-Krom who attended this festival. They were happy to see the festival like this, but they pointed out that this festival is just used to polish the regime’s propaganda to the world:
• This is a Khmer festival, but most of the organizers, MCs, even some performers are Vietnamese.
• The Banners are in Vietnamese. Some banners have the Khmer language to indicate what province the Khmer-Krom delegation is from, but the names of the provinces pronounce as Vietnamese. For example, instead of calling the Preah Trapeang in Khmer language, they wrote in Khmer as Tra Vinh. Same as other provinces.
• It is a festival for Khmer-Krom to enjoy, but Vietnamese organizers sell tickets for Ox racing. The Khmer-Krom people are poor, so most of them don’t have money to buy the ticket to enjoy their traditional Ox racing sport. Moreover, more than half of the ox racing teams is Vietnamese, not the Khmer-Krom teams.
• Vietnamese government sent many polices to patrol for the safety, but when the Khmer-Krom women’s necklaces were robbed, none of the thief were caught and let the Khmer-Krom women suffered.
If Vietnamese government has a good heart to help Khmer-Krom to preserve their culture and traditional sports, just simply let the Khmer-Krom freely organize their own festivals. Please do not interfere, Vietnamize, and use the Khmer-Krom as puppet performers to entertain the tourists for the Vietnamese government’s benefits. Originally posted at: