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Thích Quảng Độ (born November 27, 1928) is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, religious leader, and critic of the Vietnamese government. Following the death of Thich Huyen Quang, he is expected to take up the post of Patriarch of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, a currently banned sect in Vietnam.
Born Đặng Phúc Tuệ in Thai Binh Province, Vietnam, he has been a member of the leadership of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam since the 1960s. He has criticised the current regime of Vietnam and has been jailed several times. In 2001, he launched the "Appeal for Democracy in Vietnam" plan and was placed under house arrest in Thanh Minh Temple in Saigon.
1.1 Early years
1.2 Quảng Độ's activism
1.3 Subsequent arrests and imprisonments
1.4 Recent events
2 External links
 Early years
Two tragic images stand out in the Most Venerable Thich Quang Do's memory: the cold-blooded murder of his religious master, Thich Duc Hai, on the same day the communists came to power in Vietnam, August 19, 1945; and the arrest and subsequent execution of his religious brother, Thich Dai Hai, in 1946 for belonging to a non-communist party, the Vietnam Nationalist Party. (Details given in a letter Thich Quảng Độ sent to the general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Do Muoi, on August 19, 1994).
For that reason, this religious leader has devoted his life to achieving peace and freedom in Vietnam.
 Quảng Độ's activism
In 1975, after Vietnam fell under communism, Thich Quảng Độ, as a high ranking leader in the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV), protested against the Revolutionary government's infringements on religious freedoms and confiscation of UBCV properties. Considered "an obstruction" to the work of the government in religious matters, he and five other leaders of the UBCV were arrested in April 1977. They were tortured and, in October of that year, asked to admit that they worked for the CIA. Ven. Thich Quang Do was brought to trial on December 8, 1978. The government only charged him with "disturbing the peace and spreading misinformation" and later released him.
To undermine the UBCV's influence in the population, the government created its own Buddhist Church of Vietnam in 1981. Thich Quang Do and various other Buddhist leaders were detained for 24 hours so that the incorporation of the UBCV into the structure of the state-run church could proceed.
The government then announced the unification of the Buddhist Church had been "complete" and the UBCV was declared illegal. That was how the government justified its arrest on Feb. 25, 1982 of Thich Quang Do and Thich Huyen Quang, the two most prominent figures of the "recalcitrant opposition UBCV." They were subsequently exiled to separate locations. Ven. Thich Quang Do was sent to his birth place of Vu Doai in Thai Binh province. His mother, then in her 90s, was also exiled with him and died of cold three years later in the winter of 1985.
 Subsequent arrests and imprisonments
In March 1992, after more than ten years of internal exile, Thich Quang Do took it upon himself to return to Saigon. In August 1994, he wrote a 44-page document addressed to Party General-Secretary Do Muoi detailing the persecution against the UBCV since the communists came to power in Vietnam. For writing this document, he was arrested on January 4, 1995.
On August 15, 1995, Thich Quảng Độ and five other monks and laity were trialed by the People's Court of Ho Chi Minh City and convicted of "sabotaging government policies and damaging the interests of the state." The chief evidence was the defendants' attempt to organize an emergency food convoy to flood victims in the Mekong delta and the distribution of letters written by Thich Huyen Quang, the patriarch of the UBCV, who was under house arrest until his death in 2008. Thich Quảng Độ received a prison term of five years.
He was released from prison on August 30, 1998. Periodically detained and interrogated, he decried human rights abuses in interviews with the foreign media and letters to world leaders. Widely respected internationally, he was nominated for the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize by 200 parliamentarians from the US, Canada, Australia, France and Belgium.
On March 23, 1999, he was detained and interrogated for six hours after travelling to Quang Ngai province to meet with the 80-year old patriarch of the UBCV. He was then forcibly escorted back to Ho Chi Minh City.
In June 2001, authorities formally placed Venerable Thich Quang Do under house arrest after he announced his intention to escort back to Saigon the 82-year old patriarch of the UBCV living under house arrest for the last 19 years. Security police currently maintain a 24-hour cordon around the pagoda of Venerable Thich Quang Do.
 Recent events
In January 2008, the Europe-based magazine A Different View chose Ven. Thich Quang Do as one of the 15 Champions of World Democracy. Others in the list include Nelson Mandela, Lech Walesa, Corazon Aquino, and Aung San Suu Kyi.
Quang Do broke house arrest in July 2008 to stay at the bedside of his colleague, Thich Huyen Quang, who died in house arrest at his monastery.
 External links
"The Most Venerable Thich Quang Do: Secretary General Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam" Vietnamese Federation For Fatherland's Integrity site, Voices of Conscience section.
A newspaper article (Norwegian)
"Worldwide Nomination of Ven. Thich Quang Do for 2000 Nobel Prize"
"Nomination of Venerable Thich Quang Do for 2007 Nobel Prize"
Thích Quảng Độ in 48 on Al-Jazeera
Thích Quảng Độ - In My View
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Categories: 1928 births Living people Modern Buddhist writers Civil rights activists Humanitarians Unified Buddhist Church Buddhists Vietnamese Buddhists Vietnamese politicians Vietnamese democracy activists Vietnamese human rights activists Vietnamese prisoners and detainees Prisoners