Name: Ms. Do Thi Hong
Area of Origin: Vietnam (Ethnic Vietnamese)
Background: Follower of the Buddhist sect An Doan Dai Dao (ADDD)
Reason for her arrest: In early February 2012, the government of Phu Yen Province cracked down on An Dan Dai Dao (Blessed Flock of the Great Way, Vietnamese abbreviation: ADDD), a religious organization aiming to bring Buddhist enlightenment to everybody. During the crackdown, they arrested 22 ADDD adherents, including Mr. Phan Van Thu (the ADDD founder) and Ms. Hong for “plotting to overthrow the government of Vietnam” under Article 79 of the country’s 1999 Penal Code. In 2013, the People’s Court of Phu Yen Province convicted them and Ms. Hong was sentenced to 13 years in prison, followed by a 5 year probationary period. Lacking any real evidence, the court relied only on false charges and “confessions” extracted from the tortured victims to sentence the ADDD adherents to lengthy prison terms.
ADDD was founded by Mr. Phan Van Thu in 1969. By April 30, 1975, ADDD had established 14 temples, ordained hundreds of monks and nuns, and had tens of thousands of adherents. After the 1975 Communist invasion of South Vietnam, the new regime focused on eliminating this sect through seizing all its temples and religious materials and prosecuting Mr. Thu and other believers. A number of ADDD adherents fled to the U.S.
After relocating several times to avoid persecution, Mr. Thu and a number of followers (including a number of followers who returned as U.S. nationals) spent their own money and worked hard with their hands to build an entire eco-resort near Da Bia Mountain, a remote site in Phu Yen Province. The sect was hoping to support its members’ religious activities through income generated from tourists spending time at the eco-resort. No member had any kind of political agenda.
Update November 19, 2020
- Ms. Do Thi Hong was released from prison on November 13, 2020.