Religious clerics express confidence in Government policy

Vietnam News Agency, Dec 7, 2004

Jakarta, Indonesia -- Buddhism in Viet Nam is strongly growing and believers' confidence in the Government's unswerving respect for the religious freedom is rising especially since the Ordinance on Religion was issued, said a leading Buddhist monk.

The Most Venerable Thich Gia Quang, who is a member of the Secretariat, permanent member of the Executive Council of the Viet Nam Buddhist Sangha and Deputy Head of the Sangha's International Buddhism Department, made the statement in a brief interview with VNA on Monday after attending the Dialogue on Interfaith Cooperation held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Quang said the fourth congress of the Viet Nam Buddhist Sangha and the promulgation of the ordinance on religion have enhanced the sector and religious lives of Vietnamese Buddhists.

His report at the Dialogue stressed the Vietnamese people's aspiration and right to live in peace, happiness and prosperity as well as in friendship with other nations, regardless of religion and races.

Quang's view was shared by Pastor Phung Quang Huyen, Head of the Viet Nam Protestant Church (northern region), who accompanied him to the Dialogue in Indonesia.

Pastor Huyen said the situation for Protestants in Viet Nam is pretty good. The Viet Nam Protestant Church (northern region) has recently concluded its 32nd Congress and is adjusting its rules to the new developments. The Viet Nam Protestant Church (northern region) has elected a new leadership and passed an orientation for the 2004-08 term. He also said Protestant believers strongly trusted the Government's policy on freedom of religion. They are enthusiatically preparing for Christmas, Pastor Huyen said.