Congressman Lowenthal Statement On Passing Of Vietnamese Buddhist Patriarch Thich Quang Do

February 26, 2020
Press Release

Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) today issued the following statement on the passing of the Most Venerable Thich Quang Do, Patriarch of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam. The Patriarch was 93 and passed away at the Tu Hieu Temple in Saigon, where he has been residing:

“It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of the Most Venerable Thich Quang Do, Patriarch of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam.  This is a tremendous loss for the people of Vietnam and for people everywhere who believe in human rights and religious freedom.

“Two years ago, through my role as a member of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, I adopted the Patriarch as a prisoner of conscience. Vietnamese authorities had persecuted the Patriarch for more than three decades over his human rights and religious freedom advocacy within Vietnam. He spent nearly the last twenty years of his life under house arrest. 

“It was my distinct honor to meet and spend time with the Patriarch in 2015 during my trip to Vietnam with a Congressional delegation.  I was touched by his grace and impressed by his strength of character. Despite near constant oppression, he never swayed in his efforts to remain a powerful voice and symbol for human rights and religious freedom in Vietnam.

“During U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink’s recent visit to Little Saigon, I spoke about the Patriarch to the Ambassador. When news first broke of the Patriarch’s passing, my office informed our U.S. Mission in Vietnam and I’m glad to know that U.S. Consulate General officials in Saigon were able to attend the Patriarch’s funeral and Ambassador Kritenbrink has also issued a statement. I thank Ambassador Kritenbrink and our U.S. State Department for continuing to support religious freedom in Vietnam.

“The passing of the Patriarch is a tragic loss for the Vietnamese people, both in and out of Vietnam. It is also a sad reminder of the abuses the government of Vietnam continues to perpetrate on its own people.  I will continue to champion human rights and religious freedom in honor of the Most Venerable Thich Quang Do.”

Congressman Lowenthal meeting with Patriarch Thich Quang Do in May 2015.