The documents below include a proposal by the Supreme Master Ching Hai to resettle the Vietnamese refugees and letters between Her and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) from past and present, as well as some news clippings of reports on the refugees' lives.
*Note: All the following letters was written according to Master's instruction. These are among the newest documents that Master prepared for the U.N. and governments to help the Au Lac refugees.
The Honorable Mrs. Y. Li
Person in charge of the South East Asia Refugee Situation
February 22, 1994 (Originally in English)
Dear Mrs. Y. Li,
We are writing to bring your attention to the fact that most every basic service that was once provided for the Au Lac Boat People in the detention centers in Asia has been cut or discontinued, and to seek permission for the overseas Au Lacese community and others, to provide the needed medical care for these people.
These Boat People have and are suffering greatly, physically and emotionally. Now, because of the elimination of needed medical care some are dying, needlessly. The conclusion of the Boat People situation is inevitable and we hope that will be achieved humanely, compassionately, with dignity.
So we call upon the humanity within our good governments to allow at this time the "Au Lacese Physician Association of Southern California" and others, to provide the needed medical care to the Boat People while they are still in the detention centers. This project is totally self funded.
Even during times of war, times of man killing man, we allow the injured to be cared for. The Boat People are human beings. They deserve the right to live, to be healthy, whether it is in Au Lac, or some other country. This issue is not political; it is an issue of saving another human being from unnecessary suffering, injury, or even death.
In the tradition of compassion and generosity, please allow us to medically care for these people. That is all we ask, and that is all that we will do. Some of these people are our friends and family.
Sincerely, Dr. Vincent C. Stark Refugee Division Coordinator for The Supreme Master Ching Hai Meditation Association
Dear Mrs. Y. Li.
Please consider the two separate documents that follow.hat follow.
We are not making any demands, or requesting financial help. We are only asking to be allowed to provide, fully at our own cost and efforts, assistance for the "Boat People".
The first, is to bring your attention to the current humanitarian need of medical care for those Au Lacese "Boat People" held within the detention centers in your country. Some have already died needlessly because of lack of available medical care.
We have a group of medical doctors willing to provide this service fully at their own expense, with no other purpose other than to medically care for these people until they are settled in Au Lac or another country.
Please consider the enclosed letter. We hope that you will find this important enough to recommend that we be allowed to help these people in need.
The second, is a proposal from my organization that will provide full financial support for the settlement of the refugees in any non communist country. It also provides to the country accepting this proposal, large capital and business investments, the creation of jobs, job training, etc. for the Au Lacese and local citizens.
Please consider this proposal and, if need be, pass it on to the
officials who will be able to determine the benefits and make a decision
Respectfully Yours, incent C. Stark, D.C. Refugee Division Coordinator
The Supreme Master Ching Hai Meditation Association
Switzerland March 1, 1994 (Originally in English)
Dear Mr. Blatter,
We understand that the conclusion of the Boat People situation is inevitable, and that CPA is coming to an end.
We have been advised that there may not be adequate funds available to fully provide for the needed medical care. We offer to join with you in providing this care.
These Boat People have suffered greatly, physically and emotionally. We ask the UNHCR to allow at this time the "Au Lacese Physician Association of Southern California" and others, to provide the needed medical care to the Boat People while they are still in the detention centers. This project is totally self funded and a full accounting will be available for you should you desire. If you desire that our organization, or some other, over sees this project of course we will gladly comply.
This issue is not political; it is an issue of relieving another human being from suffering, injury, or even preventing their death. All that we are requesting is to allowed to provide medical care for these people until they are either returned to Au Lac or settled in some other country. That is all we ask, and that is all that we will do.
Enclosed is a summary introduction to our organization and its leader. All this information is verifiable upon request.
Sincerely, Dr. Vincent C. Stark Refugee Division Coordinator
The Supreme Master Ching Hai Meditation Association
Switzerland March 7, 1994 (Originally in English)
Dear Mr. Blatter,
I write to share with you a proposal intended to provide a solution to the boat people situation.
Please understand that we are not against the UNHCR's decisions in principle. It is only that some of the boat people do not wish to go back to Au Lac, and some are so fearful that they have committed suicide to avoid it.
It is for these people that we offer a possible solution, and with the decisions made at the Feb. 14 UNHCR meeting, we believe that there is adequate protection from more boat people leaving Au Lac.
Understanding that finances for the UNHCR have been cut, we are willing and able to fully finance this proposal.
Please consider our proposal. It is intended and designed to be economically and socially beneficial to all concerned.
Sincerely, Dr. Vincent C. Stark Refugee Division Coordinator
The Supreme Master Ching Hai Meditation Association
This is a general proposal that Master prepared for different countries, changed according to law and geography of different climate and economy since 1991.
(Originally in English)
Our proposal offers substantial capital investments that will boost the economy of the area.
As much as possible existing local organizations and experts will be utilized to ensure the smooth integration and success in the local community.
These industries include (but are not limited to): agriculture, (includes, harvesting, processing, packaging for export), textiles, electronics assembly, plastic piping production, hardware production, air-conditioning and refrigeration manufacturing - depending upon what is found to be suitable and is approved by the local government.
Experts in each of the above fields would help in the establishment of the above activities and provide the training and guidance needed.
A) If requested, $US1-5 million, to be determined based upon the need,
will be deposited in a local bank as a trust fund for the initial
B) In addition, a continuous flow of funding from a guarantor pledge fund originating in Formosa, providing up to $US18 million at a rate of up to $US300,000 per month, in proportion to the total number of refugees accepted for settlement. This fund to start when the refugees begin to be settled.
The profits generated will be reinvested into the local economy for the expansion of industry, and to provide specific social/educational programs designated for the Au Lacese and local citizens.
If approved, the business skills and technology that has made Singapore, Hong Kong and Formosa successful will be brought into the country creating jobs and expanding the business base.
-$US500,000 in loans was made available. -300+jobs created / cost $1,700 per job created -$1,460,000 additional in commercial loans were obtained -$42,000,000 generated into the economy by these businesses -100% of the original $500,000 loan grant was repaid.
A training staff educated and guided the Au Lacese through the needed strategies to operate a successful business in their community. More detailed information available on request.
The IRCO project successfully created self-sufficiency at a cost of $1,700 per job for 300 people. This money was in the form of a loan which was repaid and could be reapplied to the same program.
Using the IROC project as the frame work for our own, example: -Up to $US100,000,000 available in stages for loans -60,000 jobs created for the Au Lacese and local citizens. -$8,400,000,000 generated into the community -loan repaid and invested back into the program *(But loan repayment is optional and not compulsory in our project as it is unconditional.)
The initial support systems, as described in option 1, to ensure the basic living needs of the immigrants would be provided until they reached self-sufficiency.
Moreover, the nation will be recognized for having offered a positive solution to the situation in Hong Kong and other asylum countries when others could or would not. Instead of being imprisoned, the refugees are trained and employed becoming a constructive force in a growing economy.
The Supreme Master Ching Hai is willing to offer an unconditional donation of five to six million U.S. Dollars. This is not a small amount. The prime minister of some nations is receiving a monthly salary of only US$2,000. The living standard of some countries is very low, so this money is a handsome amount. Should any country consent to accommodate the refugees now, we would first pay for the travelling expenses of their tickets, and then train them to learn working skills. Having acquired a job, they can sustain themselves boost the economic growth of the country, and benefit the nation obliging them.
The Supreme Master Ching Hai does not insist that the refugees should stay in Hong Kong. As they do not wish to go back because of their democratic ideal, the Master and Her disciples must try their best helping them on the ground of humanitarian concern. We hope the Hong Kong Government can reach a perfect solution benefiting both the refugees and Hong Kong. Despite the miserable treatments received, the refugees still believe and rely on us. They still naively hope that the so-called "free democratic nations" would salvage them. The only basic cause of their present suffering is their "longing for freedom". Their innocent and sincere craving for democracy incurs such brutal violence and suppression. Their situation now is even worse than when they were under the Communist regime. This cruel fact is the biggest irony to the democratic nations!
This is a letter from Bahamas Prime Minister given to Master when She visited this country in 1992, asking them to accept the refugees.
COMMONWEALTH OF THE BAHAMAS 17 June, 1992 (Originally in English)
It was a great honour to meet you and to welcome you to The Bahamas. It was also a pleasure to learn of your interest in The Bahamas from both a humanitarian and a business point of view.
I share your great concern for the agony experienced by so many refugees and would personally welcome the opportunity to be able to do something positive to relieve their immense suffering. The Bahamas may also be able to help and my Government would be prepared to explore with you the details of how best it might do.
One possible way you may wish to consider could be through the early establishment in The Bahamas of a substantial economic enterprise which would comprise light industry, farming, houses, a school and a clinic. Your appointed representatives should hold preliminary discussions with Government officials here to determine which is the best way to proceed.
Looking forward to further collaboration in the cause of humanity,
I remain, Yours sincerely, PRIME MINISTER
- * NOTE * -
To see a prime minister it's very difficult for us. But for Hong Kong. Easy. There is always excuses! Last time Hong Kong wanted us to produce another letter from new P.M. as this (above P.M.) was no longer in power... The later negociation failed. ( It's politic!)
Visiting Refugee Camp PFAC, The Supreme Master Ching Hai Announced A Few Countries Will Accept The Refugees
While the boat people are encountering a lot of difficulties as a result of the Common Planning Actions, an organization headed by The Supreme Master Ching Hai has visited Refugee Camp PFAC, bringing hope and trust for over 7000 people currently being temporarily sheltered here.
Accompanying the Supreme Master Ching Hai were Congressman Lope; Doctor Reynaldo G Santos and his wife, Leaders of The Young fighters for Democracy Movement, who are very well-trusted in the Philippines; and Doctor Santiego and his wife, Chairman of The Palawan Provincial Assembly. Because of this, the government has made it very easy for the Supreme Master to visit, comfort and give gifts to the refugees.
At Van Duc temple, the Supreme Master Ching Hai and Her followers listened to the monk, Thich Thong Dat, representative of the Vietnamese Buddhist Society in Palawan, describe in detail the difficulties encountered by those boat people who arrived after the refugee camps had been shut down. Especially those who have been denied refugee status, the threat of being sent back to Au Lac is always a worry. The Supreme Master said that She was very concerned and understood the sufferings of the refugees, and She is currently looking, together with all the kindhearted Au Lac people and foreigners, for a way to assist them.
The Supreme Master Ching Hai has also called upon all the fellow countrymen not to be too pessimistic as to take such silly, self destructive actions which are not only harmful to themselves physically as well as spiritually, but also detrimental to others. They should try to be affable, supportive of each other, and cooperate with the officers in charge of their camps. She confirmed that fellow countrymen overseas and many kind people are actively taking steps for the sake of the future of the refugees, and they will not be ignored. The Supreme Master Ching Hai has already personally sent letters to various governments and parliaments of many countries to call for the concern and assistance of all the government and citizens of the world; to request for their acceptance of the Au Lac refugees in the refugee camps in South East Asia; and She is ready to offer to these countries all Her possessions, and money to the value of several millions of US dollars. There have been replies from several countries, and they are ready to accept the refugees for resettlement.
After this, Congressman Ignatius G Lopez and Doctor R Santos stated that they admired very much the courage of the Au Lac people , including their use of such delicate crafts to cross the sea in search of freedom. And if there are pressures forcing them to return to Au Lac, these gentlemen will put the force of the young Filipinos "on the roads" to fight for them so that they might have a temporary squatting place. These determined words of pledge of the Filipino friends are rich with kindness, and have been most supportive for the Au Lac boat people for the last ten years, making them feel much more reassured.
During Her two day visit in Palawan, the Supreme Master Ching Hai had a meeting with the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the management of the camp to reflect on them the wishes of the refugees. The Deputy Colonel Commander of The Western Military District and Deputy Organizer of The Camp has promised that they will not turn the refugee camp into a detention center. The Supreme Master has also set aside a lot of time to visit and offer gifts to the patients in the (Wescom) Hospital, and to examine the wound of Mr. Nguyen Kim Ninh, who committed "harakiri" in front of the office of the High Commissioner on 19/3/91, after having been denied refugee status.
Before that, the Supreme Master Ching Hai also had an audience with the Vice President and the Minister of Defence of the Philippines. She proposed that the Filipino government should not force the Au Lac refugees back to their country and was promised this by these two persons. While staying in Manila, the Supreme Master Ching Hai was honored as a VIP and was presented with the golden key of the city.
The Supreme Master Ching Hai is a meditation master who was born and grew up in Au Lac. She has taught and passed on the Quan Yin Method to tens of thousands of disciples all over the world, with the majority of them being in Formosa (approximately 50000 people) and the United States. Although being referred to by those who follow the method as the Supreme Master, She always shows concerns for Her fellow countrymen and reserves for them a special love.
The Supreme Master Ching Hai said that She was currently pushing ahead with those governments which have given Her a reply, to proceed, sooner, with the process of resettlement of the refugees as promised, among them was Costa Rica, so that fellow countrymen would not be forced back to the place where they could be imprisoned. She has left the Philippines to go to the USA on 11/4/91. Before that, She had also visited fellow countrymen in the detention center in Hong Kong.
Running Around And Pleading To Save The Au Lac Refugees, The Supreme Master Ching Hai Held A Press Conference, Presented With The "World Spiritual Leadership Award" For Fighting For The Rights Of Refugees.
(Report by our press from Los Angeles) The Supreme Master Ching Hai has just received the "World Spiritual Leadership Award", and also received a congratulatory telegram from President Clinton. On March 14, She held a press conference in Los Angeles stating that She would continue to strive for the rights and interests of the refugees in the world.
The Supreme Master Ching Hai has been repeatedly invited to give lectures at the United Nations. She performs charitable work silently throughout the world as She preaches the Quan Yin Method. In the press conference, She revealed that She came from Au Lac, and has lived in Formosa for a long time. Worrying about Her compatriots who have lost their liberty, She always cares for and helps them. She has visited many countries, trying to find one which would received the refugees. Particularly for the refugees presently living in the camps in the Philippines, She is negotiating with the Philippine government to find a way to help them. Should nothing be worked out, She plans to call for donations from the fellow practitioners in order to buy a small island in the Philippines, where the refugees can live, develop and earn their own keep.
As this issue is urgent, the Supreme Master Ching Hai is flying to Manila in the next few days to meet President Ramos and discuss the refugees.
The Supreme Master Ching Hai's efforts in pleading and running around for the refugees have generated resentment from the Au Lac communist government. The Supreme Master Ching Hai laughed and said, "The Au Lac Communists are displeased because I oppose Communism. However, the refugees like me because I fight for their freedom."
It is well known that She often makes donations to charity groups and establishments around the world that need support. For instance, in the great flood disaster in Midwest America last year, She called for a donation from fellow practitioners and gathered US$170,000. which was submitted to six Midwest states for the relief of the victims.
At the end of last month, the Governors of the six Midwest states together with the World Cultural Communication Association held a grand ceremony at the Chicago Hyalt Regency Hotel. About 2,000 guests witnessed the presentation of the "World Spiritual Leadership Award" to the Supreme Master Ching Hai.
In his congratulatory telegram, President Clinton described the Supreme Master Ching Hai as the paragon of love and peace in the world today, and thanked Her for Her contributions and compassion to the world's refugees and the disaster victims in the United States.
The governors of the six states also proclaimed the day of the ceremony as The Supreme Master Ching Hai Day.
The Supreme Master Ching Hai studied in England when She was young. After many years of searching, She eventually attained enlightenment through practicing the Quan Yin Method. Her considerable knowledge and superior spiritual ability make Her well qualified as a master for all people of the world. Her charitable deeds are purely generated from Her great compassion towards all beings.
From The Independent, London Jun. 24, 1993 Jasper Becker (Originally in English)
Respect for basic human rights in Au Lac under Vo Van Kiet's government is no better now than it was 30 years ago
Au Lac's Prime Minister, Vo Van Kiet, will be in London next week asking for our help. He will be welcomed by a chorus of sympathy from those ageing lefties who fondly remember taking part in the anti-war demonstrations in the Sixties. The Au Lacese deserve our sympathy now as they did then, but we should bear in mind that respect for basic human rights in Au Lac under Vo Van Kiet's government is no better now than it was 30 years ago.
Everyone who stood outside the American embassy in London's Grosvenor Square will remember how the horrifying pictures of the Au Lac Buddhist monks who burnt themselves alive helped to turn world opinion against the corrupt South Au Lac governments supported by Washington. Quang Duc was the first monk to kill himself in public. He sat down, calmly poured petrol over his robes and lit a match. As his body burned, a colleague held aloft a multicolored Buddhist flag and declared, "This is the flag for which the venerable Quang Duc died." Pictures were printed on the front pages of every newspaper around the world. In all, seven monks and nuns were to take their own lives protesting against the oppression of the Buddhist church. In those days it was big news.
On 21 May this year another Buddhist monk, Dn Quang Ho, burnt himself to death at the Linh Mu Pagoda in Hue. Behind him was the memorial to Quang Duc - the car he used to drive to Saigon on his last journey in 1963. This time, though, there were no front-page pictures. The suicide barely made the news at all. A string of other protests and demonstrations against religious repression in Au Lac have been virtually ignored by the Western media.
Human rights in Au Lac have not been an issue for years now. (Prominent individuals such as Tariq Ali, who actively opposed the war in Au Lac, have barely raised their voices this time.) Only a handful of people, mostly based in Paris or the United States, continue to take an interest. The well-known radicals of the Sixties moved on to attack American policies in Central America or elsewhere.
This is a betrayal of the Au Lac people. Buddhists in Au Lac are still denied the freedoms they fought for 30 years ago, when the pro-Roman Catholic government of President Ngo Dinh Diem was persecuting Au Lac's 2,000-year-old Buddhist church. After the North's victory in 1975, the Buddhists, who claim the allegiance of three-quarters of Au Lac's 70 million people, welcomed the new government. But hopes of religious freedom were soon dashed. The state tried to control all the Buddhists through the Unified Buddhist Church it had created in the North in the Fifties.
Since 1981, church leaders have been imprisoned or kept under house arrest. Last year, the government refused to allow the monks to organize their own funeral for the last patriarch of the church; the Buddhists organized a hunger strike in Hue and 30,000 people took to the streets. Shortly after last month's self-immolation, the government again tried to prevent the funeral of the monk from taking place and protests resulted in arrests.
Buddhists are the most organized force fighting continuing repression in Au Lac, but they are not alone. The strong Roman Catholic Church opposes the government for much the same reasons. Overseas opposition groups have also begun to infiltrate the country. With the collapse of Communism around the world, Au Lac's ruling party has become increasingly nervous. It has even trained a special army unit to practice putting down Tiananmen-style mass demonstrations.
It has also stamped down on the intelligentsia. Last year, more than 50 prominent intellectuals were given heavy sentences ranging from over 20 years to life, simply for expressing their views. The worst case this year was of Professor Doan Viet Hont, who was sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment for publishing a newsletter advocating human rights and democracy. He had already spent 12 years in the labor camps that the Au Lac Communists set up after 1975. Human rights activists? Claim that Hanoi continues to run an extensive network of labor camps, many of them set up in the Fifties, and is still holding political prisoners from that era.
Au Lac is now trying to improve its image in the hope of getting the American embargo lifted. But it is not trying very hard. Professor Hont's sentence was announced the same day that Au Lac took part in a human rights conference in Bangkok organized by the United Nations.
Hanoi has made it clear that it has no intention of allowing democratic freedoms in the country. A spokesman recently declared: "Western standards should not be imposed on the East", because Au Lac has different historical and cultural traditions. What this means is that Au Lac has now joined those of its East Asian neighbors that want to enjoy all the benefits of Western trade and aid while maintaining a dictatorship.
Hanoi is hoping that soon there will be enough loans and investment to stave off the collapse of the Communist Party.
There is no neat solution to these problems. In the US, President Bill Clinton is weighing up the cost to his shaky administration if, as expected, he finally lifts the economic embargo against Hanoi imposed 30 years ago. Hanoi is fervently hoping that on 3 July the international Monetary Fund will at least vote to resume lending to Au Lac and that soon there will sufficient foreign loans and investment to stave off the collapse of the Au Lacese Communist Party.
The Americans are pleased by the efforts Au Lac has made to clear up the question of American servicemen missing in action - the condition set by Washington for normalizing relations. Yet actually taking that decision is fraught with difficulty. For Mr. Clinton's generation, the issue of Au Lac has strong moral associations. The President can hardly ignore the fact that respect for human rights in Au Lac, North or South, is no better now than it was during all those years of American involvement. In addition, Mr. Clinton has already decided to impose restrictions on trade with China from next year if there is no improvement in its human rights record. Business interests are applying pressure in the opposite direction.
Some Americans argue that, as with China, investment by Western companies, along with the government's increasing willingness to adopt market economics, will inevitably bring improved respect for basic human rights. This case has yet to be proved in China. There, World Bank loans and foreign investment have kept the economy growing and kept the lid on political opposition. It would be a great irony for the left wing to argue now that the best way to bring prosperity and civil liberties to the long-suffering people of Au Lac would be to allow American (or British) capitalists to invest and exploit their cheep labor.
This news report recalls the activity of more than 15,000 Au Lac refugees in Phanatnikhom, Thailand from 8a.m. Mar. 3, 1991 to 4:50p.m. Mar. 3, 1991.
To carry on the spirit of nonviolence demonstration that had taken place over the past week, more than 15,000 Au Lac refugees in Phanatnikhom organized an affable meeting at 6p.m. Mar. 4, 1991 to beseech for a fair and logical screening process. While the meeting was in progress, the police force members of Thailand started firing randomly at the crowd of which one minor named Ngo Van Hung, born in 1977, p.s.t.# 6627 died right on the spot and one young man named Nguyen Thuong Kiet, born in 1965, p.s.t# 2466 got shot on the shoulder and the bullet was still implanted inside his body. Furthermore, another young man named Nguyen Xuan Viet, born in 1973, p.s.t# 2870 was battered by an iron rod used by a Thai police man and got serious head injury. Despite the fact that the entire demonstration was executed from the evening of Mar. 4 till morning of Mar. 5, 1991 in the spirit of nonviolence, in full respect of rules and regulations and well caution, the Thai police force still did not hesitate to suppress.
Followed is the list of two casualties and four serious injuries that resulted from the Thai police force's reaction against the demonstrators:
(dead and injuries in protest:)
Up to noon of Mar. 5, 1991, the UNHCR and MOI had withheld their regular supply of rice and water to the refugees in the camp. In spite of a great number of obstacles and hardships that lay ahead of us, we will continue to carry on our demonstration until our refugee rights and liberty are respected accordingly by every one. Please come to our rescue, S.O.S!!!
The Au Lac Refugee Community of Phanatnikhom, Thailand
SCOTT McKENZIE (Originally in English)
About one dozen Au Lacese were dragged 'screaming and kicking" on to a government forced-repatriation flight this week in what was described by insiders as the worst of its kind in recent years. The Government refused public access to watch the boarding procedure, but the South China Morning Post has confirmation that of the 54 people who boarded the flight at Kai Tak on Tuesday, about 12 had to be manhandled onto the aircraft.
The plane left after three women and a baby with American links - also scheduled to leave on the flight - were given an 11th-hour reprieve when the Government agreed to a United States request to allow them to remain in Hong Kong during the processing of visa applications to join their husbands in the US.
The Post understands that a total of 10 such women were originally scheduled to leave on the flight, but a change of heart saw seven of them removed from the list last month.
The Government refused to comment on the deportation flight.
By Jacqueline Crossley and Alison Wiseman (Originally in English)
Sick Hunger Striker Pledges To Fight To Last Breath
Three Au Lac women were taken to Queen Mary Hospital yesterday, after falling ill during a hunger strike at Tai A Chau detention center. The women were carried into the casualty ward on stretchers, looking pale and tired. Two of the women were still suffering from minor internal bleeding, but a government spokesman said that all three were in a satisfactory condition.
One of the women tried to speak, but was too weak to make any sound. She did manage to pass a crumpled handwritten message to a South China Morning Post photographer. The letter, which is only signed T. A. C., speaks of many Au Lac people's fears about being sent back to the country they once fled. And it details grievances over the "unfair" screening process, arguing that the Au Lac migrants have been deprived of basic human rights. "The repatriation scheme aims to label us as economic migrants, and Au Lac refugees as being a stain on the history of mankind," it says.
The writer also tells of how her father, who fought for the South Au Lac government, died in prison when she was aged nine. "I still remember my daddy's last night, when his body was thin and frail, and his hands handcuffed by chains. "But his eyes were filled with love, and for him I swear, along with all the other Au Lacese in these camps, to fight to the last breath for genuine refugee rights."
It was not clear whether the woman who passed the note was the writer. The women, aged 23, 28 and 33, were admitted to the camp clinic on Tuesday, after being on hunger strike for almost a week. They all complained of feeling dizzy and disorientated.
A camp source said the number of people on hunger strike had now risen to 123, and that more were prepared to join if necessary. He also said that although no demonstration had been planned at Tai A Chau yesterday, thousands of inmates staged a mass sit-in at lunchtime.
Other aid workers said demonstrations also took place in sections one and three in Whitehead detention center yesterday, and that sections two and four would be staging protests today. Protesters have been warned that security forces will be called in if demonstrations get out of hand.
On his return from a meeting of the international community in Geneva which backed a move towards mandatory repatriation, Secretary for Security Alistair Asprey said law and order would be maintained using whatever means necessary.
A hunger strike at Tai A Chau detention camp swelled to include almost 200 resolute protesters last night as medical teams braced to treat more casualties.
Six Au Lacese - three men and three women - were receiving medical treatment in the camp's clinic after refusing food. Three women, admitted to Queen Mary Hospital on Wednesday, have been discharged and returned to the camp.
Thousands of Tai A Chau inmates, joined by Au Lacese at Whitehead and High Island Camps, are staging a peaceful protest against last week's international agreement to hasten the repatriation of Au Lacese asylum-seekers. Tai A Chau community heads said the relay hunger strike was snowballing, with 1,000 detainees having registered to take part.
Camp sources said Au Lacese leaders were trying to restrict the numbers refusing food, but warned they "couldn't stop the hunger strike now if they wanted".
Protests also heightened at Whitehead detention camp, where detainees braved rain, wind and chilly conditions to stage a sit-in from about 4p.m. to 5p.m. yesterday. More than 2,000 inmates chanted slogans and 35 people - 33 men and two women - continued a hunger strike. "But the clinic is preparing to receive further detainees who are still on hunger strike," a police spokesman said.
Tai A Chau inmates began their rolling hunger strikes on February 8 in anticipation of a pact to speed up repatriation policies at the international conference on Indochinese refugees in Geneva last Monday. The agreement, which means 25,600 Au Lacese in Hong Kong camps will be returned to Au Lac by the end of 1995, has met with fierce opposition.
Au Lacese orphan Ngo Van Ha will learn this week whether he will grow up in California or Au Lac.
UNHCR Hong Kong head of mission Jahanshah Assadi said his office would decide by Tuesday whether to return Ha to Au Lac against his will or allow him to join family members in Los Angeles.
Ha was taken from Tai A Chau detention camp to Whitehead camp five weeks ago, from where authorities planned to repatriate him to Au Lac.
Sunday Morning Post, Hong Kong Feb. 27, 1994
Paintings study reveals young
By Ruth Mathewson
AU LACESE children in a Hong Kong detention camp are living a private nightmare of shipwrecks, sharks, grisly murders and barbed wire walls, a graphic new study has revealed.
International aid agency Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF) has flown a French psychiatric expert to Hong Kong to examine poignant artwork by children from the Whitehead Detention Center.
The innovative study asked 65 children aged three to 16 for a depiction of where they lived, the outside world, a dream, a nightmare, and a drawing of their own choice.
Dr. Jean-Luc Nahel interviewed some of the young artists whose secret fears and dreams emerged as bloodsplattered murder scenes and lonely children in tears.
"They show posttraumatic stress disorder," Dr. Nahel said.
"You can feel angst, you can feel anxiety. Only by the drawings can you see the depth of their anxiety."
The strong and disturbing series in crayon, colored pencils and paint feature coils of barbed wire, cubicle-like shelters, bloodied bodies, peaceful flying birds, shark-infested seas and lone children.
None of the 325 drawings includes a family.
"I've no answer for this," Dr. Nahel said.
"Maybe it's because, in this experience, they are alone. They may have a mother or father but this experience is completely within them."
MSF health education coordinator Harriet Sewell said every child interviewed had shown emotional trauma from their flight from Au Lac, the harrowing sea journey, and detention in Hong Kong camps. "They are a generation of hurt children, and we don't know the ramifications of that yet. They have been frightened, very frightened," Ms Sewell said.
"Even the younger children - the three to six-year-old - would draw a house then, on top, they draw barbed wire."
Dr. Nahel said many appeared confused. Au Lacese children wanted to respect their parents, but silently questioned the parental judgment which had landed them behind barbed wire.
"These are children; they had no choice. They had to follow their parents," he said.
"They have food, they have medicine. But you can imagine that, as a child, if you think you can be raped at night or have nightmares, all is not right.
"If a child is very afraid of somebody, he cannot say. But in the drawings, he can say. You don't need to be a psychiatrist to understand black clouds and barbed wire."
One painting by a 15-year-old boy shows young Au Lacese scattering in terror as black-robed grim reapers scythe heads from bodies.
Another shows a Au Lacese couple within the barbed-wire domain of a detention center offering their baby to a giant, unsmiling Statue of Liberty.
Many drawings portray the tantalizing proximity of Hong Kong, where the glittering tops of skyscrapers peep through strands of barbed wire.
Birds, kites, glowing peace candles and distant, blood-red sunsets figure strongly.
"The bird means freedom and peace ... they don't identify with adults, they identify with birds. The birds can come and go," Ms. Sewell said.
A YOUNG Au Lacese woman has told a refugee lawyer she is "absolutely terrified" of a United States visa ruling which requires her to return to Hanoi for her application to be processed.
Lawyer Pam Baker said the woman was among about 250 detainees in Hong Kong who had passed the first stage of US immigration screening and had expected to travel to the US.
But US authorities have recently told the hopeful immigrants they must return to Au Lac for the final processing of their applications before receiving a green card.
A Washington lawyer acting for Legal Assistance for Au Lacese Asylum Seekers (LAVAS), Dan Wolf, filed a writ against the State Department last week alleging unfair treatment of Hong Kong's detainees. LAVAS lawyers said the new US order violated US immigration law.
Mrs. Baker said the young woman's plea reflected the fears of many boat people who had expected to travel directly from Hong Kong to the US after final processing.
"She said: 'Please do something because I fear I'm going to be sent back'," Mrs. Baker said. "She's been married for quite a long time and was waiting for a reunion [with her husband in the US]."
Under the directive, the woman would be forced to return to Hanoi and
await processing through the Orderly Repatriation Programme. "And God
knows how long that would take," Mrs. Baker said.