The Aulacese (Vietnamese) people are very independent and they have high self-esteem. They do not like to lead a nomadic life away from their homeland, begging for food and love from other people. In their four to five thousand years of history, none of the Aulacese (Vietnamese) had ever fled their own country to become a refugee. There were no refugees even at times of impoverishment or during the frequent wars. China ruled Âu Lạc (Vietnam) for a millennium, yet no one fled. France ruled it for a hundred years, and no one left then either.
Some wars lasted for decades, and floods and other natural disasters struck the country, yet no one tried to escape. Why then are they fleeing their country now? Why are millions of the Aulacese (Vietnamese) - men and women, old and young, rich and poor, politicians and civilians - fleeing their own country after five thousand years of history? Please think about it. It is because God wants us to know that love is a precious treasure, that freedom is the right ideal. If we turn our backs on these refugees, we will be betraying our own ideal. We will be the ones who are really pitiful, not the refugees. It is our ideal, our soul, our noble way of thinking that is important, not our physical life.
This was the oppressive situation that existed four years ago. Now, after so many years, they are still doing these things - frightening and abusing the refugees. That's why we need to urgently save them. This is to let you know a little bit. The video is long and we worry that you cannot stay that long. Let's continue with our program. .
*The petition with one million signatures will be presented by the representatives of Formosa (Taiwan) and other countries, calling for help for the Aulacese (Vietnamese) refugees. Now, we invite the people's representatives, the legislators and the National Assembly members to the stage to accept the petition with 1 million signatures. Thank you.
*The petition is signed by over 1.3 million people and 1 million of them are from Formosa (Taiwan). We signed this petition because we hope the free countries, especially the government of Formosa (Taiwan), will accept the Aulacese (Vietnamese) refugees. We hope our government will pay attention to the will of these 1 million people and consider accepting the Aulacese (Vietnamese) refugees living in Hong Kong. They are in a life-and-death situation. We hope these elected representatives of Formosa (Taiwan) can act on behalf of these 1 million people, to tell our government to consider this proposal. One million is a big number. These are just some of them, and there are many more outside the hall, as you can see.
*To solve the issue of the Aulacese (Vietnamese) refugees, we have a few proposals. Let's invite Supreme Master Ching Hai to announce these proposals.
We have written a proposal in regards to the Aulacese (Vietnamese) refugees. Each one of you was given an envelope containing two letters: one is about why we should help one another, and the other is about how we can help the refugees. You can read them at home. Here, I'll just mention a few things briefly. We think there are three ways to help the refugees. Number one, if the host countries, such as Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Malaysia choose not to send the refugees back to die, they can open some factories in the camp, or next to the camp, or anywhere designated by the government, which will provide job opportunities. They can train these refugees to work so that they can become self-reliant and also contribute to the host countries, as well as to the world. This way, they won't become a burden to the government. We can continue helping them until they are willing to return to Âu Lạc (Vietnam).
Number two, if the host countries, do not accept our first proposal - meaning they are determined to send the refugees back and they don't allow them to stay - then we can talk to the United Nations. There are 74 countries who want to send away the refugees. These 74 countries can lease us a piece of land, or sell it to us, so that we can move the refugees to the land and give them a place to live. We can also provide them with vocational training assistance, opening some small or big factories so that they can work. These countries can grant them citizenship, or not; it depends on their generosity. But no matter what, we are willing to help these refugees by providing economic assistance and manpower.
Regarding these matters, we also want to remind the United Nations, by the way, of their own covenant. On December 16, 1966, the United Nations adopted the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in which there are three articles, article numbers 9, 10 and 12, among others, regarding human rights and world refugees. I will just cite these three articles for your reference. Article 9 says, “Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detainment.
No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.” Refugees are not criminals. They go to other countries because they suffer from political repression in their own country. Article 10 states, “All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.”
Article 12: “Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own.” You see, the United Nations wrote down these articles, so they should keep their word. We should not beg them. All these are included in the Covenant. If you want to read it, you can ask the United Nations for a copy. It contains many things that they can't do. Number three, in the case that the Aulacese (Vietnamese) refugees are willing to go back, we hope that the Aulacese (Vietnamese) government will let us send some lawyers through the United Nations, at our expense, to Âu Lạc (Vietnam) to check whether or not they are being deprived of human rights.
These proposals are supported by the Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association, our dignitaries and good friends here, esteemed government officials in Formosa and prominent religious and charitable organizations. Thank you very much!
*If you approve the proposals presented by Supreme Master Ching Hai, please give a warm round of applause.
*Thank you for your warm support. If all of you approve the proposals, you can also sign the petition and give it back to us. We will present the petition signed by the representatives from over 30 countries to President Clinton of the United States and the United Nations through proper channels. Finally, we have an important Human Rights Declaration; you all have a copy of it. Please read it carefully. If you support this Declaration, please sign the name of your group, your country, and your own name and give it back to us.
We will present this Declaration together with the signed proposal letter to President Clinton of the United States and ask him to push the countries hosting the refugees to consider these proposals. We thank all the honored guests and representatives of all countries today. Our International Human Rights Conference concludes here. We hope we will soon be able to share better news with you. When you return to your country, please share with the world the ideas and proposals presented by Supreme Master Ching Hai.
Thank you, representatives from all over the world. We thank the Iowa Secretary of State from the United States, Mrs. Barbara Finch, and her husband, and Chen Hung-Kwang, the General-Secretary of World Cultural Communication Association. We especially thank Supreme Master Ching Hai. We thank them all. We also thank the many elected representatives of Formosa (Taiwan), the Legislators and National Assembly Members, as well as the media and dignitaries from different countries. Thank you, everyone. Let's give a warm applause to thank them.
It's getting late and I appreciate your sincerity to stay so long.
It's so late, but you still stay. We admire you very much. I didn't know that I'd be put here as the key person. I thought that we'd just sit together, have some tea and chat, but they are so used to putting me on the stage.
You see, I think whatever you wanted to know, it was already made clear to you that we have to help our world, we have to preserve the loving and holy atmosphere for ourselves, as well as for our next generations to come.
The Aulacese (Vietnamese) refugees are just one of the symbols of the degrading state of our Earth planet, so we just have to fix it; and the cost is not much. The cost to uphold freedom, to uphold righteousness, to uphold human rights, and humanitarian spirit is not much. So if anything that wasn't clear during the conference before, you could please ask me. If I can, I will answer you; otherwise you can ask Barbara. Yes. I thought this was for Barbara and Mr. Chen, and then when I come here, they tell me I have to sit here. It's a surprise. Yes, please.
*The Australian government has been keeping Cambodian refugees detained in camps ( Right.) in Australia ( That I know.) since 1989. ( I do know, I know.) There are now 40 left who have refused to be repatriated back to Cambodia, because they fear what might happen to them back then, ( Right.) and they now face forced repatriation. What would you recommend the Australian government be made to do with these 40 people to… What would be the most humanitarian thing the Australian government could do?
Only 40 people? ( *Yes.) Well, why don't you just take them somewhere, give them a house or a job? It's easier than to argue back and forth and to use a lot of time and energy just, you know, make noise. I guess the Cambodian situation now is more stable; it's pretty stable. But sometimes I read the newspapers, and things could be frightening at times.
Or perhaps they prefer the more sun-shining and free Australia. I don't blame them. When I went to your country, I also liked to settle there - big land, fresh air, green, and friendly people. Who doesn't want to stay there? So, if there are only 40 people, just keep them. It's a “rare species” in Australia - 40 Cambodians. Yes. Make your country a father of many nations. Okay?
Remember, Australians were also once refugees - they came there as refugees - so why not treat them as people of the same boat. Very simple. Forty persons - if you don't want them, give them to me. Give them to me. If you allow me take care of them, I'll do it right away. Tell your government. No problem. Okay? By the way, thank you for coming so far. Until now, do you have any procedures for the Aulacese (Vietnamese) people in Hong Kong to come to Formosa (Taiwan)? The Formosan (Taiwanese) government has any difficulties?
We have written to your government, to the President, several times, but we did not have an answer.
*Only write letters?
Yes. What else can I do? Shall I come into the President's palace and say I want to see him?
I have no connection. I am a private citizen. I am just a citizen. I don't have power, relations, or lobbyists. I have no connection with many governments, because I'm only a spiritual practitioner, and only recently, because of the Aulacese (Vietnamese) refugees that I run from one country to another to knock at the door of the compassionate governments. And Formosa (Taiwan), I hope they will open.
*I think maybe next week, maybe we can arrange it, our legislators in our congress, and make a public hearing for the government to settle this.
Thank you so much. We'll be very grateful to you. May God bless you. God bless you. Yes. Because, you see, many countries are afraid. I understand. I understand their fear. But why don't they ask themselves, if they do something right, why should they fear? And if they do something wrong, doesn't matter how much they fear, it is still wrong. You know what I mean? We have to do something right even if we have to go against the whole world.
That's why we are doing this for the refugees, even though we're against the whole world, 74 countries at least. We do not fear because we know it is the right thing to do. Understand? Because if we do the right thing, we should not fear anyone, even the whole universe. If we do a wrong thing, even we look at the children, we should be ashamed. Yes. That's what I think.
*May I ask one question? ( Please.) Suppose like this problem of the refugees, people in Hong Kong already has a good result, how do you think about another camp's refugees in Malaysia, in Thailand and in Singapore or in Indonesia? What are their reactions about… There are many refugees camps over there. How do you resolve the next step? Thank you.
I am already doing it. It just doesn't appear to you because many things I do are not open to the public, except, like today, we cannot do it underground because we have to present it to the government of Formosa (Taiwan). And we have support from different legislators as well as the congress people, and also many governmental personnel. Therefore, we have to do it openly. Yes? Normally when I do things for the refugees, not many people know. Even my own so-called disciples do not know until there is some kind of, you know, adequate result, or something that forces me to open it.
Because anything that has not come into a little success, I would not like to announce it, and if I succeed, then everyone else will know; I don't have to announce it then. At the moment, I am still doing for the refugees, from the Philippines to Thailand, to Malaysia, but there is not a concrete result, therefore, I could not report to you. But I hope in the future, anything that's so-called success, you will be informed. Is that all right? Yes, I cannot tell things when it's not yet clear, all right? ( *Thank you.) I'm doing it. All right? ( *Yes, thank you.)
*I think there is a right way if the United Nation, under the regulations of human rights, ( Right.) they are in the position to settle this problem. ( Right.) Not only in Hong Kong, some other places as well. ( Right.) Because, every nation, they are the membership of the United Nations; they have to accept any decision by the United Nations. And the United Nations, they are in the position to settle this problem. ( Right.)
We just have to carry out some way ( Yes.) to apply or to negotiate with the United Nations, ( Right.) with the right people. Because of we have to remind them, “That's your responsibility.”
It's their duty. And we have also written to the United Nation since several years. The whole world is infested by negative tendencies. That's why we have war, that's why we have refugees, that's why we have brothers killing each other, that's why we have governments suppressing their own citizens by all kinds of violence, you see? Because the world is infected with many devil forces. People who are supposed to be the protectors of mankind turn against us, so we have to do something.
We have to take the initiative. We have to also be active in our duty. When such a body of so-called justice failed in their mission, we also have to help them to stand up, and if they cannot do it, then we do it ourselves, because, after all, to rely on ourselves is the safest way, the best and the quickest. That's why we have to undertake this project even though we are very busy, or else I'm busy enough - taking refugees' problem into our hands, makes me a lot of extra work, and a lot of sleepless nights.
*Madam Ching Hai, you must be aware that this problem in the Philippines has been going on for quite a time, and I'm also involved in this, because we went together to the different refugee camps in the Philippines, like Palawan and Bataan, but considering that the handling or administration of the refugees lies in the hands of the United Nations personnel. And the Philippines only plays a minor role, which is the host country. Now I feel that, as we have been discussing this last night with a good friend from France, I was telling him that whatever problems that may arise in the camp - or let's say rejection or denial, repatriation - all this belongs to the United Nations.
Sometimes the Philippine government has nothing to do or no hand at all. So, as a private citizen like me, if I intend to offer land for the refugees, how do we go about it, since there was a total rejection on the government level of… Because the government would not like to be involved, especially when it comes to government to government's talk. So, as a gesture of humanitarian concern for the refugees, can you suggest to us how we can go about it, find a way how we can circumvent the policy of the United Nations? Assuming that let's say I have the land, which I intend to. The best option that you have presented is to, at least, rent or lease land or provide land for the refugees. (Right.)
*Considering that I have acceded to that request, is it possible for me to develop that land and offer that to the refugees? And who will take care of that? Because, for me, I'm not in a position unless Congress or the President of the Philippines would approve it. Now, the second option is granting of citizenship, which is I think very hard also; it has to pass through Congress. But my main concern, like you also, we can provide the land that you would like to give, for these displaced people, but the only problem, the only setback is, will the government or would the United Nations allow their stay, ( Yes, that's right.) prolonged stay?
That's right. You know the problem very well; you know the answer. Three years ago, we worked together. I wanted to rent your land, now you ask me, and we have signed contract and everything, and your land has been rented to me, ready for the refugees to move in, but the government does not want it to happen. Suppose I and you now do it underground, and we build everything for the refugees. We build manufactories - we build everything - and then the government comes and says, "Look, they are not citizens of the Philippines.
Time to go home.” And they throw them all out, confiscate all the manufactories, saying that we are the illegal investors in your country. Then I'll be in more trouble. The problem, we had been working together three years ago. Remember, I rented your land, a piece of land. Well, I cannot ask you for a favor, so I have to say I'll buy it so that you don't burden your country. I want to help the refugees by my own money, and just help me to do it. But, you know, three years pass, nothing from your government.
I have written two more letters to Congress, to a senator and another to a chairman the advisor of President, reminding them, “Please, answer me.” Nothing so far. Do you think I can go there and just make a factory for the Aulacese (Vietnamese) without your government's blessing?
*How about we do it in a business way, like a corporation? We put up the corporation, then run it like a business ( Fine. It's good.) under the name, also Filipino, because ( It's good.) in the Philippines for that, we get our own land.
Yes, but the Aulacese (Vietnamese) have no Philippine residential permit and now they are locked inside the camp. They're not even allowed to go out like before anymore. I wasn't allowed to come in to see them. I was allowed next to the gate - about that much. Five minutes only. Now you think what I can do in your land?
*I think the problem is not in the Philippine government side, but it's more of the policy of the United Nations. It's a pressure or a policy forced on the Philippine government.
Well, you know. You know very well. The world is infested. The world is not right. Everything you say, it seems like a joke to me, but nevertheless, because of the suffering of my people, I have to go on. I have to talk with people. I have to do the impossible thing. I have to do until the end, until nothing else I can do. I try hard. I try my best until my last breath in this planet, to help make people understand that to save others is to save ourselves. To help the Aulacese (Vietnamese) refugees is to uphold freedom. Understand?
I don't know what kind of policy most of the countries run. They run counter to their own ideology. They run counter to their own vows of liberty at the expense of the Aulacese (Vietnamese) lives and spirits, and on the expense of freedom and dignity of the whole world.
Any more questions? Sometimes I feel it's hopeless, but still I have to go on.
*Yes. they have the responsibility to do this thing. ( Yes.) Of course, privately we can arrange with some other people, by person to person. But the right way is United Nations; they have the right and in the position to settle this problem. ( Of course. Of course. You're right.)
* (That's very important.)
You're right, you're right.