On 8 February, 2007, approximately two hundred Khmer‐Krom Buddhist monks in Khleang (renamed Soc Trang) province marched for religious freedom in response to an increased state of security measures against Khmer spiritual figures. The response of the government was public defrocking in the streets, intimidating monk’s families as well as the spiritual leaders, and imprisoning five Buddhist monks without legal representation or a fair trial. As of today, the Khmer-Krom people still practice their Theravada Buddhism in FEAR. The Vietnamese government controls all the Buddhist monks leaders and has forced the Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks to join the Patriotic United Buddhist Association (Hội Đoàn Kết Sư Sải Yêu Nước) under the umbrella of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS – Giáo Hội Phật Giáo Việt Nam). The VBS is under the control of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee (FFCC – Mặt Trận Tổ Quốc Việt Nam) which is a committee of the Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP).
There are more than five hundred Khmer-Krom Buddhist temples and more than ten thousand Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks in Kampuchea-Krom. The Khmer-Krom people do not have an Independent Khmer-Krom Theravada Buddhist Association that is free from interference from the Vietnamese government. When the Khmer-Krom Buddhist monks peacefully stand up for their rights, they are accused of “Disturbing the Vietnamese Society” under Article 87 or “Involving with Anti-Vietnamese Government Activities” under Article 88 of Vietnam’s Penal Code. Below is the KKF letter to remind the Khmer-Krom around the world to commemorate this important day because it has set a stepping stone for the Khmer-Krom to stand up for their religious rights.