- 東南アジア研究 (ISSN:05638682)
- vol.50, no.2, pp.273-302, 2013-01-31
This paper aims at assessing the relationship between religion and politics in contemporary Vietnam, with a focus on Caodaism reorganization. After the Vietnam War, the socialist government regarded religion as a nuisance and carried out a retaliatory re-education program—to no effect. In the process of clamping down on anti-government movements by devotees, the Communist Party conducted in-depth analysis on Caodaism and decided to remove the religious dignitaries, in line with their policy of suppressing religious authorities. In 1979, with the cooperation of some dignitaries, the government promulgated the Caodai Decree 01, aimed at the dissolution all Caodaism organizations. The Caodai Holy See was placed under the control of the state and changes were imposed; however, many branch temples subsequently reverted to selfmanagement. There are three possible reasons for this: first, the Holy See had lost all authority and influence over the branch temples; second, branch temples ignored the modified Holy See as the latter had obeyed the socialist government and betrayed Caodaism Law; third, there was no consistent policy in each province. These phenomena rattled the Communist Party, which feared its own collapse, in an echo of events in the Soviet Union. It thus embarked on a plan in 1992 to reorganize Caodaism, with the aim of occupying and controlling branch temples through "educated" dignitaries. While it is certain that Caodaism was officially recognized in 1997, this did not signal the beginning of religious freedom. On the contrary, it only reflected the Communist Party's policy to control religious opponents by authorizing religions.