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Condom video stirs Buddhist resentment

Student-produced animation parodies famous pilgrimage of Chinese monk

  • ucanews.com reporter, Ho Chi Minh City
  • Vietnam
  • March 22, 2012
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A national Buddhist organization has urged the government to ban a short animated video clip airing on local media stations that aims to promote the use of condoms to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually related illnesses.

The head of the government-sanctioned Buddhist Sangha of Vietnam said the video clip – a parody of a well-known story of the pilgrimage of Xuanzang, a seventh-century Chinese Buddhist monk, to India with three of his students and titled “Tang Sanzang journey to the West for … condoms” – was disrespectful.

“The clip hurts religious belief and shows a lack of respect for Xuanzang and Buddha, historical figures admired by the world,” said the Sangha’s secretary general, Venerable Thich Thien Nhon, in a petition to officials at the Ministry of Information and Communication.

Instead of looking for scriptures, the pilgrims in the video clip seek condoms from the Buddha to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The clip was produced by a group of students from the Hanoi-based Institute of Press and Propaganda and won the “Friendly Condom” award from the Youth’s House of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union last month.

Venerable Thich Thien Nhon has called on the government to “remove the clip and its photos from [the institute’s] websites” and asked for an apology from the student group who made it.

The government has yet to make an official response to the petition, filed on March 17, and the clip remains available on local websites.
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