A benign-faced Roam Catholic priest, Father Tran Huu Thanh, has emerged from relative obscurity to lead South Vietnam's anti-corruption campaign against President Thieu which has been sweeping the country over the past ten weeks.
GV & KV Ky Dong Church (2 shots)
GV Father Thanh walking PAN To Ky Dong Church
SV Father Thanh at Mass
MV Thanh at Mass
CU picture Virgin Mary tilt down to Father Thanh at desk
SV Father Thanh reading (2 shots)
GV Thanh up from desk
GV Tan Chi Linh Church (2 shots)
SV Father Thanh to pull back to GV of meeting
MV man speaking
MV Father Thanh listening
GV crowd cheering Father Thanh (2 shots)
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Background: A benign-faced Roam Catholic priest, Father Tran Huu Thanh, has emerged from relative obscurity to lead South Vietnam's anti-corruption campaign against President Thieu which has been sweeping the country over the past ten weeks.
Father Thanh, a mild-mannered 59-year-old, has devoted more than half his life to the Church. He comes from a poor family in Quang Tri Province. But for several years he has been conducting Mass at Ky Dong Church in central Saigon.
Father Thanh - ironically a right-winger - has been increasingly involved with a Catholic reformist opposition group calling itself the People's Anti-Corruption Movement (PACM). It demands that President Thieu should clean up his administration...or quit.
The PACM accuses the President of profiting from land deals, of being involved in South Vietnam's lucrative drugs trade and of allowing members of his family to enrich themselves through the artificial manipulation of rice and fertiliser prices.
Significantly, the Catholic hierarchy has not disassociated itself from the campaign, although it had unfailingly identified itself with the Thieu regime in the past.
Father Thanh holds weekly meetings at the PACM's headquarters at Tan Chi Linh Church on the outskirts of Saigon where he has classes too teach new recruits, which he calls "cadres".
Father Thanh has himself taught anti-Communist propaganda at the Government's school for psychological warfare in Dalat. It is progaly for this reason that the Government has not yet denounced him as a Communist sympathiser.
He was recently intensified his demands and now cells for a complete change in Government policy and the resignation of President Thieu. He says he will not stop his activities until Thieu has resigned.
SYNOPSIS: For several years an elderly Roman Catholic priest has been celebrating Mass at this small church in central Saigon. He's called Father Tran Huu Thanh, he's nearly sixty and has devoted more than half his life to the Church.
There's little to suggest that this mild mannered man heads a loose coalition of militant political activists campaigning against Government corruption and calling for the resignation of President Thieu. It's called the People's Anti-Corruption Movement and has recently swept the country.
The movement accuses the President of profiteering from land deals, of being involved in South Vietnam's lucrative drugs trade and of allowing members of his family to make fortunes buy manipulating commodity prices.
Tan Chi Linh church, like Father Thanh, has been closely identified with the growing anti-Government campaign.
Weekly meetings are held by the movement, whose membership is growing daily. Significantly, the Catholic hierarchy in the country has not disassociated itself from the movement, although it had consistently identified itself with President Thieu in the past.
From a general movement campaigning in a small way against corruption, Father Thanh has created a power-bloc of growing force which could well be instrumental in bringing down President Thieu before very long.