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Vietnam denies harassing monks

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HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — The Vietnamese government has denied charges that police harassed and intimidated monks into forgoing a meeting called by leaders of a banned Buddhist group.

A Paris-based Buddhist support organization said Vietnamese police summoned dozens of monks from various cities this month, threatening them with reprisals if they attended a meeting called last week by the head of the outlawed Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam.

The Foreign Ministry called the charges "fabricated information," and said "we resolutely reject it."

Vietnam outlawed the Unified Buddhist Church in 1981, when the communist government formed its own Buddhist organization. Authorities recognize only six religious groups and consider all others illegal.