Monthly Archives: February 2013

Journalist Nguyen Dac Kien Fired For Questioning Party Secretary

During a nationally televised program shown on February 25, 2013, Vietnamese Communist Party’s general secretary, Nguyen Phu Trong, stated that those who want to abolish article 4 of the constitution, which guarantees the political dominance of the party, are portraying a “political, ideological and ethical deterioration” and need to be stopped.  Nguyen Dac Kien, a journalist from The Family and Society newspaper, immediately took to his blog and wrote: “you are the general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam. If you want to use the word deterioration, you can only use it in relation to Communist Party members. You can’t say that about Vietnamese people.”  He also mentioned that having a multi-party system is good for the country and that embezzlement and corruption by government officials is the more serious issue.  His post went viral quickly and attracted much attention from the online community.  Unfortunately, the attention eventually caused him to be fired from his job at the newspaper.  In an explanation for his termination, the newspaper stated that it Kien was fired for “violating the operating rules of the newspaper and his labor contract,” and that he is solely “accountable before the law for his behavior.”

In a phone interview, Kien said “I knew that there would be consequences.  I have always expected bad things to happen to me. The struggle for freedom and democracy is very long and I want to go to the end of that road, and I hope I can.”  He also posted on his facebook that “whatever happens, I just want you to understand that I don’t want to be a hero, I don’t want to be an idol. I just think that once our country has freedom and democracy, you will find out that my articles are very normal, really normal, and nothing big.”

Source: http://dackien.wordpress.com/

A Most Unwelcome Birthday

Tran Quoc Viet (danlambao) This year marks the eighty second anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of Vietnam. We might not know the date of birth of our parents, but it is impossible to forget the birth of the Party when every year the occasion is highlighted by constant media broadcasting of the endless celebrations, including the display of banners hung across the street in the country.

So unless you have been deaf or blind since birth, or have barely started learning to walk, you are sure to know of this birthday.

This is first misfortune of people living in a communist society: at least one part of your memory must belong to the Party.

The Party never “dies” once it is born.  On October 1, 1949, half a million people gathered in Tiananmen Square and chanted loudly: “Long live Chairman Mao!” On September 2, 1945, a sea of Vietnamese also chanted “Long live President Ho Chi Minh!” If the founder lives forever, then so must the Party.

This is the second misfortune of people living in a communist society: after those chants were echoed, the history of the country and its people became merely the extension of the history of the Party.

Thus began the domino effect of social regression. We gradually lost language, morals, culture, and traditional identity. We are constantly under the shadow of the Party from the time of our birth to the time of our death. Our lives are shrouded in pretense, fake reality, education, literature, history, religion, military, journalists, writers, poets, authors, historians, intellects and even fake nature, with the slogan, “Celebrate the Party, celebrate Spring.”

This is the third misfortune of people living in a communist society: our lives are blanketed in falsehood.

Poet Boris Pasternak wrote:  “I was the only one; while all around me are immersed in a lie:
Life is not a walk across a field. ”

Under communist rule, the green field has been paved over with cement and thus, grass, plants, and any signs of life have been destroyed.  In turn, we use the concrete as stage where we act under the guidance of the Party, and like it or not, we relinquish our individualism and ethics. We are both victims and perpetrators of this great tragedy that is taking place on that cement floor.

This is the fourth misfortune of people living in a communist society: we cannot be ourselves. In the name of a utopian paradise, the Party encourages animal instincts while ignoring human civility.

Today we are finally seeing some cracks in the concrete ground, and through these cracks the sun is shining through and giving life to the seeds of the human spirit that is desperately trying to rise once again.

Let us hope for and act towards the ultimate goal: power in the hands of the people.

But the Party will live on if we stand on the sidelines waiting to history to happen. Let us proceed on down the road and build churches and temples to nurture our spirituality and faith.  Let us mend the broken pieces of our culture, of civil society. If we can do these things, we will be able to minimize the influence and control of the Party, and more importantly, we will once again find the meaning of life; the first step on the difficult road to regain our character.

Russian protesters have chanted, “We exist!” in the bitter cold of winter. Tunisian voters joyfully shouted, “We vote, we exist!” while standing in line for hours to vote freely for the first time.

Someday we will loudly chant as they have: “We exist!” We are not invisible, faint shadows of the Party. Our most effective weapon is hope and courage.

When that day comes, when control of the government returns to the hands of the people, we, with our wounded bodies, will help each other build a future together.

It has been eighty-two years since the birth of the Communist Party of Vietnam.  The Party is like a dinosaur on its last breath but still clinging onto life by sucking on the blood of the country of Vietnam.  Its long tail is that of “socialist orientation”, its giant belly is filled with greed, and its little brain lies in its small head in comparison to its giant body.  That little gray matter does not have the ability to see a future beyond the next year.  How can we trust our fate and the fate of our country to this gray matter?

If we do not do anything, our children will continue to count the Party’s birthdays, and the body of the dinosaur will continue to damage generations to come.

Source: http://danlambaovn.blogspot.com/2012/02/ngay-sinh-cua-gia-doi.html#more

Interview With Father of Tran Huynh Duy Thuc

[Editor’s Note: Tran Huynh Duy Thuc is a businessman and a political dissident in Vietnam.  In 2008, he started an online blog titled “Change We Need” where he and his friends published articles regarding Vietnam’s hostile political environment.  He was officially arrested on May 24, 2009 and was found guilty of subversion of the state and is currently serving a 16-year sentence.  Below is an interview with Thuc’s father conducted by people at Danlambao, the most notable Vietnamese blog site.]

Danlambao: First of all, we’d like to ask about your health.

Tran Van Huynh: Thank you, DanLamBao.  My health is good.  Everyday, I walk several kilometers everyday and I also swim.  I need to stay healthy to carry on the struggle for the freedom of my son and other human rights prisoners.

DanlambaoYes, this is a blessing for more than just your family.  According to your interview with Dan Luan after visiting Thuc during the New Year, he is still healthy and is being held in solitary confinement along with composer Viet Khang, Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung, Phan Ngoc Tuan and Cuong.  Did he mention the health status of these men?

Tran Van Huynh: Thuc said the guys are still healthy and are mentally relaxed. Their families were allowed to visit before the New Year so there is no shortage of food. Moreover, more food was passed out during this New Year holiday season but books and magazines were limited. There are also television, but only programs certified by prison officials are allowed to be shown.

Danlambao: Also according to your interview with Dan Luan, the police interrogated him on the current effort to amend the Constitution. Did he reveal any details regarding this event?

Tran Van Huynh: No, Thuc did not say much.  When he talked about it, he just smiled and mockingly wondered out loud why it needs to be written into the constitution that military forces must swear their absolute loyalty to the Communist Party of Vietnam.  He then said that the “freezing point” is near, within this year.

Danlambao: How does Thuc explain this “freezing point?”

Tran Van Huynh:  Thuc likes to compare Vietnam’s situation to that of water.  Up to a certain point, water will remain liquid but once it reaches 0 ° C, it will freeze and become solid.  Vietnam is experiencing the same transformation.  It is slowly approaching that “freezing point” and when it gets to that stage, people will revolt.

Danlambao:  How will the situation progress after the “freezing point” according to Thuc?

Doctor Tran Van Huynh:  From what I’ve read and what Le Thang Long [another dissident] has discussed with Thuc while they were in jail, different scenarios can happen depending on various social movements. It could be the collapse of the ruling party led by elite intellectuals in Eastern Europe, or a surge as the Soviet Union.  It’s also possible that the masses will start a revolution as is the case with the Arab Spring.  Or it could be like the Burmese where change happens when those in power recognize the right path for their country.  It really boils down to a situation in which the Vietnamese Communist Party itself is not capable of solving national problems including the economic crisis and national sovereignty threatened by the Chinese. Not to mention the problems happening within the Party’s top officials.  The power struggles not only deplete the trust of the people, but also seriously eroded the confidence of party members in the party. Thuc and his friends want the country to avoid this toxic future and instead head towards one with democracy and prosperity. The country needs people that truly believes in building a democratic society for all people on the basis of respect for and protection of all human rights, not discrimination and prejudices against one another.  For such purposes, Thuc and his friends are willing to sacrifice themselves, become subject to imprisonment in order to sow the seeds of hope for a better Vietnam.

Danlambao: How much hope do you have in this vision?

Tran Van Huynh: I believe that is the best way for the country and it will prevail.  During the New Years, I met up with a lot of friends that are Party members and not only do they share this hope, they are actively promoting change. They admit that the Communist Party is becoming helpless in many problem, internally and externally.  Without change, the Party will find it hard to continue to exist.

Danlambao: We hope so too. Late last year, the movement called “Con Duong Vietnam” [Road of Vietnam] said it would publish a book about Thuc, do you know when this will be published and available?

Tran Van Huynh: This book has been completed, named “Tran Huynh Duy Thuc And The Road To Viet Nam.”  No later than the end of this month or early next month, it will launch in conjunction with our effort to fight for the freedom of Thuc and all the human rights prisoners.

Danlambao: We hope and wish for this movement’s success so that Thuc can return home this year.  Thank you for your participation in this interview and we wish you good health so that you can accomplish your goals.

Tran Van Huynh: Thank you, Danlambao, for this valuable interview.  I’d like to wish Danlambao and all your readers a new year with many achievements and all our wishes for our country will be fulfilled.

Source: danlambao.blogspot.com

Cu Huy Ha Vu, Ai Weiwei, and Alexis de Tocqueville

QuảnTrị21 (Danlambao) – Cu Huy Ha Vu and Ai Weiwei share many similarities. They were both born in 1957 into socialist societies. Their parents have connections with the most senior leaders of the Communist Party. Cu Huy Ha Vu’s father was poet Cu Huy Can, the Minister of Agriculture in the interim coalition government of Vietnam Democratic Republic of the Government headed by Ho Chi Minh.  Ai Weiwei’s father was Ai Qing, a famous poet in the 1930s.  Ai Qing was also the Dean of the Chinese department at the University of Yucai, YongQing.  Ai’s parents were friends with President Xi Jinping’s parents.

Both Vu and Wei have studied abroad.  Vu studied in France and loves art.  Ai studied in the U.S. and loves sculpture. They have criticized the Communist Party as a dictatorship and have called for democracy and freedom. They have challenged their respective regimes and advocated for the commoners who are being persecuted by the government.

Vu has voiced his opposition: ‘Through embezzlement of national assets, irresponsible overspending, stealing people’s land, strangling the fundamental rights of citizens that are supposed to be protected by the Constitution such as freedom of the press, freedom of expression, right to information, right to protest, the right to strike, the right to maintain places of worship of religious beliefs, Communist Party of Viet Nam is clearly going against the interests of the nation and all the people of Vietnam. ‘

Similarly in China, Ai exposed corruption, cover-up efforts, and embezzlement of the Communist Party funds allocated to build schools in Sichuan. As a result of this, the earthquake in 2008 caused 7,000 classrooms to collapse, leading to the deaths of nearly 5,000 students, and more than 15,000 students were injured.

Vu and Ai were both arrested. Vu was charged with attempts to overthrow the government.  Ai was charged with tax evasion.

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805 – 1859)

Recently, many scholars and the Communist Party leadership have been reading “The Old Regime and the Revolution” by the French historian Alexis de Tocqueville. Many of them believe that the Communist Party is collapsing, or will collapse very soon.

Why?

As de Tocqueville revealed, democracy expands individual freedom, socialism restricts it. Democracy brings value to each person; socialism treats each person as a tool, a number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common except for one characteristic: equality. However while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restriction and subjection.

De Tocqueville believed that the relationship between social classes will become more bitter and harsh, mainly due to the ruling group holding on to all the power. According to his book, throughout history, a revolution occurs when the gap between the social classes, the rich and the poor, becomes too great. The French revolution was drawn as an example.  Understandably, those that are impoverished and desperate will turn their anger to actions, such as Doan Van Vuon’s family and the people of Duong Noi. Some scholars and senior Communist Party leaders recognize that the situation before the French revolution is very similar to the plight of the Vietnamese Communist Party and China now.

Cu Huy Ha Vu and Ai Weiwei both hope that the “Jasmine” wind will soon sweep over their homeland. They are willing to accept imprisonment, and even death in exchange for any chance that a revolution will happen to their country.  History will repeat and will be on the side of the weak and unfortunate, as suggested by de Tocqueville.

Source: http://danlambaovn.blogspot.com

Humanitarian Workers Report Police Assault

[Editor’s Note: The Lunar New Year (Tet) is a holiday celebrated by Vietnamese.  It is a time for sharing and wishing each other good luck throughout the year.  In the spirit of this significant holiday, a group of humanitarian youths decided to pass out gifts to citizens that are protesting against the government in a land dispute.  The following is the story of their struggle.]

CTV Danlambao – On February 5th, 2013, two young humanitarian volunteers Trinh Anh Tuan and Dao Trang Loan were beaten and arrested by Hanoi policemen after they delivered Tet presents to land petitioners that were gathered in front of a government building in Ha Dong.

A video clip posted on youtube by user ditimdongdoi showed the police force harassing a group of young humanitarian workers in Hanoi. The police force also blatantly robbed ramen noodles and other Tet gifts presented to the petitioners.

After all the gifts were handed out, at about 9:30 pm on February 5th, Trinh Anh Tuan (facebook Wind Lang Thang) and his girlfriend Dao Trang Loan (facebook nothingness) were arrested by five plainclothes policemen at the corner of Quang Trung, Ngo Thi Nham.

Throughout the ordeal, Tuan and Loan were violently assaulted, and then were driven away in a car to the police station in Quang Trung, Ha Dong district.

Prior to this illegal detention, Tuan and Loan were steadfast in their refusal to go to the police station headquarters. At the time of this article, information about the incident has already been spread widely on facebook and other social networks. Petitioners, friends and many other people in Ha Noi quickly gathered at the police headquarters to put pressure for their release.

At about 11:30 pm in the same night, the police reluctantly released Tuan and Loan after feeling strong pressure from all the protestors.

Due to the police brutality that she endured during the arrest, Loan developed a headache, felt nauseous, and was taken to a local hospital. Trinh Anh Tuan also had some bumps and bruises on his body.

This incident was recounted by Trinh Anh Tuan immediately after leaving the police headquarters and visiting his girlfriend at the hospital where she was being treated.

Source: danlambao.blogspot.com

Dieu Cay Transferred

[Editor’s Note: Dieu Cay (real name Nguyen Van Hai) is a blogger who founded Club for Free Journalists and is being persecuted by the Vietnamese government for “tax evasion” and “disseminating anti-state information and materials.  He is currently serving a 12-year prison term.]

VRNs (02/07/2013) – Pacific – Duong Thi Tan, Dieu Cay’s ex-wife, and their family were informed this morning by prison guard Nguyen Dang Khoa that his supervisor, Lieutenant Colonel Le Jiang Hung, declared that “there is no need to inform an inmate’s family when he/she is ordered to be transferred to another prison camp.”

Ms Duong Thi Tan told VRNs: “They had moved Mr. Nguyen Van Hai-Dieu Cay to prison camp Tan Lam, Xuyen Moc District, Ba Ria Vung Tau, on 02/01/2013, without notifying his family at all.”

When asked how she find out about his transfer, she said, “This morning we arrived for a visitation according to our appointment.  It was not until then that officials wrote on our paper stating that Mr. Nguyen Van Hai was transferred to another prison.”  According to Tan, the family questioned the responsible staff at this prison and was told that in Dieu Cay’s particular case, there was no requirement that his family be notified.  When Ms. Tan and family questioned the legality of the “no need to inform” rule, [the staff] were not able to provide any written documentation.  In the end, Khoa declared that “Colonel Le Giang Hung had directed such action.”

A Vietnamese court sentenced Blogger Nguyen Van Hai – Dieu Cay to 12 years in prison on charges of propaganda against the state under its “state subversion” law, although it was not able to provide any evidence of his so-called crimes.

Also put under trial alongside Mr. Nguyen Van Hai was Ms. Ta Phong Tan, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison.  She is currently being held at the prison in Dong Nai Z30.

Source: PV. VRNs http://www.chuacuuthe.com/?p=46602

Undeniable Crimes

Nhu Nguyen (Danlambao) – People often say that time is medicine that can miraculously heal all sorrows, and can also be an impartial judge to bring out the criminals.

The Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP) has committed numerous crimes against its own people, especially the citizens of Hue province during the 1968 Tet Offensive; a crime comparable in magnitude to the genocide in Cambodia under the Polpot regime.

Forty five years later, barely enough time for the pain to subside, the VCP has, in a gravely miscalculated move, ordered Ms. Phong Lan to direct a documentary movie about the Tet Offensive.  The distorted truths in this movie have ignited the dormant anger that the Hue people have suppressed for almost half a century.  The movie has also revealed the two-faced nature of the VCP: committing an act of crime on the one hand while crying foul as a victim on the other.

All dynasties throughout history have made mistakes.  What is important is for the successors to face the truth in order to select the right course of action.  If one refuses to acknowledge the misdeeds of one’s predecessors, then it is better not to bring them up in the first place.  The VCP believes that a thousand lies equate to veracity.  Not only is this method inapplicable in today’s world where communication is so transparent, but it may even backfire.

In 1972, the Viet Cong fired projectiles into an elementary school in Cai Lay, killing many young children.  They later printed in textbooks that this tragedy was caused by the US and South Vietnamese governments.  This may have misled people who live far in the mountains in the North, but it cannot fool the local people.

There seems to be a difference between writers before and after 1975.  While works from the former come from genuine emotions and actual facts, those from the latter tend to follow the propagandistic guidelines of the VCP.  Ms. Lan should read “Giai Khan So Cho Hue” to understand why Nha Ca cried when she recalled her feelings and why the VCP imprisoned her when they seized Sai Gon.

Natural laws will punish criminals.  Writers-for-hire who distort the truth will forever be condemned.  A criminal act, once committed, can never be denied.

Sài Gòn ngày 01-02-2013

Source: Như Nguyên
danlambaovn.blogspot.com

Latest News About Ta Phong Tan

[Editor’s Note: This is the latest news regarding the whereabouts of blogger Ta Phong Tan.  A former policewoman, Ta Phong Tan started a blog titled “Justice and Truth” where she reported on police abuses.  She was arrested in September 2011 and shortly thereafter, her mother Dang Thi Kim Lieng immolated herself in front of the government offices in Bac Lieu province to protest the charges against her daughter. Ta Phong Tan is currently serving a 10-year prison term.]

On the afternoon of 02/02/2013, news from a family members of political prisoners in Z30A prison camp Xuan Loc, sub camp of 05 Long Khanh, came that Ms. Ta Phong Tan was transferred two days ago from prison camp Bo La to prison camp Z30A camp in Long Khanh, Dong Nai province.

It is believed that Tan is being held in solitary confinement because many female prisoners heard Tan’s cries for help from upstairs and since there are no known prison cell on the upper level at camp Z30A, Tan must be confined in a special room.  In the last few days, news regarding Tan’s whereabouts have been drawn media interest on the internet so perhaps officials have taken this step to avoid publicity.

The same source of information also mentioned that camp Z30A in Long Khanh currently holds many female prisoners belonging to the Hoa Hao Buddhism organization as well as political activists including Duong Thi Tron, Pham Thi Phuong Mai Thi Dung, Tran Thi Thuy and now Ta Phong Tan and a few female political prisoners that were transferred from the Central Highlands in the province of Dac Nong.

Prisoners’ relatives revealed that within the past week many inmates had diarrhea caused by the consumption of dirty water pumped from ponds, and unfiltered wells.  Behind the four walls and barbed wires, the ailing inmates are hopelessly asking for help.

Source: Reporter Truong Minh Duc

http://danlambaovn.blogspot.com/2013/02/thong-tin-moi-nhat-ve-chi-ta-phong-tan.html#more

Human Rights Watch Assessment of Vietnam

According to the most recent annual report by the Human Rights Watch organization, the level of oppression in Vietnam has gotten worse in the last year, partly due to the rise in criticisms of the government.  It is estimated that “by the end of 2012, at least 40 activists were convicted and sentenced to many years in prison under articles 79 (subversion), 87 (undermining unity), 88 (propaganda against the state), 89 (disrupting security), and 258 (infringing state interests) of the penal code.”

The government also continued to clamp down on internet access to politically sensitive websites and online forums.  2012 saw a series of trials “that jailed people for exercise of their basic rights, as described in the Human Rights Watch World Report.”  Activists that were sent to prison include Catholic activists Vo Thi Thu Thuy, Nguyen Van Thanh, Dau Van Duong, Tran Huu Duc, and Chu Manh Son; dissident bloggers Nguyen Van Hai (known as Dieu Cay), Ta Phong Tan, and Phan Thanh Hai (known as Anhbasg); lawyer Le Quoc Quan; and even artists Tran Vu Anh Binh and Vo Minh Tri (known as Viet Khang).

It is noted that while neighboring country Myanmar is taking steps toward a more democratic society where basic rights are respected, Vietnam seems to be moving back with all its repressive actions.

Full Article: http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/02/01/vietnam-crackdown-critics-escalates