The Corner

The one and only.

Vietnam’s Continued Oppression of Basic Rights and Freedoms


Richard Williamson, former U.S. Ambassador in the United Nations, has disturbing news about Vietnam.  Even now, during its supposed rehabilitation by the west, and in the wake of visits by President Bush, Vietnam continues to trample on basic human rights and freedoms.  Like Cuba, Vietnam demonstrates how easy it is for criminal regimes to be popular as long as they have a history of anti-Americanism.  Today’s travelling hipsters gush about the great food in Saigon, but consider this:

Just last August Truong Quoc Huy was arrested at an Internet café for listening to an on-line discussion of democracy.  Civil engineer Bach Nguc Duong was dismissed from his job after signing the Democracy Manifesto.  And Vu Hoang Hai was beaten during a police interrogation for supporting the Democracy Manifesto.  The list of victims of Vietnam’s political repression goes on and on.

In Vietnam, all religious groups are required to register with the government.  And Vietnam’s 2004 Ordinance on Beliefs and Religions bans any religious activities deemed to cause public disorder, harm national security, or “sow divisions.”  Buddhist monks from the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam are confined to their monasteries.  Reportedly “hundreds of Christian house church organizations that tried to register in 2006 were either rejected outright, ignored, or had their applications returned unopened.”  Last May, police raided a Mennonite church and defaced it.

Vietnamese workers are forbidden from organizing independent unions.  In Vietnam there is no right to assembly.  In 2005, Decree 34 was signed banning public gatherings in “front of places where government, Party, and international conferences are held.”  In 2006, before President Bush’s visit to Hanoi, reportedly police gathered street children and homeless people and sent them to “rehabilitation” centers where some were beaten.

The full article is an eye-opener.  Read it here


Sign up for free NRO e-mails today:

Subscribe to National Review