Some domestic elements and overseas reactionary organisations are acting against the Party, the State and the socialist regime in Vietnam under the label of “democracy” and “human rights”. This label is supported by some hostile overseas forces. It is necessary to unmask, criticise and fight against this wrong move in a timely fashion to make everyone see their true colours and evil nature.
Recently, some people have organised the so-called People’s Democratic Party, the Advancement Party, Bloc 8406, Claiming Innocence and Arms Linking Associations and so on and issued a so-called Declaration of Freedom and Democracy for Vietnam, etc.
Who are they? These people have had obvious, systematic and opportunist political views and nurtured a big political ambition. Some of them adopt the cloak of religion, some are political malcontents, dissatisfied and wavering, while some others have vague understanding, cannot distinguish between right and wrong, and are incited and misguided in the wrong way.
In general, their actions are aimed at denying Marxism-Leninism, Ho Chi Minh’s thoughts and attacking the Communist Party of Vietnam’s platform and guidelines of renewal in the building of socialism. They attempt to distort and slander the Vietnamese Party’s guidelines and the State’s policies and laws; smear our revolutionary past and distort history in order to sow internal division within the Party and split the Party from the State; isolate and “de-politicalise” the armed forces; incite some credulous intellectuals, writers, artists and students, and some dissatisfied people who had participated in the revolution; and sow division between religions, ethnic groups and people from the northern and southern parts of Vietnam in order to smash the great national unity.
Their final goal is to weaken the Communist Party of Vietnam toward the elimination of the Party leadership of the society, realising pluralism and the multiparty viewpoint and establishment of reactionary parties to lead the country on another route. To reach that goal, they have combined domestic and overseas forces, focusing on arousing the opposition from inside, toward building an opposition force within the country, to raise the standard of revolt, and wait for an opportunity to establish a reactionary organisation to openly confront the Communist Party. They intend to advance step by step: from starting from clandestine operations to open activities, and from illegal to semi-legal and then to legal operations. They have set up relations between domestic reactionary groups, and between these groups and reactionary organisations of some Vietnamese living in exile and hostile overseas forces to develop their forces, coordinate actions, to make a name for themselves, gain financial assistance and protect each other.
Recently, they have attempted to deny the major achievements won by the Vietnamese people over the last 20 years during national renovation; distort and besmear the social picture in order to puzzle the people and make them lose their confidence in the Party, the State and the regime. They put odd questions, such as, “When have the Vietnamese people ever lived in as much shame and pain as today?” or “When has the Vietnamese nation been divided, suspect and at feud after many years of the rule of the regime as now”? From then, they stated brazen distortions and slanders, “After more than half a century of imposing communism on our country, the Communist Party have realised their ruling policy with tricks and violence. The people are allowed only to hang their heads in fear, waste and desperation”. They talked nonsense that the nation’s sacred rights mentioned in the Declaration of Independence were all “grossly trampled on immediately after the communist authorities were set up!”
They have taken advantage of the rights to freedom and democracy to set up parties and draw up “statutes”, “declarations”, and “platforms” and work out forms and methods for their activities in order to damage the great national unity, abolish the leading role of the Communist party, undermine the State and the regime, and de-stabilise political security and social safety and order. This is the true face of the so-called “Organisations struggle for democracy and human rights in Vietnam” and their acts infringed the laws. Bringing law-breakers to court is a normal practise, which complies with Vietnamese and international laws.
Some hostile foreign forces have attempted to incite and lend a hand to these subversive elements against Vietnam’s revolution, the State and the socialist regime. When these elements were tried according to laws, they cried and screamed that the Vietnamese Government had violated democracy, human rights and religious freedom and repressed religions and those who had different political opinions. This gross distortion turned black into white in order to cover their dark plots.
The US State Department has issued the 2006 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. The reports mentioned human rights practices and limitations in 196 nations. Commenting on human rights practices in Vietnam in 2006, the report said vaguely, “The government’s human rights record remained unsatisfactory”, “individuals were arbitrarily detained for political activities”, and “in a few instances, police abused suspects during arrest, detention, and interrogation.”
A delegation of the US House of Representatives visited Vietnam on April 5, 2007. One of the members was Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez. Sanchez presented a play on human rights staged by a group of extremist Vietnamese living in exile in the so-called Viet Tan Party. Her words and deeds were aimed at inciting elements who were opposing the Vietnamese people. Ton Nu Thi Ninh, Vice Chairwoman of the National Assembly's Committee for External Relations, who was a member of the Vietnam’s National Assembly delegation working with the US House of Representatives’ delegation said Sanchez visited Vietnam not to learn about the facts and compare notes but to realise a private intervention program according to a plan carefully set up by a group of extremist voters in California who were sunk in memories of the past years. Sanchez has become a hostage of the conservative and unprogressive voters.
To lend a hand to this lack-of-goodwill action of Ms. Sanchez, in a recent statement on the floor of the House of Representatives, Congressman Frank Wolf questioned why the US ambassador in Ha Noi, Michael Marine, did not pay due attention to efforts to get Viet Nam to improve its human rights situation, especially following the arrest of Nguyen Van Ly.
Is it because of these pressures that Mr. Marine called on the Vietnamese Government to open up the single-party political regime and release people who have different political opinions, including the Catholic priest Nguyen Van Ly? He even adopted a patronizing attitude by saying that for Vietnam’s further international integration and development, the Vietnamese Government should release this person and other individuals immediately. In addition, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom proposed that US State Secretary, Condoleezza Rice re-include Vietnam in the list of countries of particular concern, CPC. These are indeed arrogant and groundless demands. Will the US Government sit with folded arms if someone organises opposition forces against “the US democracy”, causes socio-political instability in order to overthrow their current regime?
It is known that any democracy will stick to the State laws and rules. Any socio-political, economic and cultural activities of any citizen in a free and democratic society must not affect socio-political security and the rights to liberty and democracy of other citizens as well as the community. So, everyone must live and work according to the Constitution and laws, and any law-breaking action must be brought to court. Among the current detainees in Vietnam, some are monks, priests or religious dignitaries, some follow no religion, and some are even Party members and Government officials. However, all of them must be tried according to the law, simply because they are law-breakers.
In fact, the label of democracy, human rights and religion has been used by some political forces in the US for a long time. They often put the label of “violation of democracy, human rights and religious freedom” on any nation and country, which does not yield to their power to repress and cause problems for them.
It can be said that religion is a sensitive social phenomenon, which is deeply rooted in the ideological and sentimental life of many nations and generations. Religion relates to not only religious but also social affairs, and not only to the afterlife but also the current life. In the current historical condition, religions exist in society as an indispensable fact. Respecting religious faith is to respect human rights and the citizens’ right to be religious people. However, while respecting the right to religious freedom, we must fight against those who take advantage of that right to realise non-religious purposes. Respecting the right to religious freedom is to respect religious beliefs, worshipping rites and religious activities which conform with the teaching in prayer-books and the national culture to contribute to improving people’s ethics and personalities. It is impossible to accept those who take advantage and adopt the cloak of religion to carry out illegal, anti-cultural and non-human actions, running counter to God’s teachings and the legitimate demands of religious people such as Father Nguyen Van Ly.
Religious followers are community members and citizens. They have the right to the freedom of belief and religion, while having the obligation to observe the laws and fulfil their citizens’ obligations, “living according to the Gospel, serving God, the Motherland, and the Nation”. This has been known to every Vietnamese citizen and religious follower, who have realised it in the revolutionary struggle and national renewal process.
Vietnam’s Party, State and people understand that they must make further efforts to improve their people’s material and spiritual lives, to enable them to promote their right to democracy in all social spheres. However, in essence, Vietnam has realised and protected democracy and human rights much better than some countries, which have been preaching about democracy and human rights.
From people of a colonial and slave country, the Vietnamese people have wrested back the greatest human right, namely the right to decide their own destiny. Form a poor and backward country, Vietnam has strived to reduce poverty and accelerate economic development. From a country with a low level of general education, Vietnam has obtained a general education level higher than the world average and a human development index, HDI higher than many other countries. In addition to this, the people’s lives have been obviously improved, the political system and the great national unity block has been consolidated and strengthened, the socio-political situation has been stabilised and national defence and security has been maintained. Vietnam’s position in the world is constantly being improved. Obviously, our country’s combined resources have been strengthened, creating a new position and power to further advance.
Foreign newspapers have carried many comments from tourists who have seen with their own eyes the changes that have taken place in Vietnam in recent times. They said Vietnam had overcome the aftermath of war and created a Shangri-la for world tourists. It would be wrong to stick to Vietnam’s image of war, poverty and as a country without freedom and democracy. Only those who come to Vietnam can see its beauty and prosperity. Tourism serves as a bridge linking knowledge for those who wrongly understand Vietnam. AON, AON, the world leader in the insurance industry, has included Vietnam in the list of countries having the safest tourist spots in the world. That is why the number of overseas Vietnamese annually visiting Vietnam has been on the rise. The number of foreigners coming to Vietnam for tours and to sign business contracts has also increased. Some of them even come to live and work in Vietnam. This shows that democracy, human rights, religions and beliefs in Vietnam have always been respected. Everybody has the full right to freedom and democracy and feel comfortable to live in this country.
So, human rights are not an abstract concept and a stereotype imposed by some body. The Vietnamese people do not follow absolutism to access what they have obtained, but they have the right to be proud of their country’s basic and major development in the development process. This has been acknowledged by many Americans, including ordinary people, scholars and politicians. So, the incorrect comments on democracy and human rights in Vietnam made by some US Congresspeople cannot represent the voice of the genuine United States of America.
Until now, Vietnam and the US have made important progress in their bilateral relations in the trend of building a friendly and multi-cooperative partnership on the basis of equality and mutual respect for mutual benefit. So, the work that needs to be done now is for both sides to hold frank and open dialogues on democracy, human rights and religions in order to strengthen mutual understanding and not to let differences affect bilateral relations in all spheres. Meanwhile, Vietnam’s Party, State and people are determined to foil any plots and actions which distort and take advantage of issues relating to democracy, human rights, ethnicity and religions in order to intervene in Vietnam’s internal affairs, or violate its independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and security and political stabilisation.