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INTERNATIONAL MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN VIETNAM C.P. 51520 Boul. Tachereau, G.P. J4V, 3N8, Quebec, Canada Telephone: (514) 433-2875 Fax: (514) 756-2447 http://www.tudongonluanonline.com Email: humanrights-vn@hotmail.com OR info@tudongonluanonline.com October 1st, 2007 The Honorable Brian C. Aggeler Political Counselor United States Embassy Hanoi, Vietnam Re: Illegal People pre-trial second session (Đấu Tố) against Father Peter Phan Văn Lợi in city of Hue, Vietnam. Dear Counselor Aggeler: We feel very urgent to report to you that an absolutely illegal People pre-trial session (Đấu Tố) against our priest Peter Phan Văn Lợi has been organized by police at Phuoc Vinh village office in city of Hue, Vietnam at 8:30PM, September 30, 07 near his home at 16/46 Trần Phú. This was the second time Father Phan Văn Lợi and his family had been summoned to attend similar People pre-trial session (đấu tố). However, he and his family did not comply with the summon. The illegal pre-trial session was consisted of 20 under-covered police, retired government cadres and 100 neighborhood residents. The police-controlled crowd had angrily shouted and condemned Father Phan that he has assisted Father Nguyễn Văn Lý to lead People overthrowing the government. They threatened to arrest and imprison Father Phan as they have repeatedly jailed Father Thaddeus Nguyen Van Ly during the last 32 years. In fact, Father Phan has only published and circulated a (on-line and paper) bi-monthly periodical (Free Speech (TỰ DO NGÔN LUẬN). His right of free speech has been guaranteed by the Constitution of Vietnam itself (please refer attached). We have been extremely concerned about Father Phan's safety and well-being. He can be arrested any time now. He has his constitutional rights to publish news and periodicals and live peacefully without police's illegitimate interference. We urgently request your immediate intervention and protection to help him, a distinguished leader in his tireless struggle to fight for the poor, the suppressed and the voiceless people in Vietnam. Cc: Respected political leaders and news media around the world. Respectfully yours, Sy Hoang, President Viet Si, Spokesman/ President Assistant International Movement for Democracy and Human Rights in Vietnam Excerpt of the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam unanimously approved by the 8th National Assembly on April 15th, 1992 at 11:45AM. CHAPTER FIVE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF THE CITIZENS. Article 50 In the Socialist Republic of Vietnam human rights in the political, civic, economic, cultural and social fields are respected. They are embodied in the citizen's rights and are determined by the Constitution and the law. Article 51 The State guarantees the rights of the citizen; the citizen must fulfill his duties to the State and society. Article 53 The citizen has the right to participate in the administration of the State and management of society, the discussion of problems of the country and the region; he can send petitions to State organs and vote in referendums organized by the State. Article 58 The citizen enjoys the right of ownership with regard to his lawful income, savings, housing, chattel, means of production funds and other possessions in enterprises or other economic organizations; with regard to land entrusted by the State for use, the matter is regulated by the provisions of Articles 17 and 18. Article 69 The citizen shall enjoy freedom of opinion and speech, freedom of the press, the right to be informed, and the right to assemble, form associations and hold demonstrations in accordance with the provisions of the law. Article 70 The citizen shall enjoy freedom of belief and of religion; he can follow any religion or follow none. All religions are equal before the law. Article 71 The citizen shall enjoy inviolability of the person and the protection of the law with regard to his life, health, honor and dignity. No one can be arrested in the absence of a ruling by the People's Court, a ruling or sanction of the People's Office of Supervision and Control except in case of flagrant offences. Taking a person into, or holding him in, custody must be done with full observance of the law. It is strictly forbidden to use all forms of harassment and coercion, torture, violation of his honor and dignity, against a citizen.

 

1 hour, 29 minutes ago YANGON (AFP) - Emboldened after a march to see Myanmar's democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, 20,000 people led by Buddhist monks on Sunday launched the biggest challenge against military rule in nearly two decades. They marched in the rain-sodden streets of Yangon from the golden Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar's most important landmark, and numbers swelled as they crossed downtown Yangon and circled the Sule Pagoda, witnesses said. About 10,000 monks, many of them barefoot, were joined for the first time by nuns clad in pale pink robes. They were followed by about 10,000 supporters. "We want the people to join us," the monks chanted. Clapping onlookers and supporters thronged the side of the road, handing out water and flowers and proffering balm for the monks' exposed feet. "We want national reconciliation, we want dialogue with the military, we want freedom for Aung San Sun Kyi and other political prisoners," one protest leader cried into a microphone. After each shout, the crowd raised their hands to the grey skies above Yangon and cried: "Our God!" About 300 monks held a prayer vigil for one hour in Magway town, about 375 kilometres (230 miles) north of the commercial hub Yangon, while up to 500 monks joined a protest in the central city of Mandalay. The protests followed a landmark day Saturday, when the army allowed about 2,000 monks and civilians to pass a roadblock and gather by the lakeside Yangon house which has been Aung San Suu Kyi's prison for 12 of the past 18 years. Tears in her eyes, the woman known in Myanmar as "The Lady" waved at monks as they recited Buddhist prayers, witnesses said, while supporters chanted: "Long life and health for Aung San Suu Kyi, may she have freedom soon." The 62-year-old has become an internationally recognised symbol of non-violent political change since her National League for Democracy won 1990 elections by a landslide -- a result never recognised by the military. The military took precautions against a similar encounter Sunday, beefing up security around her home. Witnesses reported that about 30 riot police and a fire truck were stationed on the road by her house, while barricades were set up along the street. One underground Buddhist group calling itself the All Burma Monks Alliance called for nationwide prayer vigils starting Sunday -- the latest peaceful action against the military rulers since an August 15 rise in fuel prices. "We all, Burmese monks and people, are facing great difficulties and many problems," a spokesman purporting to be speaking for the group told AFP. "We are trying to continue protesting until we get our freedom." Myanmar was previously known as Burma. What began as a protest against economic hardship has now grown, with marches against military rule attracting thousands of young monks to the streets of Yangon and other cities since Tuesday. The military -- which has ruled Myanmar in some form since 1962 -- now faces a quandary, analysts say. Launching a violent and public crackdown on deeply revered monks would outrage people in Myanmar and the international community, but doing nothing at all leaves the military regime vulnerable. "If they crack down seriously on the monks it means it would also seriously inflame the rest of the population, including members of the military themselves, for attacking the sacred and very prestigious institution, " said Debbie Stothard, of Thailand-based democracy pressure group Altsean Burma. "So the military regime is really in a lose-lose situation." The junta normally does not tolerate the slightest show of public dissent, and authorities during the past month have arrested more than 150 people. Win Min, a Myanmar academic who lectures at Chiang Mai university in Thailand, said that allowing monks to visit Aung San Suu Kyi was a sign that the junta was seeking to peacefully take the steam out of the protests. However, Sunday's massive display by the clergy indicated that protests were not burning out, but swelling.

 

You might want to share this story. Even with some adults. Send it to the kids..... MY EYES TEARED UP !!! My mom only had one eye. I hated her... she was such an embarrassment. She cooked for students & teachers to support the family. There was this one day during elementary school where my mom came to say hello to me. I was so embarrassed. How could she do this to me? I ignored her, threw her a hateful look and ran out. The next day at school one of my classmates said, "EEEE, your mom only has one eye!" I wanted to bury myself. I also wanted my mom to just disappear. I confronted her that day and said, " If you're only goanna make me a laughing stock, why don't you just die?" My mom did not respond... I didn't even stop to think for a second about what I had said, because I was full of anger. I was oblivious to her feelings. I wanted out of that house, and have nothing to do with her. So I studied real hard, got a chance to go abroad to study. Then, I got married. I bought a house of my own. I had kids of my own. I was happy with my life, my kids and the comforts. Then one day, my mother came to visit me. She hadn't seen me in years and she didn't even meet her grandchildren. When she stood by the door, my children laughed at her, and I yelled at her for coming over uninvited. I screamed at her, "How dare you come to my house and scare my children!" "GET OUT OF HERE! NOW!!!" And to this, my mother quietly answered, "Oh, I'm so sorry. I may have gotten the wrong address," and she disappeared out of sight. One day, a letter regarding a school reunion came to my house. So I lied to my wife that I was going on a business trip. After the reunion, I went to the old shack just out of curiosity. My neighbors said that she died. I did not shed a single tear. They handed me a letter that she had wanted me to have. "My dearest son, I think of you all the time. I'm sorry that I came to your house and scared your children. I was so glad when I heard you were coming for the reunion. But I may not be able to even get out of bed to see you. I'm sorry that I was a constant embarrassment to you when you were growing up. You see........when you were very little, you got into an accident, and lost your eye. As a mother, I couldn't stand watching you having to grow up with one eye. So I gave you mine. I was so proud of my son who was seeing a whole new world for me, in my place, with that eye. With all my love to you, Your mother. = Send this to at least 5 people in the next 5 minutes to show you love your mother. If you don't then it shows you have no heart = Always tell someone that you love them because you never know what day will be their last, or your own. = Always seek to resolve your problems or disagreements with loved ones because if either of you should pass on before, the one who is left alive will have the rest of their life to ponder those unresolved feelings but will never find closure. And closure usually brings peace...

 

Pope Accepts Zimbabwean Prelate's Resignation Archbishop Says Attack Against Him Affects Church VATICAN CITY , SEPT. 11, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of Archbishop Pius Ncube, an outspoken critic of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. Archbishop Ncube of Bulawayo , 60, said in a press statement issued today that the Vatican accepted a request he made in July to leave office, the Catholic Information Service of Africa reported. The resignation follows allegations publicized by state-run media that the archbishop had an adulterous affair. Archbishop Ncube denies the allegations, but the case is in the High Court in Bulawayo . The archbishop said he made the decision to resign as a result of "a state-driven, vicious attack not just on myself, but by proxy on the Catholic Church in Zimbabwe ." "In order to spare my fellow bishops and the body of the Church any further attacks, I decided this was the best course of action," he said. "I will use my experiences working among the people to lobby for greater humanitarian support, in particular for food and medical supplies at this time of extreme national crisis." Archbishop Ncube continued: "I have various options available at the moment, both within the Church and within the civic movement, and will decide in the next few weeks which will provide the best platform to continue with God's work. "My passion is to get closer to God through prayer and to preach the Gospel so that the people move away from selfishness to care for God and others, and to fight for human rights." In a recent statement, the bishops of Zimbabwe called the adultery accusation "outrageous," and said that "intensifying the hate propaganda and character assassination against those Zimbabweans who, like Archbishop Ncube, have spoken out in defense of the oppressed, has not deceived ordinary Zimbabweans. Quite the contrary."

 

Petition to American Catholic Bishops regarding priests and bishops from Vietnam soliciting cash in the USA in shady circumstances by Viet-Am Review on Tue 11 Sep 2007 01:31 PM PDT | Permanent Link | Cosmos PETITION TO UNITED STATES CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS San Jose, September 10th, 2007 The Holy William S. Skylstad Most Reverend Bishop President United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Spokane Catholic Diocese, Washington Cc: USCCB’s Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops Re: Bishops and priests from Vietnam frequently visit the U.S. to solicit cash donations. Dear Bishop Skylstad, After the fall of South Vietnam on April 30th, 1975, we, the Vietnamese Catholics have been admitted to resettle in the United States of America. We have been helped by American People to resettle quickly and have made significant contributions to American society as other immigrants and refugees who had come to the U.S. earlier. We have been grateful to American government and People. Also, we have been cared and religiously nourished by American Catholic Church. Therefore, today, among the Shepherds we have one Bishop (Mai Thanh Luong), hundreds of priests and thousands of male and female Church seminarian students. We profoundly appreciate Jesus Christ, our Lord, and also American Catholic Church. Even though having been forced to leave our Motherland and Vietnam Catholic Church we always have thought of and prayed for our native Church and deeply reflected ourselves on painful situations in which our native Church has to suffer severely under the Communist regime. Therefore, when the Vietnam authority has started its “new, open-door policy” and established trade relations with the US, we have rushed cash and gifts to our Motherland to help our relatives and Vietnam Catholic Church in Vietnam. When Vietnamese Bishops and priests were allowed to visit other countries in the free world, especially the US, we happily welcomed them and made big cash donations so they could use it to complete their Church’s projects and help other Catholic fellows in Vietnam. However, our initial goodwill has created much more complicated situations with more disadvantages than advantages. Since then, Vietnamese Cardinals, Bishops, priests and church seminarian students have frequently traveled to the US and other free countries under their “formal missions” such as “Church missions serving overseas Vietnamese”. In reality, they have mainly focused on soliciting cash donations. In fact, we, the Vietnamese Catholics in the US have been already cared religiously by American Catholic Church equally to other Catholic immigrants. Native Vietnam Catholic Church in Vietnam has no more obligations to render any services or assistance to us, religiously or spiritually. Vietnamese Cardinals, Bishops, priests and church students have spent several months to visit the U.S. Some have stayed here for half a year or longer, just for visiting. Each visiting Church official is able to raise hundreds of thousands dollars. Some collect million dollars because they travel across 50 states and many other countries with their made-up requests that they build and/ or rebuild churches and other institutions such as institutions for retired priests, orphanages, educational or cultural funds, etc. Our cash assistance that had been originally aimed to meet our native Church’s critical demands has created damaging complications to the Church in Vietnam and also has corrupted Church officials: • The rich-and-poor gaps between “traveling priests” to “solicit cash contributions” and “no traveling priests” without cash are becoming increasingly wider. It creates unbridgeable barriers between priests and divides parishioners. Some parishioners admire and respect rich priests; others look down on poor priests. Sometimes, easy cash distracts priests from Church duties. They use such “free and easy cash” to finance their own selfish interests or worse than that they have been seduced to materialistic enjoyment and eventually deviate from their required priesthood duties. • Going abroad to solicit cash contributions are considered very “important”, therefore, some priests are willing to accept the communist authorities’ conditions or compromise with the government to obtain exit visas. Traveling abroad is not citizen’s right but is a privilege that can be negotiated with the government. For example: (1) priests’ cash collections must be shared in percentage with authorities each time priests are allowed to travel abroad, (2) priests are required to keep their mouths shut, not to disclose horrified corruptions and repression of all types in Vietnam, (3) priests should issue statements which are mostly favorable to Vietnam authorities when they meet with Vietnamese Catholics or non-Catholics in other countries. One specific Bishop, Joseph Hoang Van Tiem, had accepted our cash donations but showed disrespect to our traditional heritage flag of yellow background with three horizontal stripes, our spiritual symbol of free Vietnamese. It has resulted in serious conflicts between local Vietnamese American Catholics. These conflicts became lawsuits in courts. Other Bishop, Joseph Nguyen Chi Linh, visited Orange County and San Jose in California. While on pulpit preaching parishioners he maliciously labeled our military chaplains as sinful priests and losers. These formerly military chaplains used to be jailed in “re-education camps” for many years after Saigon fell under the Communists. Therefore, Mass attendants protested him. Many Bishops and priests have spread untruthfully political propaganda such as they very much enjoy freedom including religious freedom in Vietnam under the Communist regime. Therefore, many Catholics and non-Catholics had been badly insulted and they have boycotted them fiercely. • On August 19, 07 at Seafood World restaurant in Westminster, California in a dinner of over 500 guests to solicit cash contributions for Bishop Chau Ngoc Tri from diocese of Da Nang in Vietnam, a 77-year-old Catholic male guest, Mr. Ly Ngoc Hop, representative of 150 Catholics from Arizona, was invited to the stage to offer some thoughts. He briefly asked Bishop Chau Ngoc Tri: “Dear Bishop, is there religious freedom in Vietnam now?” The old man was immediately apprehended by the Bishop’s body guards who angrily took away the old man’s microphone and forced him out off the restaurant, to the parking lot in the witnessing of Bishop Mai Thanh Luong, a dozen of other priests including Rev. Mai Khai Hoan, Director of Vietnam Catholic Center in diocese of Orange without anybody’s intervention. This elderly Catholic faithful, who had driven 7 hours from Arizona, paid for his admission and dinner, was not allowed finishing his meal or saying a single word. This shameful incident has sparked up angriness and complaints all over the world for the act of “Smothering freedom of expression” on the U.S. territory, a land of freedom and opportunities. It is exactly identical to the police act of smothering Rev. Thaddeus Nguyen Van Ly’s freedom of speech in a hasty and dirty “Kangaroo trial” which lasted only a few hours on March 30, 07 ending with a brutal sentence of 8 years in jail and 5 years of home confinement to Father Ly, a tireless activist for Religious Freedom and Human Rights in Vietnam for over 32 years. • VietCatholic News (Vietcatholic.net) under Priest John Tran Cong Nghi’s personal ownership with NO officially legal approval of the Vietnam Conference of Catholic Bishops, for years has been a notorious website that has been posted news pieces, commentary and articles that has gravely jeopardized the non-violent struggle of inland and overseas Vietnamese for Democracy, Religious Freedom and Human Rights in Vietnam. It also has created deep division between Church’s officials, parishioners and non-Catholics. The net result is Vietnamese Catholics in the U.S. have been degraded and disrespected by other Americans. In many instances, our yearly April 30th commemoration, our national memorial event, has been selected to organize “Raising Fund Dinners” for Bishops and priests. These events have been interpreted as “Feasts Celebrating Communist Victory” to compliment and support the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV). • American Bishops have forbidden cash collections inside the churches. Many Vietnamese priests serving in dioceses on the US soil who work as illegitimate and unofficial liaisons between Vietnam and the U.S. Church have bent the rules by authorizing cash collections just outside the church buildings. There have been awful incidents of Bishops and priests who wore vestments standing in front of the churches’ main entrances to “beg” parishioners for cash donations immediately after Masses. It has created distasteful images that resemble with “de-luxe beggars” and has poked thorny pains in out hearts and generated disrespect among non-Catholics towards our Church and Church leaders. In addition, many state-controlled Church officials have been granted exit visas easily while other non state-controlled Church officials have been strictly prohibited to travel outside Vietnam. These discriminated treatments have created injustice, negative impacts and deep divisions between different Churches and also inside our Catholic Church itself. Dear Bishop Skylstad, We are now enjoyably exercising our rights and responsibilities to American Catholic Church equally to other immigrants. We feel responsible to make significant contributions to American Catholic Church. However, we cannot forget and ignore our native Vietnam Catholic Church, which has been physically and mentally suffered every minute in Vietnam. In order to resolve this situation, we sincerely suggest to the United Stated Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) a workable solution as follows that should be suitable to us, to Vietnam Catholic Church and also to American Catholic Church: • Designate 1 or 2 specific days every year to help Vietnam Catholic Church in Vietnam. During those 2 days anybody who wishes to help is welcomed to make contributions. Other than that, NO Vietnamese Bishop/ priests on the US soil are authorized to permit Vietnamese visiting Bishops/ priests standing in front of churches’ main entrances to “BEG” parishioners for cash donations. These collections eventually are required to send to the USCCB and the USCCB will turn around sending them to the Vietnam Conference of Catholic Bishops to distribute it fairly to all parishes, especially to poor parishes or use this fund for educational or social assistance, etc. in Vietnam. • Advise Vietnamese Bishop/ priests NOT to abuse their authority to offer assistance to visiting priests from Vietnam by hosting and/ or organizing “Raising Fund Feasts” for them. There have been more than enough protests, assaults and lawsuits pertaining to cash solicitations on churches’ premises. We humbly and earnestly pray our Lord, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and Saint Mary always be with you, our respected Bishop President and all members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Respectfully yours, Priests: 1- The Rev. Peter Phan Van Loi, City of Hue, Vietnam (currently under home confinement and jail time for years by police’s verbal order) 2- The Rev. Peter Nguyen Huu Giai, Archdiocese of Hue, Vietnam 3- The Rev. Stephen Chan Tin, Redemptorist Pastoral Center, Saigon, Vietnam 4- The Rev. John Baptist Dinh Xuan Minh, Germany 5- The Rev. Nguyen Thanh, City of Westminster, California (Formerly military chaplain and confined in “re-education camps” for years in Vietnam after the fall of South Vietnam) 6- The Rev. Dinh Xuan Long, North Carolina, USA 7- The Rev. Andrew Nguyen Huu Le, Diocese of Auckland, New Zealand (Formerly parish associate pastor in Vinh Long province. He was confined in “re-education camps” for over 13 years in Vietnam after the fall of South Vietnam) Parishioners/ Lay Catholics 1- Michael Le Van An, Author, Journalist, Activist for Religious Freedom and Human Rights in Vietnam (ARFHRVN), 303 Checkers Dr. # 202, San Jose, CA 95133. Email address: kiemai36@sbcglobal.net, Diocese of San Jose, California. 2- Vincent Viet Si, (ARFHRVN), Diocese of Oakland, California 3- Anne Nguyen Thanh Ha, (ARFHRVN), Archdiocese of Sydney, Australia 4- Dominic Hoang Van Tho, (ARFHRVN), Diocese of Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia 5- Kieu Thanh Hoang, (ARFHRVN), same diocese as above 6- Kevin Thien Anh Hoang, (ARFHRVN), same diocese as above 7- Daniel Nam Hoang, (ARFHRVN), same diocese as above 8- Simon Nguyen An Quy, Author, (ARFHRVN), Archdiocese of Seattle, Seattle, Washington State, USA 9- Lawrence Dang Dinh Hien, President of Vietnam Catholic Conscience, (ARFHRVN), Diocese of San Jose, San Jose, USA 10- Michael Le van Y, Vietnam Catholic Conscience, (ARFHRVN), Diocese of San Jose, San Jose, USA 11- Mary Nguyen Thi Quang Binh, Vietnam Catholic Conscience, (ARFHRVN), Diocese of San Jose, San Jose, USA 12- Peter Nguyen Que, Vietnam Catholic Conscience, (ARFHRVN), Diocese of San Jose, San Jose, USA 13- Alex Huynh Viet Dieu, Vietnam Catholic Conscience, Author, (ARFHRVN), Diocese of San Jose, San Jose, USA 14- Paul Nguyen Long, Vietnam Catholic Conscience, Author, (ARFHRVN), Diocese of San Jose, San Jose, USA 15- Anne Cao Thi Vinh, Vietnam Catholic Conscience, (ARFHRVN), Diocese of San Jose San Jose, USA 16- Joseph Pham Hinh, Vietnam Catholic Conscience, (ARFHRVN), Diocese of San Jose, San Jose, USA 17- Peter Nguyen Chinh, Journalist, Vietnam Catholic Conscience, (ARFHRVN), Diocese of San Jose, San Jose, USA 18- Sebastian Vu Linh Huy, M.D., (ARFHRVN), Archdiocese of Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, USA 19- Joseph Nguyen Van Thong, (ARFHRVN), Archdiocese of Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, USA 20- Tran Phong Vu, Author, Journalist, (ARFHRVN), Diocese of Orange, Westminster, USA 21- Tran Van Cao, M.D., (ARFHRVN), Diocese of Orange, Westminster, USA 22- Dominic Ha Tien Nhat, Author, (ARFHRVN), Diocese of San Jose, San Jose, USA 23-Thomaso Tran Viet Yen, (ARFHRVN), Diocese of San Jose, San Jose, USA 24- Professor Dr. Lawrence Nguyen Hoc Tap, Author, (ARFHRVN), Italy 25- Nguyen Xuan Tung, Author, (ARFHRVN), Diocese of Orange, Westminster, USA 26- Professor Dr. John Nguyen Phuc Lien, Author, (ARFHRVN), Diocese of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland 27- John Nguyen Huu Can, (ARFHRVN), Archdiocese of Seattle, Seattle, Washington State, USA 28- Francis Xavier Nguyen Tien Canh, M.D., Author, (ARFHRVN), Florida, USA 29- Joseph Dinh Kim Tan, (ARFHRVN), Diocese of MÜŽSTER, Germany 30- Mac Giao, Author, Journalist, Author, (ARFHRVN), St Vincent Liem Parish, Calgary, Canada. 31- Joseph Nguyen An Quoc, (ARFHRVN), Diocese of San Jose, San Jose, California, USA 32- Paul Cao Huu Thien, (ARFHRVN), Archdiocese of Seattle, Tacoma, Washington State, USA 33- Magdalene Vo Thi Mai, (ARFHRVN), same archdiocese as above. 34- James Cao Huu Tho, (ARFHRVN), same archdiocese. 35- Joseph Cao Huu Thuy, (ARFHRVN), same archdiocese. 36- Mary Le Thanh Thuy, (ARFHRVN), same archdiocese. 37- Theresa Cao Vu Thuy Trang, (ARFHRVN), same archdiocese. 38- Catherine Cao Vu Ly Tao, (ARFHRVN), same archdiocese. 39- Lucia Cao Vu Thuy Tiên, (ARFHRVN), same archdiocese. 40- Joseph Vo Thanh Vinh, (ARFHRVN), same archdiocese. 41- Anthony Tran Huu Tuan Anh, (ARFHRVN), same archdiocese. 42- Bui Hoang Thu, (ARFHRVN), same archdiocese. 43- Augustine Doan Van Tuan, (ARFHRVN), Diocese of San Bernadino, Riverside, California, USA 44- Peter Duong Van Hoang, (ARFHRVN), Archdiocese of Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA 45- Lucia Dang Thi Lien, (ARFHRVN), Archdiocese of Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada, 46- Toa Do, Commentator, (ARFHRVN), Westminster, CA, USA 47- John Baptist Vuong Ky-Son, Writer, Journalist, Radio Director, Magazine Publisher/Editor, Author, (ARFHRVN), Archdiocese of New Orleans, Louisiana 48- Mary Doan Thi Huong, (ARFHRVN), Archdiocese of Saigon, Saigon, Vietnam 49- Augustine Doan Van Thuc, (ARFHRVN), Archdiocese of Saigon, Saigon, Vietnam 50- Mary Doan Thi Nga, (ARFHRVN), Archdiocese of Saigon, Saigon, Vietnam 51- Dr. Long Kim Pham, PE, Nuclear Engineer, (ARFHRVN), Diocese of Orange, California 52- Matthew Tran, Author, Publisher of “Vietnam Homebound Newsletters Network”, (ARFHRVN), TX, USA 53- Catarina Tran Nam Binh, (ARFHRVN), Diocese of San Jose, CA 54- Ly Ngoc Hop, (ARFHRVN), Arizona, He was the 77-year-old Catholic reprensentative of 150 Catholics in Arizona. He had drove 7 hours from Arizona to join the (cash soliciting) meeting dinner with Bishop Chau Ngoc Tri and 500+ Catholic faithful. Mr. Ly was invited to the stage to offer some thoughts. After his first brief question “Dear Bishop, is there religious freedom in Vietnam now?”, his microphone was immediately confiscated. Then he was forcibly pushed out of Seafood World restaurant and threatened by Bishop Chau Ngoc Tri’s bodyguards in the parking lot without anybody’s intervention or comments. 55- Paul Ly Thanh Truc, (ARFHRVN), Goettingen, Germany 56- Joseph Dang Xuan Khanh, (ARFHRVN), Perth, Western Australia Keywords: AmericanConferenceCatholicBishops, PhanVanLoi, ArchdioceseofHue, VietnamCatholicChurch, VietSi, Vietnamcorruption, SanJose, religiousfreedom, overseasVietnamese, NguyenVanLy, NguyenHuuLe, communistprisoners, CatholicsinVietnam Posted to: Main Page Vietnamese Communities Human Rights, Countries of Particular Concern

 

Inhofe Legislation Allows Veterans to Salute the Flag Ryan Cassin, 07.26.2007 WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) today praised the passage by unanimous consent of his bill (S.1877 ) clarifying U.S. law to allow veterans and servicemen not in uniform to salute the flag. Current law (US Code Title 4, Chapter 1) states that veterans and servicemen not in uniform should place their hand over their heart without clarifying whether they can or should salute the flag . "The salute is a form of honor and respect, representing pride in one's military service," Senator Inhofe said. "Veterans and service members continue representing the military services even when not in uniform. "Unfortunately, current U.S. law leaves confusion as to whether veterans and service members out of uniform can or should salute the flag. My legislation will clarify this regulation, allowing veterans and servicemen alike to salute the flag, whether they are in uniform or not.

 

For Immediate Release: July 24, 2007 CONTACT: Pedro Ribeiro, 202-225-3072, pedro.ribeiro@mail.house.gov Rep. Lofgren Deeply Concerned Over Treatment of Peaceful Protestors in Vietnam Rep. Lofgren Sends Letter to Vietnamese President Washington, D.C. - Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) today sent a letter to Vietnamese President Triet, expressing her "serious disappointment regarding the treatment of the peaceful protesters in Ho Chi Minh City on July 18, 2007." The letter, which calls on the Vietnamese President to personally explain the brutal crackdown on peaceful human rights activists, was also forwarded to Secretary of State Rice. The letter also states that Vietnam is failing to meet the human rights standards that the Unites States expects from its trading partners and that it must make a strong commitment to the promotion of human rights. The complete text of the letter is below: July 24, 2007 His Excellency President Triet c/o Embassy of Vietnam 1233 20th Street, NW #400 Washington, DC 20036 Dear President Triet: I am writing to express my serious disappointment regarding the treatment of the peaceful protesters in Ho Chi Minh City on July 18, 2007. It is my understanding that approximately 1,500 Vietnamese police were dispatched to break up a peaceful sit-in of 1,700 peasants. I have seen reports that approximately 30 peasants were severely injured through acts of violence by the police. As a Member of Congress who has advocated for human rights in Vietnam , I am very concerned about these reports of police violence at a peaceful sit-in. I am especially concerned given that you recently visited with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on June 22 and she expressed to you the importance of human rights in the relationship between the United States and Vietnam . She and other Members of Congress have made it clear that if the relationship between our two countries is to develop, Vietnam must make a strong commitment to the promotion of human rights. In fact, prior to Vietnam 's accession to the World Trade Organization, you and President Bush affirmed that human rights must be an inexorable part of Vietnam 's integration into the world community. These sentiments were echoed by President Bush during your recent visit to the United States . Given the discussion of the importance of human rights at your June 2007 meeting with Speaker Pelosi and Members of Congress, I am disappointed and disturbed by the reports of police brutality in Ho Chi Minh City on July 18, 2007. I expect to see the Government of Vietnam pay serious attention to human rights. The continued reports of human rights violations in Vietnam in the recent months are failing to convince the people of the United States that Vietnam meets the human rights standards expected of trading partners and members of the international community. I would like to hear from you directly why these violent actions were taken by the police against peaceful protestors. Respectfully, Zoe Lofgren Member of Congress cc: The Honorable Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State

 

Khối 8406 Tuyên Ngôn Tự Do Dân Chủ Cho Việt Nam 2006 Bloc 8406 Manifesto on Freedom & Democracy for Vietnam 2006 Letter of Protest No. 16 of Bloc 8406 Protesting the Vietnamese Communist Government’s suppression of petitioning victims of injustice on the midnight of July 18 and the morning of July 19, 2007 Vietnam, July 20, 2007 We respectfully address : - All Vietnamese inside Vietnam and overseas, - The United Nations, Congresses and Governments of Democratic Countries, - Human Rights International Organizations and International News Agencies Since June 22, 2007, victims of injustice from 19 provinces: Tien Giang, Long An, Ben Tre, Dong Thap, Vinh Long, An Giang, Kien Giang, Bac Lieu, Soc Trang, Tra Vinh, Vinh Long, Binh Duong, Tay Ninh, Binh Phuoc, Lam Dong, Can Tho, Hau Giang, Ca Mau, Binh Thuan and 9 districts of Saigon City: Go Vap, Binh Chanh, Tinh Thanh, and districts 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 12 (source: Urgent Petition of Citizens on July 16, 2007), could not stand any longer to see their appeals go unresolved neither by the central nor local authorities, for many decades, so they decided to stage a peaceful sit-in protest in front of the Second Congress building, located at 192 Hoang Van Thu, 9th Hamlet, Phu Nhuan district of Saigon, to call for justice to be served. Unfortunately, in response to this rally, the government closed this office of the so-called “highest organ of State power” and it remained closed for the several weeks of the rally, causing the victims of injustice to complain: “The office is no different than a cemetery, there is no sight of any officials! Where is the responsibility? Where is the compassion? How could they kill their humanity? How could they turn away in apathy?” Resonating with the irresponsibility of the “representative organ of the people” are the cowardly and unresponsive domestic mass media (composed of more than 600 newspapers) and the apathy of many of the so-called “spiritual leaders of the people” (from various religions). On the other hands, the victims of injustice certainly attracted many policemen (the so-called “friend of the people”) both in uniform and in civilian clothes (both from different provinces and the local district) to infiltrate with the purpose of collecting information on the leading members of the protest, and to brutally assault any reporters who attempted to learn the situation or any compassionate person or any pro-democracy activist who tried to bring help to these poor and homeless victims. Some delegations of various provinces tried to lure their people back to their original residences with a false promise of resolution of their appeals! The protest is in its 4th week, the morale and the number of participants is on the rise, and the support of the people for their cause are spreading, especially after the visit of the Most Venerable Thich Quang Do the morning of July 17 to the victims of injustice. Later on that same day, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Vietnamese Communist Government (VCG), Truong Vinh Trong, flew in from Hanoi. Not to meet with the protesting victims of injustice, but instead to hold a meeting with the Deputy Minister of Police to review the strategy to suppress the protest of the petitioning victims of injustice. On the night of July 18, 1000 to 2000 policemen, secret agents, armed soldiers, even gangsters, equipped with electric rods, bludgeons, tear gas, rifles and pistols, tanks, buses, ambulances, fire trucks, and animal-cage trucks, surrounded the area after cutting the electricity and jamming cell-phone signals. To start, the police called for the people to return to their original residences, threatening them that if they did not, then they would use force. However, these poor citizens felt that they had nowhere left to return to, and their situations would be hopeless even if they were to return, so approximately 600 citizens decided to stay. High intensity lights were then turned on them, together with fire hoses spraying water, fire extinguishers erupting, tear gas being sprayed, and electric rods beating them down mercilessly. Thousands of policemen charged the crowd, which was mostly composed of women and elderly citizens, like a hungry herd of animals. They seized these helpless people and threw them in buses and trucks like animals. In this chaotic scene, approximately 5000 residents of Saigon stood and witnessed the whole event, powerless to take any action to help these poor people, who were screaming, crying for help, pleading for their lives. Some protesters resisted, and they were beaten even more, then thrown into and taken away in ambulances or prison buses. According the eyewitnesses, dozens of people’s heads were beaten, they were allegedly taken to hospitals, but their conditions are unknown at this time. The leading members of the protest were identified at the beginning of the attack, handcuffed, and taken directly to the Phan Dang Luu detention camp. The whole attack took approximately 2 hours and ended at 12:34 AM of the morning of July 19, 2007. All tents, blankets, belongings, banners, even Communist party flags, pictures of Ho Chi Minh, photographs of family members of some of the victims of injustice who died in the war, and Commendations of the Fatherland which had been previously awarded to some of the victims of injustice, were taken down and thrown in trash-hauling trucks stationed nearby. Fire-hoses were used to spray water to clean up the scene, especially blood which had been shed by a number of the protesters a few minutes earlier. The front of the Building was made to appear attractive again, in time for the opening of the National Assembly No. 12 that morning (in Hanoi.) The whole event was very similar to the Tiananmen Square massacre, only different in the speed of the operation and the level of violence at the scene! The victims of injustice were supposedly taken back to the districts of their original residence, but in fact were taken halfway to their home provinces, forced out of the vehicles in which they were being held and transported, and abandoned to find their way home by themselves. Some of these victims of injustice, during interviews with overseas media, reported that they had received summons to “work with” the local police (a code-word for interrogation and threats.) The victims have no hope that justice will ever be returned to them, despite the empty promises of the local authorities that in the next few months they will resolve what they had refused to resolve for many decades. Instead, these victims fear that they will receive merciless reprisal and even execution in secrecy in the case of the citizens who stood out as the leaders of the protest (as was the case after the peasants’ protest in Thai Binh 20 years ago.) However, these people are determined to continue in their quest for justice, since they literally have nothing to lose! In light of the above mentioned horrific event, Bloc 8406 concludes: - This is proof that the VCG has never been “of the people, based on the people, for the people” as they have always claimed, but a group of gangsters composed of the state, the National Assembly, the police, and the Fatherland fronts to cover up for each other in robbing poor innocent citizens, in order to accumulate material wealth for the sole purpose of prolonging their monopoly on power. They have no intention of resolving the millions of appeals like these which have accumulated throughout the country. - The Communist Party and the VCG have ruled the country with deception and violence. Contradictory to the government’s claim of a “fight against corruption”, they have singled out to further persecute any victims of injustice and corruption who have appealed their cases patiently and peacefully for many years. When these victims strongly voiced their dissatisfaction, they were brutally suppressed. However, it is easy to understand, considering that the corrupt people who stole these victims’ property are the members of the Communist party and the government, who have no respect for the property of the people or of the nation. - The VCG trampled these victims without humanity or compassion. Their bottomless greed has driven the country to poverty, leaving many people with no means to survive. They offered our lands to Communist China, sold to foreign investors many areas of the country that have potential for growth, and yet they still continue to steal and rob millions of poor citizens of their last piece of land, their last means of survival. - The VCG, with its sophisticated and wicked tactics, has turned the people, who are supposed to stand up for justice and protect victims due to their role in society, to show apathy and indifference toward the suffering of these victims, while making obsequious statements to the oppressing regime. The destruction of human conscience, morality, and the sense of uprightness and determination of the Vietnamese race is the worst crime committed by the VCG. - This long protest filled with determination and bravery of citizens of 19 provinces and 9 districts of Saigon is a fire that needs to be inflamed and maintained, since it’s guaranteed that the people will continue to stand up in demanding justice in this unjust society. There is hope that the Vietnamese are still capable of fighting against both external and internal invaders. The financial, psychological and mental support of the Vietnamese people, domestic and overseas, are encouraging and praiseworthy. The visit to the protestors by the banned Buddhist Church of Vietnam, especially the Most Venerable Thich Quang Do, is the real proof of the fearless compassionate spirit of Buddhist teaching and is an excellent example for other religions to follow. It’s the true example of living amongst the people! - Resolution of the cases of these victims of injustice in particular, as well as all of the problems faced by our beloved Vietnam, can only succeed through a multiparty, pluralistic political system with true democracy and freedom, non-Communist, and non-totalitarian. To stop the crimes committed by the CVG, Bloc 8406 calls upon: - All Vietnamese forces struggling for democracy inside Vietnam and overseas, Congresses and Governments of democratic countries, and everyone who has a love for freedom and justice, to (1) adamantly condemn this inhumane oppression of these powerless victims by the VCG; (2) pressure the VCG to return these and all unjustly confiscated properties to their rightful owners and strictly and clearly discipline the corrupt officials who were responsible; (3) demand that the VCG release immediately all of the victims who participated in the protests, especially those who lead the protest, such as Mr. Pham Van Troi, Nguyen Ngoc Hien, Cao Que Hoa, Le Thi Nguyet, …; and (4) frequently monitor the safety of these people after their release since they are likely to be secretly executed or imprisoned again. - The police, army, mass media, and state-sponsored religious leaders who are co-operating with the brutal regime, to be aware that your co-operative activities with the government will someday be dismissed, trampled upon, and thrown out, in the same way that was done with the positive and officially recognized contributions which a number of these victims of injustice have given to the Vietnamese government in the past. In the meantime, your co-operation leaves a shameful mark in history, and justice will be served on the day when you are called upon to answer for your actions. The VCG will answer strictly for the crimes they have committed, unless they realize their mistakes, return to the side of the people, and atone for their crimes. Written on July 20th, 2007 in Vietnam. Interim Representatives of Bloc 8406: Do Nam Hai, engineer, Saigon Tran Anh Kim, former military officer, Thai Binh Phan Van Loi, Catholic Priest, Hue

 

http://sg.news.yahoo.com/ap/20070707/twl-as-gen-vietnam-protests-b416fdc.html Sunday, July 8, 2007 (Hanoi) Hundreds of people are camping out near a government building in southern Vietnam's Saigon City to protest alleged corruption and unfair compensation for their land, taken for infrastructure projects. Protesters from nine southern provinces have converged since June 22 in front of the representative office of the lawmaking National Assembly, said a police officer in Phu Nhuan District. ''They have set up tents on the pavements, hung up banners and placards demanding fair compensation for their land and denouncing local corruption,'' the officer said. He said police were deployed to help keep order and control traffic. The officer said that leaders of some provinces where the protesters came from had tried to persuade them to go home, but that most of them did not back down. Saturday's Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper quoted deputy government inspector Le Tien Hao as saying senior government inspectors have been sent to the provinces to urge the provincial leaders to resolve the disputes. Scenes of people gathering at government buildings to demand better compensation for confiscated land have become common in Vietnam. Hundreds of hectares (acres) of land are being taken each year for industrial parks and other infrastructure projects. Several people have been brought to court for attacking authorities in land disputes in recent years.