Again, Tactic Of Setting Both Sides BY Ears
Article below, extracted from VC State-controlled Magazine Cong An Nhan Dan, shows the twisted tongue of the Communist Government of Vietnam about the USCIRF's most recent visit to Vietnam.
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen:
Vietnamese communists are quite deceitful. Talking face-to-face with people, they pretend to be respectful, but in their backs, they badmouth these people using extremely vulgar language.
United States Commission On International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) had recently arrived in Vietnam to conduct thorough investigations on the issue of religious repression in Vietnam because, for years, Vietnam had been designated in the U.S. State department’s list of CPC (Countries of Particular Concern) in 2004 and 2005 after Vietnam authorities torn/ burned down and/ or destroyed more than 4,000 churches and worship facilities in 2001 and 2002. They had imprisoned and killed many religious faithful and prohibited them from practicing their religions, especially to the Christians in big cities and in tribal hamlets in highland regions of Vietnam . This information may be referenced in the U.S. State Department’s official website.
Vietnam authorities had promised to President George W. Bush and the State Department that they would implement appropriate policy and administrative measures to fully comply with State Department’s required benchmarks in order to be taken off from the list of CPC and be granted status of Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) and admitted into the World Trade Organization (WTO). However, after achieving their goals, Vietnam authorities mendaciously turned around, swallowed their pride, and did not keep their promise. Yet, they have drastically increased persecution and imposing harsh jail terms for more than 50 popular political and religious dissidents since August 2006.
Vietnam authorities formally welcomed USCIRF Delegation during its visit in Vietnam . However, when USCIRF was still working out issues with Vietnam and about to leave, the Communist authorities have instructed more than 600 state-controlled daily newspapers and periodicals to start igniting their war with full force by publishing this following article, written in Vietnamese, in their “Cong An Nhan Dan & An Ninh The Gioi” Newspaper (People Police and World Security” Newspaper on their article dated October 27, 2007, written in Vietnamese by Colonel Nguyen Nhu Phong, the Executive Editor. URL referenced below:
Please remember all communication media in Vietnam are strictly controlled by the government. Therefore, the above-mentioned newspaper was instructed to publish the following article. We have translated this article, intact, into English and highlighted important paragraphs/ phrases for your quick reference.
We appreciate your in-depth comments and appropriate assistance to help convince the U.S. Congress passing the Bill HR-3096, Vietnam Human Right Acts, as quickly as possible, to improve the situation of religious freedom and human rights in Vietnam where our 84.5 million suffering fellow citizens have been severely repressed under the totalitarian dictatorship of the Communist Party of Vietnam, a sole political party in Vietnam.
Thank you. May God bless you and your loved ones in your noble mission to help regain freedom and justice for our unfortunate People inside our beloved motherland, Vietnam .
Again, tactic of “Setting both sides by ears”
Oct. 27, 07
By Nguyen Nhu Phong
Executive Editor, “World Security” Magazine, State-controlled writer
In real life activities of the United States Commission On International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), especially the unfriendly attitudes of some members, we are clearly convinced that this is a conspiracy to exploit the issues of religion and human rights to sabotage the developing fine diplomatic relations between Vietnam and the United States for the shared interests of the two nations.
During the last several days, “USCIRF” has been visiting Vietnam . According to their schedule, they will end their trip on November 11, 07. There will be nothing to say if this is a friendly visit and in the spirit of respecting independence and sovereignty of each other nation.
However, USCIRF’s activities, specifically their meetings with some individuals who are “unwelcomed by Vietnam authorities” have been creating public concerns. Is it true that under the name of “Religious Freedom” they have grossly violated the religious freedom in Vietnam to plant seeds for conspiracies in which they aim at damaging the good progress of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and United States governments.
Upon Vietnam government’s permission, from October 21 to November 1, 2007, USCIRF consisted of the President, 2 Vice Presidents and 3 Commissioners have visited Vietnam and worked with a number of Vietnam’s governmental departments such as Governmental Committee of Religious Issues, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Congressional Committee of Foreign Affairs, Leadership of Public Security Ministry, Leadership of Central Citizens Mobilization and Leadership of People Committee of Ho Chi Minh City, etc.
They also met with Catholic Archbishop Ngo Quang Kiet, Most Venerable Thich Thanh Tu (Buddhist State-Controlled Church of Vietnam), met at round table with branches of Christian Church, Christian Church and faithful of Buddhist Hoa Hao Church…
In addition, they also suggested meetings with some individuals who have been convicted of criminal offenses such as conducting propaganda, fighting against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and causing public disorders…
These individuals include Le Quoc Quan, Nguyen Van Dai, Le Thi Cong Nhan. USCIRF also met with Catholic priest Nguyen Van Ly’s family members. They even hosted welcoming lunch/ dinner to Nguyen Van Dai’s wife and mothers of Le Thi Cong Nhan and Le Quoc Quan.
Their conspiracy for this trip is mainly encouraging protests and sabotage to Vietnam by some individuals in Vietnam who have proclaimed themselves as religious activists.
Then, what type of organization is USCIRF when it has flatly ignored recent diplomatic efforts of the two governments to enhance and strengthen the diplomatic relations between Vietnam and the U.S. ? Apparently, they have not cared much about the fact that the U.S. State Department had taken Vietnam off its list of “Countries of Particular Concerns / CPC”
This Commission (USCIRF) is an independent entity, which is appointed by the U.S. President, directly reports to him and confirmed by the U.S. Senate with the participation of both Democratic and Republican parties. For years, taking advantage of the badge of “independence”, this Commission always has broadcast inaccurate information and grossly and falsely labeled religious activities in Vietnam . Information they have broadcast mainly from some exiled betraying and combating individuals such as Ngo Thi Hien who has proclaimed herself “President of Committee of Religious Freedom for Vietnam ”. However, in fact this is an organization, which was maliciously created and run by that woman to cheat Vietnamese Americans in America for her sole purpose of soliciting cash contributions.
USCIRF also receives reports from vagabond Vo Van Ai. And of course, it also includes fabricated information of “hearsay and dropping burning charcoals on people’s palms” from others such as Le Quoc Quan, Nguyen Van Dai, Le Thi Cong Nhan and Pham Hong Son, etc.
That’s why in the meeting with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Committee Head of Religious Affairs Nguyen The Doanh and Vice Minister of Public Security Nguyen Van Huong, USCIRF has laid out extremely inaccurate and misleading information and obviously without friendliness at all.
Based on some unknown informants, USCIRF gave out a list of 20 individuals and claimed that these persons are “prisoners of religious persecution”. All these listed persons are completely “ghosts” because there are no such persons in real life. Many
villages and tribal hamlets claimed by USCIRF cannot be located on road maps.
In the “working session” with Superior General Nguyen Van Huong, USCIRF shamelessly mentioned that freedom of religion in Vietnam had achieved some progress in the past but it is currently halted. That their Commission has been reported that there are abuses, arrests, and harassments to the Churches’ leaders. That they have been reported that religious faithful have been repressed, persecuted and even some were cruelly killed.
Then, USCIRF requested Ministry of Public Security’s authorization so they could meet with some jail inmates and also requested release for some people who “dared to express their views of basic human rights”. They also proposed Vietnam to implement measures to “prevent repression” against religious practitioners. USCIRF also requested on-site visits to meet with Nguyen Van Dai and Le Thi Cong Nhan. And, in the lunch in which the Commission hosted these two inmates’ family members they claimed they were reported that Dai and Nhan have not been permitted to receive food and medication supplies from their families. They also requested that Vietnam legal system has to legalize the “ Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam ”. Last but not least, they also listed out concrete cases of some persons and claimed that these persons were persecuted until deaths such as Y Het in Phu Yen province.
Superior General Nguyen Van Huong has straightly rejected USCIRF’s claims. For some specific cases, he requested evidences. And of course, how was USCIRF able to unearth their fabricated evidences? General Huong also affirmed there are no repression, abuse and harassment of the Church leaders.
For years, religions in Vietnam have been very strongly developed. As of today, there are 23 million followers of all faith comprising of 10 million Buddhists, 5. 9 million Catholics, 1 million Christians, 3.2 million Cao Dai, 1.4 million Buddhist Hoa Hao, 67,000 Muslims, 1.4 million Tinh Do Cu Si Buddhist Association, 78,000 Tu An Huu Nghia, 78,000 Bahai, 10,000 Ngu Chi Minh Dao.
Since 2005 until today, headcount of religious followers have increased 2 million, 6 religions and 16 affiliated organizations have increased from 10 religions and 29 affiliated organizations, which have been recognized by the government. Total of Church leaders, preachers, assistants are 53,000 persons in which Christian Churches have 1,423 faithful. There are 24,000 worship facilities, churches, pagodas and temples.
Churches’ leader training programs also have developed very rapidly. (State–controlled) Buddhist Church of Vietnam has 3 institutes, 35 Buddhist college-preparation and trade schools, 15 Buddhist elementary schools. There were 274 Buddhist monks who had applied for college admissions in other countries. Many of those became PhDs. in Buddhism. Catholic Church of Vietnam has 7 seminaries, which have trained 3,000 Church’s clergy. Christian Church owns Bible/ Theology Association, etc.
Beginning 2007 until today, Churches of all religions have ordained, appointed and transferred more than 1,000 Church leaders, built from scratches or renovated 351 worship facilities. Many province and city authorities have approved preliminarily the applications and land utilizing permits for Churches. Therefore, if Vietnam authorities have repressed religions how can we produce those speakable figures as mentioned above.
As to the so-called “religious prisoners” then in Vietnam there has never been a single citizen who has been jailed for his/ her religious activities or because he/ she “dares to speak up his/her political viewpoint”. However, these citizens only have been convicted of their criminal offenses.
Vo Thanh Liem in An Giang province has been jailed because he had splashed acid to other person’s face. Y Het in Phu Yen province was a street gangster. He had attacked simultaneously 6 persons. In jail, he died of neck tumors. Nguyen Van Dai and Le Thi Cong Nhan had invoked and organized forces to fight and plan to overthrow the government by which they have seriously violated Vietnam laws.
The so-called “ Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam ” is an organization since Saigon regime, but in 1981 this organization’s leadership has volunteered to merge their organization with (State-Controlled) Buddhist Church of Vietnam. Therefore, if this organization had been in operations it surely would have been illegal.
However, those so-called “ Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam ’s leadership” such as Thich Quang Do, etc. who even have not been recognized by law but they are still authorized to conduct normal religious activities in pagodas. And of course, nobody among them would have been arrested if they had not violated the laws.
Superior General Nguyen Van Huong also has confirmed that Vietnam laws have clearly prohibited the abuse of prisoners and violators will be severely punished. Trials in courts in Vietnam are open to the public with the participation of defense attorneys and defendants’ family members. International diplomatic representatives in foreign embassies are also invited to attend and witness those trials. Also, governmental cadres in charge of public services in Vietnam have been all thoroughly trained in regards to human rights and in compliance with the Administrative Directive of Religions (PHA’P LE^.NH TO^N GIA’O).
After the meeting with Superior General Nguyen Van Huong, USCIRF Delegation was invited to visit Le Thi Cong Nhan and Nguyen Van Dai in Ha Noi prison camp.
Completely contrary to their initial acknowledgement that they claimed these 2 inmates have not been supplied with food and medication from their families and that these inmates are hungry and thirsty and currently living in unsecured conditions, Dai and Nhan both looked “very chubby” with their relaxed and happy faces.
It turned out that since their arrests until now Dai and Nhan live in much better accommodations than they used to live in before because their families have supplied them regularly with food, medication and many other things. Nhan has received supplies 32 times and Dai 31 times. Therefore, they are in top priority to receive families’ food and medication supplies compared to other inmates (jail rules allow 2 times of supply for
each inmate every month).
In jail, Dai still reads Bible and books and even organizes his religious preaching sessions. Even USCIRF intentionally listed out tricky questions about Dai and Nhan’s living conditions but before the obvious truth, these 2 inmates could not say anything different from the truth. They have been kindly treated and their daily activities have never been interfered.
Apparently, realizing Americans visit her, Le Thi Cong Nhan falsely understood that she finally found out her “live vest” while sinking in the ocean so she earnestly suggested USCIRF Delegation to intervene with Vietnam authorities to release both of
In that meeting, USCIRF Delegation promised to Nhan it will voice out Nhan’s petition to Vietnam responsible authorities. However, after that meeting USCIRF absolutely has never mentioned about those two inmates again in following meetings with Vietnam officials.
In the meeting with the Executive Team of Christian Inter-Association in North Vietnam , USCIRF focused their inquiries upon the so-called “difficulties in religious activities” of the Inter-Association, and questioned, “If the Church often receives reports concerning the local governments which violate the right of freedom of faith”. Minister President of Christian Inter-Association (State-controlled Minister) has explained to USCIRF the issue of budget deficit and under staff to keep the Inter-Association from working effectively. Mr. Phung Quang Huyen (state-controlled minister), also affirmed that the past difficulties in religious activities have been completely solved, especially after the Prime Minister had issued his Administrative Directive One (01). However, in some local provinces in Northern mountainous areas the execution of Administrative Directive One is still slow, in some areas the religious groups have not been registered but the faithful are still in normally religious activities.
In regards to some conflicts between the Churches’ faithful and the government then after having been reported, Inter-Association leadership has informed the incidents to central and local responsible authorities to intervene and solve the issues to guarantee the legitimate interests of the faithful, and at same time to advise the faithful to practice religion according to the Bible’s spirit, not to commit in activities against the
Government, which will create bad impact to the Church’s prestige.
The reality has proven that the Church’s action viewpoint is correct therefore, relations between government and the Church is currently much more open. To conclude its visit and work plan at some Northern provinces , USCIRF flew to City of Hue and eventually to Ho Chi Minh City on schedule.
Based on USCIRF’s on-site activities, especially on unfriendly attitudes of some Commissioners, it is more than obvious that this is surely a conspiracy to exploit the issues of religion and human rights to destroy developing fine relations between Vietnam and the U.S. for the shared benefits of both nations.
It is not easy to understand why USCIRF dared to set up standards that this nation or other nation has to follow its strategy/ philosophy of religious activities. Each nation and each People has its unique characteristics of its own religions and unique culture.
Therefore, religious activities are not identical to everybody. America always raises its loud and arrogant voice that this or that certain nation violates human rights but America itself is the one who violates human rights in the most horrific way. American governments were the main offenders who initiated the most destructing war in Vietnam . Until now, the war aftermaths cannot be overcome. In America , such incidents of gunfire sprees aiming at innocent people, tortures or abuses of inmates that have triggered big shocks to the whole world. Are these incidents sophisticated symbols of the U.S, a democratic society in which human rights are highly respected?
Vietnamese all have learned a popular adage: «One’s feet stained with big chunks of smelly SHIT in darkness of the night, Yet he/ she arrogantly wield up burning torches to keep searching around people’s feet to find out where‘s the SHIT comes from». Perhaps, USCIRF should learn by heart this famous adage.
Nguyen Nhu Phong
State-controlled Executive Editor/ First runner-up for Nobel Prize of Literature
English version by Viet Si, Activist for Religious Freedom and Human Rights in Vietnam