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  • Political dissidents praise Bishops for addressing critical issues of the nation

    Well-known Vietnamese political dissidents have praised Bishops for addressing critical issues that are major obstacles in the development of the country.


    Fr. Chan Tin, a well-known dissident, has praised Bishops for attacking serious issues of the nation, in particular the dishonesty of the state media.


    In the article "Vietnam Media," the Redemptorist priest, who had been under house arrested for 3 years until May 1993 when the government under international pressure released him, states that "in the process of solving the disputes, state-controlled media were proven to be effective in spreading doubts and mistrust instead of bridging the nation with mutual understanding and unification."


    He himself was a victim of distortions from state media. In 1990, he wrote a tract titled "Repent to the Nation," which called on the Vietnamese Communist Party to fix its mistakes. He also protested the regime's persecution of peaceful pro-democracy activists. What state-run media have recently done against Hanoi Archbishop, they did the same against Fr. Chan Tin. Comments from his statement were quoted out of context, distorted, and condemned on state media.


    A typical condemnation could be read in Saigon Liberated newspaper on May 17, 1990 which charged him with "endangering national security, opposing the interests of the Church, the country and the people, creating division between religion and the State, fostering division within the Church, inciting the people to oppose the socialist regime as well as the leadership role of the Vietnamese Communist Party."  


    State media have never published the entire statement of the person they want to attack, only separated phrases surrounded with a multitude of distorted comments to deceive public opinion.


    However, Fr. Chan Tin, whom the government attempted to kill in traffic accident at least one time, suggests that one should not condemn media personnel. "They are victims of a brutal regime which enslaves them, forces them to write according to the Party's will in order to earn for their living. They have to write against their conscience. They already feel shameful for what they write," he explained.


    According to the Redemptorist priest "Vietnam's Politburo is the culprit of the brutal state media." He argues that "before the WTO accession [on Nov. 7, 2006], Vietnam had promised to allow private media. But as soon as it was approved to be a member, the Politburo immediately asked the prime minister to issue instruction No 37 'not to allow private press at any forms'".


    "The instruction 37 is unconstitutional," he argues. "It contradicts to session 69 of the constitution."


    For Fr. Nguyen Hong Giao, OFM, in their statement released on Friday Sep. 26, Bishops presented a thorough way to solve land issue based on Church Social Teaching.  


    "In reality, land is the cause of numerous complaints and denunciations, a problem which people concern the most. It is also a problem with so much corruption and with so many people have been jailed," he observed.


    According to Fr. Nguyen, the government's persistence "on the common ownership and the state administration of land," contradicts to the right to own private property stated in article17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others." and "No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property."  


    The Vietnam government is prepared to sign and pledge to obey any international agreements, but it is always reluctant to put them into practice.


    "The land issue cannot be solved unless the government takes in to account the right of people to own their land and property," he believes.


    "Bishops' suggestions are sincere, active and constructive. Should the government pay a good attention to them, the country would develop stably, and faster," he concluded.  


    J.B. An Dang  





    Posted on 02 Oct 2008

    Vietnam News