Archive for the Democracy Activists Category

Communists Are Afraid of Books, Arrest Phuong Uyen Again for Holding One

Posted in Books, Democracy Activists, Politics, Society with tags , , , , , , , on December 21, 2015 by Ian Pham

Phuong Uyen Holding BookPhoto via Tin Mung Cho Nguoi Ngheo

As comical as that headline may be, one might find it even more comical, and sad, that it’s actually true.

If you recall, Nguyen Phuong Uyen is the feisty and highly intelligent young democracy activist who, in 2013, was arrested by the Communist Party for speaking out against the VCP’s despotic, corrupt, and cowardly governance. One of my favorite messages from her was, “Đi chết đi, DCS VN bán nước,” which roughly translates to, “Kill yourselves, treasonous Vietnamese Communist Party.” She was released in August of 2013 due to international pressure, but was still terrorized by the Party thereafter. Well, she is still here, she is still fighting the commies, and she is bolder than ever.

Just over a week ago, the young activist and former prisoner of conscience Phuong Uyen met up with a few friends at a café somewhere in Saigon. In her possession was a newly published book titled Ước Mơ Của Thủy, which translates to The Dreams of Thủy, or Thủy’s Dreams in English. The book is written by a young author, Ms. Le Viet Ky Nhi, with the preface written by Ms. Phuong Uyen herself. For her involvement with the book, as well as for simply having the book on her person, Phuong Uyen was arrested again by VCP police and held captive for several days.

Ước Mơ Của Thủy is a very important piece of literature that is causing quite a stir within the communist dictatorship system. In only 100 pages, the author Le Viet Ky Nhi is able to present some very powerful ideas that are more than scaring the shit out of the communists. Both historical and political, the author starts out by examining the long and deep history of the Viet people, before moving on to contemporary times, and how the country needs to change to rebuild itself.

Naturally, the communists view this as a threat, and have banned the book from circulation in Vietnam.

And so, on December 13, 2015, while meeting a few friends at Chieu coffee shop, and carrying the book in her bag, Nguyen Phuong Uyen was apprehended by a gang of communist policemen and hauled off to the police station. According to Dan Lam Bao, she was detained for two days and one night by the communist police. She is still being monitored and harassed by authorities after her release.

Keep fighting the good fight, Uyen.

You’re not alone.

DMCS.

Sources:

Dan Lam Bao (Collaborator), Dan Lam Bao (CTV), Dan Lam Bao (VRNs and translated by Ngu Ngoc), Tin Mung Cho Nguoi Ngheo, United Press International, Youtube (VanHoaNBLV1)

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Viet Khang is Officially Home

Posted in Democracy Activists, Music, Society with tags , , , , on December 15, 2015 by Ian Pham

Viet Khang ReturnsPhoto via Radio Free Asia

It’s official, folks. Viet Khang, the renowned musician and democracy activist, has returned home safely to his family.

In his interview with Radio Free Asia, the musician explains his long trip back home after being released from communist imprisonment. Being provided a group to drive him, Viet Khang did not arrive home until 3-4pm, having left at 7am earlier that morning. He cites the fact that his drivers, taking their sweet time, had to stop for food and refreshments and whatnot, while he was anxious to get home and did not eat at all.

From the same interview, the musician explains that he will be under house arrest for the next 2-3 years, that he is very grateful for all the love and support that he has received throughout this time, and, that he has no regrets for the things that he has done. He is a musician who speaks from his heart, and he is a man who loves his country.

Welcome home, Brother Viet Khang.

Listen to the whole interview at Radio Free Asia.

Musician and Human Rights Activist Viet Khang Released From Prison Yesterday

Posted in Democracy Activists, Music, Politics, Society with tags , , , , on December 15, 2015 by Ian Pham

Viet KhangPhoto via We Heart Music

Yesterday in Vietnam, Viet Khang, the musician and human rights activist who has been imprisoned by the Vietnamese communist government since late 2011 because of his music, was finally released after four years in jail.

Brother Viet Khang, as many of us like to call him, wrote two songs in 2011: “Viet Nam Toi Dau (Where Is My Vietnam)?” and “Anh La Ai (Who Are You)?” Both of these tracks ask some serious questions about the Vietnamese Communist Party and their governance, namely, “why are you selling our nation to the Chinese?” and, “why are you suppressing and terrorizing our people for defending the country?”

As you may know, it is illegal to ask questions in Vietnam, especially if they bring up how stupid or cowardly the communist leadership is. And so, for his courage and the willingness to ask questions, Brother Viet Khang was arrested and sentenced to four years in jail.

Vietnam. Where asking a simple question such as, “why don’t we just defend our country?” can get you sentenced to four years in prison. But, I digress.

As of yesterday, December 14, 2015, it is reported that Viet Khang has finally been released from captivity. According to SBS, Viet Khang’s mother is awaiting his return home. There is not yet news of his safe arrival at this time of writing.

Let us all pray for Viet Khang and his family, and hope that the brave musician returns home to his family soon, if he is not home already.

A Commemoration of Viet Dzung: The Icon, The Activist, The Leader

Posted in Democracy Activists, Inspirational People, IV. Columns, Music, Politics, Society with tags , , , , on December 30, 2013 by Ian Pham

Viet DzungI know I won’t be able to do justice for the memory of Viet Dzung in just one blog article. He has done so much for the Vietnamese community, both abroad and domestically, that it would be impossible to capture the man’s greatness with so few words. Not only was Viet Dzung a philanthropist, he was also a leader of his community, and an entertainment icon beloved by almost all members of the Vietnamese community overseas.

The late musician was born in Saigon on September 8, 1958, when the Vietnam War was heating up. He came of age throughout this time period. By the time he was a young man, Viet Dzung left Vietnam following the Communist takeover, arriving in the United States in 1976.

During his time in America, Viet Dzung utilized his talents as a singer and songwriter, composing songs about his love for Vietnam and his longing for the country’s freedom. The young musician wrote music in both Vietnamese and English, and was interestingly good at writing country songs.

Viet Dzung StageIn the 1990’s, Viet Dzung gained popularity through his programs on Little Saigon Radio, and subsequently Radio Bolsa as well. Concurrently, Viet Dzung became the host of Truc Ho’s Asia Music program, making him a sensation among Vietnamese listeners and viewers. Viet Dzung’s prominence in the entertainment business has made him a Vietnamese icon.

Viet Dzung flourished in the entertainment business, but that is not the main reason he is so loved by everyone. The boundless admiration and respect that Viet Dzung commands stem from his selflessness, his devotion, and ingenuity as a leader of the Vietnamese community.

Mr. Dzung was very active in his community, volunteering in charity events, organizing many of his own, and teaching as a guest speaker at many local schools and youth shelters. He was also a prominent catalyst for the struggle for human rights. Viet Dzung played a key role in organizing many protests and awareness campaigns against the Communist Party. Moreover, Viet Dzung’s charisma and communication skills helped gain the attention of many politicians and business leaders in the U.S.

As a close friend and ally of Mr. Truc Ho, Viet Dzung played a prominent role with Truc Ho in planning and executing the countless human rights campaigns that we have witnessed over the past decade, but especially in just the last few years. Viet Dzung is a staple leader of the SBTN television Network, and has been a mentor to so many young professionals and emerging leaders throughout his lifetime.

Viet Dzung, 1958-2013It is for this reason, his willingness to give, and give, and give, all without asking for anything in return, that has gained him the love and admiration of so many Vietnamese overseas. It is for this reason that his death, two Fridays ago, on December 20, 2013, at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital, sent shockwaves throughout Vietnamese communities in the Western Hemisphere.

Viet Dzung was only 55 years old when he passed away. The cause of his death was a longtime heart ailment that finally overtook him. I think it is safe to say that with the loss of Mr. Viet Dzung, the people of Vietnam, overseas and within have just lost a great man. He gave us so much and changed the landscape so profoundly that it is still unclear the extent of his legacy. Thus, we must bid a warm and tearful farewell to one of the greatest examples of Vietnamese resilience and compassion. Bless his wonderful spirit.

Inside The Courtroom 2: Dinh Nguyen Kha’s Open War Against The Vietnamese Communist Party

Posted in Democracy Activists, Politics, Society with tags , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2013 by Ian Pham

Dinh Nguyen KhaToday, a second trial was held for Ms. Nguyen Phuong Uyen and her partner Dinh Nguyen Kha. Though the sentences have already been dealt, the two have apparently appealed the court’s ruling and successfully forced a second hearing. I’ve provided extensive coverage on Ms. Phuong Uyen already, but have yet to give much information on her partner, Mr. Dinh Nguyen Kha.

Just like Ms. Phuong Uyen, Dinh Nguyen Kha’s words are nothing short of extraordinary. On the same day that Ms. Phuong Uyen eloquently stated her position justifying her actions, Dinh Nguyen Kha stood before the panel of Vietnamese judges and declared openly his opposition against the Communist Party. With neither fear nor remorse, Kha made it clear that his actions were not against the country, but just against the Communist Party. Furthermore, he proclaimed that being patriotic was not a crime, and thus, standing against the Communist Party was definitely not a crime.

Because of the boldness of his remarks, Dinh Nguyen Kha was cut off by the judges even faster than Phuong Uyen was. Thus, even though Kha’s words are brief, they are nothing short of ferocious:

“Tôi trước sau vẫn là một người yêu nước, yêu dân tộc tôi. Tôi không hề chống dân tộc tôi, tôi chỉ chống đảng cộng sản. Mà chống đảng thì không phải là tội”.

This translates directly to:

“I, before and after, will always be a person who loves his country and his people. I have never stood against my people, I just stand against the Communist Party. And standing against the Party is not a crime.”

Dinh Nguyen Kha MuralDinh Nguyen Kha, along with Nguyen Phuong Uyen, is a member of Vietnam’s Patriotic Youth, known as Tuoi Tre Yeu Nuoc in Vietnamese. The actions of these two young individuals have effectively defined what Vietnam’s new generation of youth are capable of. Together, Kha and Uyen have created quite a stir with their stand against the Communist Party. Keep in mind though, that this organization is composed of more than just these two brave individuals. Viet Khang, the incredibly brave musician that was detained last year for his patriotic music, is also a member of TTYN. Currently, not much is known about this organization, besides the fact that they are patriotic, and that already, three of their members have selflessly stood against the Communist Party of Vietnam, and have been severely persecuted for their bravery.

Patriotic YouthThe Communist Party is currently coming down on Dinh Nguyen Kha’s family with much brutality. News have surfaced that Kha’s brother has been arrested by Communist police under the assumption that since Kha is a member of TTYN, his brother must too be a member. In typical VCP fashion, there was no evidence for his arrest, nor was there a lawyer or a fair trial. Kha’s brother is a shop owner, whose primary source of income comes from the selling of computers. The brothers not only support themselves, but must provide for their elderly mother and father as well. The Communist government confiscated all of the family’s assets, and is aiming to let the elderly members of Kha’s family starve. The government has also denied Kha’s parents the right to visit him in prison.

The trial of the two patriots Dinh Nguyen Kha and Nguyen Phuong Uyen should be wrapped up in Vietnam by now. I will try to keep you updated on the outcome as news continues to come out. For my people in Vietnam, stand tough. To all those inside the Patriotic Youth – Tuoi Tre Yeu Nuoc, keep fighting the good fight. In the end, it will be the brave and righteous that triumphs over the treacherous and cowardly. People of Vietnam, you will win.

Inside The Courtroom: The Courageous Words of Nguyen Phuong Uyen

Posted in Democracy Activists, Politics, Society with tags , , , , , , on July 23, 2013 by Ian Pham

Nguyen Phuong UyenIt’s about time we got to know one of Vietnam’s newest, and undeniably one of the boldest and courageous new dissidents thus far: Ms. Nguyen Phuong Uyen. She is a member of Vietnam’s underground movement, Toi Tre Yeu Nuoc, aka The Patriotic Youth. More interesting, in my opinion however, is that as an adolescent, she was a member of The Ho Chi Minh Youth, an organization designed by the Party to socialize, or more accurately, to indoctrinate young Vietnamese into following the ways of the Communist. As she grew older however, the more she learned. The more she learned, the more she realized that Communism, Ho Chi Minh, and the Party, are all complete trash. Uyen would go on to reject her old organization, and as a whole, to challenge the entire Communist Party of Vietnam.

Nguyen Phuong Uyen was detained by Communist police in June of 2013. Reasons for her arrest? Distributing leaflets calling on the all people of Vietnam to stand together against Chinese aggression in the eastern seas. One of the statements in her leaflet read:

“Tau khua, cut khoi Bien Dong!”

Which quite accurately translates to:

“Chinese scum, leave the Eastern Sea!”

As you can see, yet another Vietnamese patriot has been jailed by the Communist government simply because they were expressing love for their home country. I don’t know about you, but personally, I would think that anyone who expresses love for their country and rushes to its defense, without regard for their own well being, to be somewhat of a hero. However, because of a wide range of reasons that can be narrowed down to greed, corruption, and cowardice, the Communist Party clearly disagrees with me. If you think Phuong Uyen’s leaflet stunt was bold, wait until you see how she carries herself in court.

Phuong UyenThe courageous Uyen showed neither fear nor regret standing before the panel of Communist judges (yes, a panel of judges). She did not apologize for her actions, nor did she admit to any wrong-doing. What she did do was eloquently and courageously state her case, explaining that her actions were solely for her love of the country. The Chinese have escalated their attacks on Vietnamese fishermen in the Southeast Asia Sea as of late, and Uyen’s words are just one of many calling for the VCP to get out of their lazy chairs, put on some big boy shoes, and finally say something in defense of their own people. In regards to her actions, Uyen says that:

“Toi la sinh vien yeu nuoc. Neu phien toa hom nay, ket toi toi, thi nhung nguoi tre khat se so hai va khong con dam bao ve chu quyen cua dat nuoc… Neu mot sinh vien tuoi tre nhu toi ma bi ket an tu vi yeu nuoc, thi that su toi khong cam tam.”

Which, in English, means:

“I am a university student who loves her country. If today, the court finds me guilty, then the other young people will be afraid and not dare to defend the sovereignty of the country… If a young college student such as myself is found guilty because of patriotism, I will certainly not respect that.

Her words deeply touched the people in the Vietnamese courtroom, and left the prosecutors in a state of shock and awe. From what I can gather, a silence swept the room after these words were spoken, and even the judges were unable to conjure up a coherent response for a short period of time. The court would eventually conclude with a guilty verdict, though such a ruling is always predetermined. After all, it is just a show trial. However, Phuong Uyen would go on to make a closing statement against the wishes of the court. This statement, though she would plead for the safety of her family, would also contain some strong words for the Communist Party, and further put them to shame:

“Viec toi lam, toi chieu. Xin nha cam quyen dung lam kho de me hay gia dinh cua chung toi. Chung toi lam de thuc tinh moi nguoi truoc hiem hoa Trung Quoc xam luoc dat nuoc. Va cuoi cung, chung toi lam xuat phat tu tam long yeu nuoc nham chong cai xau, de lam cho xa hoi ngay cang tot dep, tuoi sang hon.”

Here, the English translation is:

“I accept what I have done. All I ask of the authorities is that they not make life difficult for my mother and our families. We did what we did to awaken the people in the face of a Chinese invasion to our nation. Lastly, our actions stem from the love of the country, and to combat the many problems that plague it, in order to make our society better and brighter.”

The court would not allow her to speak after that statement. I guess they couldn’t take the amount of shame brought about by her truthful words, which is typical of those pathetic Communists who call themselves leaders. Phuong Uyen would receive a hefty sentence along with her partner, Dinh Nguyen Kha. Along with house arrest, Ms. Phoung Uyen is looking at nearly a decade of incarceration, while Mr. Kha is facing 13 years.

If, for some reason, you still need more evidence that Nguyen Phuong Uyen is one brave, patriotic woman, here’s a picture that will further prove my point:

Uyen's Letter

The note on the top right was written in her own blood, and reads:

“Di chet di, Dang Cong San VN ban nuoc!”

Which I am delighted to translate, means:

“Kill yourselves, treasonous Communist Party of Vietnam!”

Yeah, she said that.

Before I conclude, it would also be interesting to inform you that Phuong Uyen’s leaflets did not display Vietnam’s red flag, but rather, the yellow flag with red stripes, reminiscent of Vietnam’s freedom fighting days. She also went out distributing miniature models of these flags to the people in the streets, along with her leaflets. Though she committed no real crimes, her actions, I argue, can be construed as the ultimate one finger salute to the waning VCP, making her one of the bravest and boldest new patriots that we’ve heard about so far. If there are more young people like her within Vietnam, which I am certain there are, then the Communists’ days are definitely numbered.

The New Dissidents, Vietnam’s New Hope

Posted in Democracy Activists, Politics, Society with tags , , , , , , , on June 1, 2013 by Ian Pham

ChongPhaNhaNuoc+CAcsvnIt has been an eventful month in Vietnam with regards to the freedom movement.  The situation is still bleak, as the Communist Party is still unwilling to improve on human rights, and the crackdowns are only getting harsher.  However, even with the continued brutality of the dictatorship, their is much to be optimistic about, for the indomitable spirit of the Vietnamese youth is just beginning to come to fruition.

In recent weeks, a series of crackdowns have permeated Vietnam, leading to a wide range of arrests all across the country.  Though this may be ordinary in the Communist state, the outcome of these arrests are anything but normal.  One very notable case, involving two young dissidents, Ms. Nguyen Phuong Uyen and Mr. Dinh Nguyen Kha, paints an extremely hopeful picture for the future of a Vietnam in need.

NguyenPhuongUyen-DinhNguyenKhaLike many before them, the two dissidents were detained by the Vietnam government, simply because of their patriotic sentiments in the face of Chinese aggression.  Following their arrests, the Communist Party would put the young woman and man on a show trial before slapping them with harsh jail terms.  At the show trial however, the captives would do something that has never been done before: Speak out publicly against the Vietnamese Communist Party, against the Chinese aggressors, and against the entire repressive regime.

With neither fear or remorse, Nguyen Phuong Uyen, a young university student, shamed the Communist Party for their cowardice, as well as their pathetic display against the invading Chinese.  Her eloquence and courage left the judge and jury dumbfounded, embarrassed by Ms. Uyen’s insight and brutal honesty.  Mr. Kha expressed similar sentiments, and was also unapologetic for his patriotism and denouncement of the Communist Party.

LogoTTVN-300x300As a result, the two are sentenced to excessive jail times.  Nguyen Phuong Uyen is faced with a 6-year jail term plus 3 years house arrest, while Dinh Nguyen Kha is hit with 10 years, with 3 years house arrest.  Uyen and Kha are both members of an underground movement in Vietnam who call themselves Tuoi Tre Yeu Nuoc, which translates to The Patriotic Youth.  Not much is known about them, but from the looks of things, they are not afraid of the Communist Party, nor are they content with sitting idly by while the Vietnamese Communists let the country slip closer and closer into the grips of Beijing.

I will work to keep you updated on the situation.  For now, it looks like there is a new generation of dissidents.  They are young, they are intelligent, and they are no longer afraid to stand face to face with the cowardly Party.  The Communists grow weaker with each passing day, and now, it is no longer a guarantee that they can keep the people down.