Archive for Censorship

Recent Crackdowns Of Vietnamese Activists

Posted in Democracy Activists, Politics, Society with tags , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2011 by Ian Pham

The Vietnamese authorities have heated up their crackdowns in recent weeks.  With the arrests of many Vietnamese activists who have risen to defend victims of the Communist government, human rights activism is steadily becoming a  recurring force that the government has to deal with.  Among the persecuted are four land-rights activists, a lawyer, and a college professor (pictured right).

The land-rights activists have taken up some cases in defence of individuals who have been victimized by the land grabbing Communist Party.  One high profile case involved families living in south Mekong Delta whose homes are being confiscated, stolen, by the Vietnamese government.  The four activists involved in this case are pastor Duong Kim Khai, activists Cao Van Tinh, Tran Thi Thuy, and Doan Thai Duyen Hai.

Also, Vietnamese lawyer Huynh Van Dong has been suspended from practicing law for taking part in the defence of human rights activists.  The Vietnamese government has found him “guilty” of contempt for the court, “disrespecting the law,” and his attempts to “degrade the credibility and offend the Communist Party of Vietnam.”  Huynh Van Dong also represented democracy activists Pham Van Thong and Tran Thi Thuy in their preliminary trials.

Last week, college professor Pham Minh Hoang was charged with “subversion” and spreading “propaganda against the state,” both of which are common charges for dissidents and democracy activists.  Pham Minh Hoang is a French educated Vietnamese returning home to help develop the country through education and knowledge.  However, Pham Minh Hoang’s qualifications have somehow become a threat to the government, so the professor/blogger has been sentenced to three years in jail by the ruling Communist Party.

The crackdowns seem to be more frequent in Vietnam as of late.  Whether the democracy movement is gaining momentum or the Party has just spruced up their security forces is yet to be determined.  In any case, it is apparent that democracy is becoming more understood as a necessity in Vietnam.  There are many facing jail time for their dauntless activism of human rights and democracy, a movement that will only grow stronger with time.

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Reasons Why the Jasmine Revolutions Can’t Reach Asia… Yet

Posted in Politics, Society with tags , , , , , , on March 30, 2011 by Ian Pham

For a time, it was perceived that the power of the Jasmine Revolutions would somehow find its way to Asia.  Unfortunately, this has proven to be more optimism than reality.  How is it that the countries in the Middle East and North Africa are able to stage their peaceful revolution while Vietnam and China seem nearly unshaken by this ordeal?  There are several factors that have contributed to the prevalence of the totalitarian regimes.  The biggest reasons why the Communists have the upper hand lie in the Communists’ revolutionary expertise, the Confucian orthodoxy of Asian society, and the peoples’ vague knowledge of true democracy.

The most obvious obstacle of all stems from the brutality and sophistication of the Communist system.  These people have descended from the most brutal of dictators like Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh, and Joseph Stalin.  Born and bred in the revolutionary arts, they are systematically trained to brainwash, capture, and eliminate anyone or anything that poses a threat to the Party.  In a matter of speaking, the Communists have trained their men to think like robots.  Obey the government, and nothing else.  The massacre at Tiananmen Square in 1989 should show how far the Communists will go to cling to power.  They killed their own people, and are prepared to do it again.

Another very strong reason why the autocrats have been so strong in Vietnam and China comes from the Confucian aspect of Asian society.  The teachings of Confucius always preached the greatness of the emperor and how the people should submit to him, no matter what the cost.  And because the people of Vietnam and China followed these teachings more than 2000 years, it is enshrined in both cultures that the government goes unchallenged.  The Communist leaders are viewed as the new emperors, and this Confucian aspect of Asian society stands in the way of a true popular uprising in both countries.

Lastly, having never experienced the true potential of democracy, the people of Vietnam and China have no clear foundation to establish themselves.  It is true that South Vietnam was once democratic, but that generation is slowly withering away.  Some intellectuals studying abroad have learned about democracy, but they have been shut out and silenced by the overbearing strength of the Communist system.  Furthermore, the northern half of Vietnam has never experienced democracy, and are even less capable of conceptualizing the idea of democracy.  They think Communism is all there is, and is what always will be.

The brutality and ruthlessness of the Communist system has created a powerful barrier, preventing the people from rising up.  The teachings of Confucius, which teaches the people to respect and submit to the emperor, reflected today by the Communist Party, helps blur the fact that these governments are completely incompetent.  Finally, even if the people of Vietnam and China were to stage their revolutions successfully, they need to learn more about democracy in order to establish a sustainable foundation.  Before these issues get revolved, a popular uprising in Asia is highly unlikely.

That being said, nothing is written in stone.  Just because the country is faced with these challenges, it doesn’t mean that all hope is lost.  The old Communists may have found ways to suppress the population, but that does not mean that these methods will work forever.  One courageous act can change the course of history, and in the end, the fate of the country will lie in the hands of the people.  The non-intellectuals of Vietnam and China may not know about democracy, but in this age of endless information, this situation can be fixed very quickly.  Those who follow the teachings of Confucius should take a second look at the “Mandate of Heaven,” and finally see that the current regime has lost all legitimacy, and that it is time for a change.  To the people of Asia, to the people of the world, press on.  Never give up.

Political Cartoon: Dominoes

Posted in Art, Political Cartoons, Politics with tags , , , on March 27, 2011 by Ian Pham

Hey there dear readers, this blog has taken a hit in the past few weeks.  So many things have been going on, making it difficult to put out new blog posts.  I thought that the worst of it is over, but surprise!  There is still so much going on, making it hard to stay focused.  Well, life is full of surprises, and that is something that will never change.  Thus, I will continue to blog and try my best to keep you updated and entertained in the days to come.

This is a political cartoon that is proving to be true in the Middle East and North Africa, with the potential to spread even to the countries of Asia.  However, it is unfortunate that the momentum has lost its steam along these lines, for the Communists have carefully prepared for the coming wave.  China and Vietnam have been successful in preventing the Jasmine Revolution from hitting their respective frontiers, blocking the flow information and bitterly smashing any signs of dissent from the population.

Even so, I am optimistic that the change sweep across Asia as it is doing in the Middle East.  The difference here is that the  Communist system has established a monopoly in every aspect of the country, so it is without a doubt that any challenge to this extreme totalitarian regime will take much longer t0 develop.  That being said, the days of the Communists  are numbered.

This is especially true in Vietnam’s case.  The countless betrayals of the  Vietnamese Communist Party continues to erode their legitimacy, making them weaker than their counterparts in China.  The stupid governing of the Vietnamese Communist Party is slowly pushing their people to the breaking point, and ever closer to a real revolution.  The same can be said in China, though they are in a more advantageous position over their own people than the Vietnamese Communists.

So for these reasons, the amazing accomplishments that have created a domino effect in the Middle East and North Africa has much potential in reaching Asia.  But because the Communists have such a tight grip on the people, it will take longer for the movements to cultivate.  Even so, the people of Asia want democracy.  Vietnam, China, Burma, and all the other dictatorships are fighting for their very existence, and even one spark can change the course of history.  Let’s fight for it together.

Editor’s Note: One year and one day ago, March 26, 2010, Freedom For Vietnam was established.  It is amazing how many readers have found their way here in such a short amount of time.  Thank you for visiting, and we hope that you all continue to enjoy what we have to give.  Cheers!

The Truth Behind Vietnam’s Economic Growth

Posted in Economics, Politics, Society with tags , , , , , on February 25, 2011 by Ian Pham

Here in the west, analysts like to talk about Vietnam’s rising economy and wealth, but what they fail to see is the plight of the Vietnamese people at the hands of the VCP.  It is true that Vietnam is a fast growing economy, with an annual GDP increase of 7-8%.  However, one should look at the life of the average citizen to get the whole picture.  The Communist Party will do whatever it takes to sustain the country’s economic growth, even at the expense of the Vietnamese people.

Land seizure has become an increasingly serious issue in Vietnam today, as the Party feels no remorse for taking land from the people to further enrich themselves.  In the countryside, they capture the lands of the farmers to establish new plants and factories, polluting the waters and destroying their livelihood.  In the cities, confiscate houses and homes in efforts to carry out new construction projects, even if it means leaving the residents homeless.

The incident with Pham Thanh Son this week is just one example of many discontented citizens under the Communist regime today.  Only days ago, a small gathering of about 500 people came together to protest the Vietnamese Communist Party and their corruption.  Amazingly enough, these citizens have no idea about what’s happening in the Middle East and North Africa right now because government has censored the news so heavily.

Even with all this censorship, the people in Vietnam can still see that there is something wrong with their government.  If only they knew what was happening all around the Middle East right now, they will surely have the fire to invoke their own Jasmine Revolution in Vietnam.  The Vietnamese people are waiting for a change, the only thing they need now is the information.  The government knows this, which is why they’re censoring the internet with such extreme vigour.  The clock is ticking though, the change will come.

Democratic Protests Barely Reaches China

Posted in Politics, Society with tags , , , , , , on February 21, 2011 by Ian Pham

The democratic movement, sweeping through North Africa and the Middle East, has actually made it to China, well almost.  Less than two days ago, the Chinese Communist Party nearly faced their own wave of protests.  Unfortunately, the Chinese government acted quickly to crush the fledgling movement.  As a result, much of the gatherings and demonstrations were quelled, long before it gained momentum.

Initially planned were 13 protest locations stationed throughout the country.  It is not known who was behind the planning of the protests, as it was organized over Chinese social networking sites.  Nonetheless, the Chinese government moved swiftly to make sure that this event did not get out of control.  Social network sites were shut down, texts were blocked, other things of that nature occurred.  Several people were arrested and detained by police, but the government did not face significant opposition.

What just happened in China is a small event.  Some people were taken in by the police, a few are actually still missing, but most of the people were sent home or turned away.  Many of those involved were actually not aware of the situation and were just curious of all the commotion.  In the end, the Communist Party put down the calls for a “Jasmine Revolution” extremely quickly, way before things fell out of their grasp.

One should understand the differences between the Communist system and the strongmen the Middle East.  What sets the Communists apart from Hosni Mubarak’s regime is the Communists’ extreme emphasis on surveillance, police, brainwashing, and controlling the flow of information.  The Communists came to prominence from revolutionary ideals, becoming experts in recognizing and repressing revolutionary forces.  These people were born from revolution, specially trained to anticipate, manage, and crush an impending revolution before it even occurs.  If the Communists are good for anything, it’s dealing with revolution.

Even so, the people can still prevail.  Just because it is relatively harder to spark a revolution in China and Vietnam does not mean that it’s impossible.  At the end of the day, the people decide what is best for the country, and no amount of gunpowder can ever change that.  When the battle for freedom falls on the hearts and souls of the citizens, guns will become useless.  If people are willing to die for their country, a gunshot will mean nothing.  Tunisia has shown us, Egypt has shown us, and now Libya will soon show us that under any regime, the will of the people reign supreme.

Goodbye to Another Journalist in Vietnam

Posted in Politics, Society with tags , , , , , , on February 20, 2011 by Ian Pham

Several weeks ago, Jan. 20, veteran reporter Le Hoang Hung was brutally attacked and left to die inside of his home near Ho Chi Minh City.  The intruders broke into Hung’s house, doused him with gasoline while he was still sleeping, and lit the man on fire.  Though his family managed to save him from the burns, Le Hoang Hung would die in the hospital, ten days later.

It is very possible that Hung’s attack was a result of his journalism, which was critical of the Vietnamese government and the ongoing corruption within the Party.  His colleagues say that he covered a wide range of topics in his works, including land disputes, the police, and corruption among government officials and business people.  Many believe that the attack was retribution for bringing their shames to light.

So much for more freedom of the press.  I’ve previously said that actions speak louder than words, now let’s look at what the Communists have done.  They said they were going to protect journalists, but guess what’s been happening.  Though the murderers were never brought to justice, one can easily tell that the government had a hand in this.  Even if they didn’t orchestrate themselves, I’m sure they were the ones who knowingly allowed it to happen.

Communists leaders don’t like to get their hands dirty.  Instead, they rely on gangs and criminal organizations to do their dirty work for them.  It’s a sad fact, but the Communist Party likes to use gang members as scapegoats to carry out their ends.  They condemn the actions in public, but behind closed doors, they’re getting what they want.  It’s four weeks later and the case is still unsolved.  What are the Communist police doing about all this?  Well, they’re looking into it.

Communist Countries Censor Egypt

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , on February 8, 2011 by Ian Pham

As forecasted, both China and Vietnam are censoring all happenings in and around Egypt in frantic efforts to keep their people from finding out.  The events taking place in Egypt, not to mention Tunisia and elsewhere in the Middle East, are quite revolutionary in nature.  This is something that the Communists are extremely afraid of and will try everything to keep their people from mimicking.

The governments of Vietnam and China have censored all searches that include “Egypt” as a keyword.  According to Newsweek, China is regards the events happening in the Middle East as “a continuation of colored revolutions that toppled authoritarian post-Soviet regimes in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan.”  It is obvious that this reasoning worries the Communists, as the global impacts of these events may lead to the toppling of their respective regimes as well.

If the people of Asia realized what was happening in Egypt and other parts of the Middle East, they would surely learn from these events and turn against the Communists.  The Communists of Vietnam and China understand this very well.  The chance of their populations rising up against the Party terrifies the Communist leaders, which is why they are doing everything they can to keep their people from making this dream a reality.  Information is a powerful weapon.