Archive for Corruption

Protesting the Party Through Self Immolation

Posted in Politics, Society with tags , , , , , , , on February 23, 2011 by Ian Pham

Several days ago, February 20, Pham Thanh Son, a Vietnamese man, set himself on fire outside Da Nang City’s municipal office in protest of the government’s confiscation of his home.  Son is a Vietnamese engineer who, on many occasions, has tried to prevent the Vietnamese government from taking the land and property away from him and his family.  Sadly, his pleas have fallen on deaf ears, and it seems that he has no way out.

Son’s land has been unconditionally seized by the Communist government to make space for infrastructure and construction.  The Communist Party could care less if what they’re doing results in the homelessness of their own people.  All they care about is pushing their own agendas, eagerly waiting for the benefits that follow.  At this point, the VCP is only interested in profits, even if it means taking away the livelihood of defenceless people like Pham Thanh Son and his family.

It is sad that the only way Son could draw attention to the issue of the government’s corruption is through the sacrifice of his own life.  Pham Thanh Son set himself on fire to show the world how the Vietnamese Communists have become the enemy of the people, taking land form the common citizens for the sake of enriching themselves.  The seizing of Pham’s property falls under a larger government agenda, the construction of Da Nang City’s ‘Cau Rong’, or ‘Dragon Bridge.’

This is another example of corruption within the Communist Party.  The government took away Pham Thanh Son’s house and could care less what happens to him and his family.  Police in Vietnam described what happened to Son as a typical motorcycle accident, while authorities claimed that he had mental issues.  However, my experience with Communists tells me that both of these claims are highly unlikely.  If this were true, why would they surround the deceased’s house with undercover police, prevent his family from haveing visitors?

An incident similar to this had taken place before, almost fifty years ago.  In 1963, the American media reported a major incident where a Buddhist monk, by the name of Thich Quang Duc, engulfed himself in flames to protest Ngo Dinh Diem’s government.  Over the past decade however, crucial evidence about the incident has emerged, indicating that the Viet Cong played a major hand in the monk’s actions, orchestrating that event to damage the Diem government.  It is ironic now, that someone has decided to burn himself to protest against them.  Only this time, it is unquestionably clear who the bad guys are.

Pham Thanh Son’s actions represent the feeling of many other people in Vietnam right now.  The Communist government continues to abuse their power and disregard the suffering of the people of Vietnam.  They have betrayed their people once again, and doing so with blatant disregard for both domestic and international law.  What can this mean for the VCP?  Democratic revolutions are erupting all across the world.  Even China, Vietnam’s gargantuan neighbor, has gotten a taste of it.  If the VCP want to keep digging their own graves and push their people towards breaking point, the time will come when they have to pay for it all.

Pictures and information about Pham Thang Son’s incident provided by Duy Hoang and Global Voices.

Acknowledging Corruption Now, So What?

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , on January 15, 2011 by Ian Pham

Prospective President Truong Tan Sang made a statement the other day about how senior members of the Communist Party “lack morality and example in lifestyle,” according to CBS News and The Associated Press.  This means that Sang is willing to admit that the VCP has a corruption problem, which is usually a good thing in most cases.  The question now is what he plans to do about it?

Acknowledging that the VCP is corrupted shows that a change may be possible from within.  However, one should not get their hopes up just yet.  It is true that the first step to curing a problem is admitting it, but one should keep in mind that this is only the first step.  Communist have gone back on their words too many times in the past, history has shown this.  Therefore, they should not be trusted, at least not until real results are confirmed and verified.

One should recall Nguyen Tan Dung’s words when he became Prime Minister of the VCP five years ago.  He also pointed out that corruption was a major problem in Vietnam and wanted to do something about it.  Look how things turned out with him, Mr. Billionaire, never lifting an honest finger to acquire his wealth.  Who knows, maybe he actually wanted to end corruption, but after he started getting free money, he just shut his mouth.  The motive is debatable, but the result is not.  He is definitely corrupted now.

Some might find it even more disillusioning to know that Nong Duc Manh, the outgoing General Secretary of the VCP, also made a statement condemning corruption.  The reason for this disillusionment stems from the fact that Manh himself is the main source of corruption in the Communist Party.  Whatever he blames on the Party all started with him, as he is the top ranking member of the entire group.  He’s trying to avoid being held accountable, that is the only reason he speaks against corruption.

I’m not telling everyone to dismiss Truong Tan Sang’s words altogether.  What I really want to do is remind everyone that actions speak louder than words, especially when it comes to Communists.  South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu once warned his people, “don’t listen to what a Communist says, but rather, look at what a Communist does.”  This is a great statement, and a perfect approach to dealing with Communist propaganda.  Only time will show their true intentions.

Poverty In Vietnam Today and How the Communists Lied

Posted in Economics, Politics, Society with tags , , , , , on January 5, 2011 by Ian Pham

This is probably one of the most obvious observation about the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, since I’ve been making numerous references to these problems through many of my posts.  However, I will put it all out here and go into deeper detail about how the Communists lied to the Vietnamese people and why the Communist ideology is no better than what you flush down the toilet every morning.

What did the Communists promise to the people?  Happiness, utopia, a worker’s paradise, that’s what.  Well, let’s just look at what life in Vietnam is like, just to be sure if they’ve followed through on any of their promises.  One of the key points in Marxist doctrine is the redistribution of wealth and common ownership among the population.  I’m not saying that’s the smartest idea, though that was what the people believed in.

According to Thanh Nien Daily, 38% of people in Hanoi and 59% in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) are not covered by Vietnam’s social security system.  27% of young people have not completed high school education, and many teenaged people are not even enrolled in school.  The average income per month for a Hanoi resident is about $119 US, while residents in Saigon make approximately $125 US per month.

Furthermore, many families living in the countryside do not even have access to clean drinking water or adequate sanitation facilities.  Much of the rivers and lakes in the rural areas have been contaminated by pollution from big city factories and government mining projects.  The residents of these regions have no choice but to live off of this dirty water.  Needless to say, many folks from Vietnam’s rurality have gotten severely ill, even fatally ill, from drinking this contaminated water.  Many who suffer from drinking the spoiled waters are only small children.

Extreme poverty in the country, contrasted with the staggering wealth of the Vietnamese Communist Party, and one could see that the Communist ideology as a whole is truly a big pile of garbage.  There is no equality in Vietnam, there is little happiness in Vietnam, and there is definitely no worker’s paradise in Vietnam.  How can Vietnam be a worker’s paradise when the Party reaps the all the benefits, content with leaving a large part of the population without jobs or homes?

It doesn’t matter what they call themselves, Marxists-Leninists, Communists, Reformed Socialists, or even the contradictory title of Red Capitalists.  Their names do not matter, but their actions surely do.  Everything the Communists have done within the last 35 years have damaged the country in ways that may take decades to recover from.  Even if they continue to brainwash the people of Vietnam and terrorize them into believing that they’re living in a worker’s paradise, no amount of terror will ever make it come true.

Examining Economic Growth in Vietnam

Posted in Economics, Politics with tags , , , , , on December 29, 2010 by Ian Pham

Analysts often observe the increasing economic growth of Vietnam, pointing out the country’s expansion in the workforce and international trade.  It seems good on the surface, right?  To most liberal democracies, a growing economy and increased productivity usually means a better quality of life for the citizens and the country as a whole.  However, the situation in Vietnam is not so simple.

There is a major problem arising in attempting to measure economic growth in Communist Vietnam: corruption.  According to the New York Times, Vietnam ranks 116th on the Transparency International Corruption Index (TICI). This poor rating on the TICI means that the country is still too shady a place for foreign investor to conduct big business deals.  Therefore, even though Vietnam is starting to become a more attractive place for business people, many still question the country’s ability to protect investors.

Statistics and investors aside, let’s examine how the corruption impacts the people.  Even though the economy of Vietnam may be on the rise, the majority of the country’s profits tend to flow into the pockets of the VCP.  The top leaders in the Political Bureau of the Communist Party are insanely wealthy.  Nguyen Tan Dung, the Prime Minister of Vietnam, is a very rich man with a hefty bank account holding more than a billion dollars.  He’s not a business man, he’s not an entrepreneur, where does his wealth come from?

It appears Vietnam has become a commodity in recent years that many foreign countries are considering doing business with.  The population is currently 87 million people, foreign investment is on the rise, and many consider Vietnam a good alternate to markets in China.  However, the country is still riddled with problems.  Vinashin, a major state-owned shipping company worth billions of dollars, went bankrupt just several months ago, Bauxite mining still exists, and let’s not forget about Paracel and Spratly and the fishermen in the Southeast Asia Sea.

Vietnam has some very real opportunities for major economic growth and development, I acknowledge that.  However, they can only be utilized if the leaders wake up and fix the detrimental problems that plague the country today.  The only way for Vietnam to achieve true economic stability and growth is if the old problems were properly handled.  Purge the government of corruption, end the Bauxite projects, judge workers based on talent and skill rather than elegance to the Party, and take back Paracel and Spratly.  Only when the VCP gain the courage to address these issues can real progress be achieved.

*FYI: This is Freedom For Vietnam’s 100th post!  Best wishes to all you readers as 2010 comes to a close.  We will continue to fight in the name of freedom and democracy on behalf of everyone oppressed by dictatorships all around the world.  Thanks for visiting!  See you in 2011!