Archive for Human Rights

What is Vietnamese Republicanism? An Introduction

Posted in Announcements, Art, Modern History, Opinions, Politics, Society with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2017 by Ian Pham

Vietnamese Republicanism

Image by Ian Pham/Freedom For Vietnam

Editor’s Note: This article was first posted on Facebook late last night, on May 23, 2017. Expect much more in-depth discussions on this subject in the very near future. In the meantime, please read, comment, and share. The short-term objective is to disseminate this information quickly, and to reach as many people, inside and outside of Vietnam as possible. Communism has been destroying Vietnam for far too long. It’s time we started changing that. Thank you for reading, and thank you for the continued support.

Cheers,

Ian Pham

P.S. Please visit, ‘like,’ and ‘share’ the Vietnamese Republicanism Facebook page, and it’s Vietnamese counterpart, Chủ Nghĩa Cộng Hòa Việt Nam.

Vietnamese Republicanism is a political ideology. It is based on the three founding principles of Democracy, Human Rights, and National Defense, and its goal is to destroy Communism in Vietnam, bring freedom to the nation and people of Vietnam, and establish a liberal democratic Republic, of the Vietnamese people, by the Vietnamese people, and for the Vietnamese people.

The reason for the creation of this ideology is simple. Currently, Vietnam is in serious trouble. Never before, in over 2000 years, has Vietnam ever been so close to extinction and extermination. A change needs to happen in Vietnam, the thinking of the Vietnamese people who have been affected by Communism needs to change, and this is where Vietnamese Republicanism comes in. Vietnamese Republicanism is an ideology of change. Vietnamese Republicanism is an ideology of strength, progress, and resilience. And, at its core, Vietnamese Republicanism is a full-on attack on the cowardly, corrupted, and treasonous ideology of Communism.

As we speak, the Communist Party of Vietnam is willingly handing over the Vietnamese nation to the Chinese invaders, allowing Chinese people to freely enter and live in Vietnam without visas or paperwork, and permitting them to steal Vietnamese jobs, abuse Vietnamese citizens, and disrespect the Vietnamese heritage and way of life. Evil Chinese corporations such as Formosa, Lee & Man, and Bauxite are wreaking havoc and devastation across Vietnamese land, poisoning the waters, wiping out the food supply, and slowly starving, infecting, and killing the people of Vietnam, little by little. In the long run, millions of Vietnamese people will die as a result of these deliberate actions committed by these Chinese corporations. Moreover, the mining operations of these Chinese companies continue to devastate the Vietnamese environment, Vietnamese trees continue to be cut down in staggering numbers, and more broadly, Vietnamese forests, highlands, oceans, and vegetation are being blatantly destroyed by these Chinese corporations. All of these atrocities are part of a wider, diabolical, and evil plan by the Chinese government in Beijing to slowly and quietly eradicate the Vietnamese people. Instead of deploying weapons of war, the Chinese government is carrying out environmental terrorism against the Vietnamese people, as part of a broader Chinese operation of silent genocide against the Vietnamese people. Adding to the peril and humiliation is the fact that all of these evil Chinese schemes have been, and continue to be permitted by the Communist Party of Vietnam, who have already surrendered themselves over to the Chinese invaders.

In the seas, Chinese military personnel have been killing Vietnamese fishermen for decades, and continue to do so with impunity, without a single word of protest from the cowardly Communist Party of Vietnam. Furthermore, Beijing continues to try imposing the Chinese language into Vietnamese schools, and attempts to force the teaching of Chinese history into these same Vietnamese schools, all in an attempt to replace the heritage of the Vietnamese people in our own country. Thus far, the slavish Communist Party of Vietnam has been unsuccessful in pushing the cultural cleansing agenda of their Chinese masters, but they continue to try, and if we don’t stop them, eventually they will succeed.

In short, Vietnam is in serious danger, and if we don’t act now, Armageddon may soon be upon us.

In order for us to preserve and protect our Vietnamese heritage and our Vietnamese nation, we must change the way we think about ourselves as Vietnamese people, and we must change the way we think about our Vietnamese nation. This changing of thought, this changing of vision, and this changing of aspiration, is the first thing that Vietnamese Republicanism is set out to do.

As Vietnamese people, we must understand that we are exceptional. As citizens of the Vietnamese nation, we must understand that the Vietnamese nation is exceptional. First and foremost, it is the goal of Vietnamese Republicanism to make Vietnamese people everywhere, inside and outside of Vietnam understand that the Vietnamese people are an exceptional people, and that the Vietnamese nation is an exceptional nation.

For nearly 80 years, Communism has destroyed the spirit of the Vietnamese people, and disgraced the proud, rich and noble history of the Vietnamese nation. Communism has made the Vietnamese people believe that we are slaves, that we are weak, that we are insignificant, that we are inferior. This is the mindset of the Communist Party of Vietnam, and this is the mindset that the Communist Party has been forcing on the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people, the Vietnamese youth, for nearly one century. It is this mentality that made possible the current Chinese incursion into Vietnam. It is this mentality that makes the Vietnamese people passive, apathetic, and meek in the face of the Chinese invasion. It is this mentality that has made it possible for the Chinese to walk into Vietnamese land, shit on the Vietnamese dinner table, and insult the sacred traditions of the Vietnamese nation.

Communism, and the Communist Party of Vietnam, has destroyed the dignity, pride, and hope of the Vietnamese people. Communism has disgraced the thousands years’ history of Vietnam, and the ancient, sacred traditions of the Vietnamese people. Communism is a stain, a scourge, and a disease to Vietnam. Communism must be destroyed, along with the Communist Party of Vietnam, and all of its members. The destruction of Communism, the Communist Party, and all of its members, is one of the major objectives of Vietnamese Republicanism.

As a show of fairness and good will, Vietnamese Republicanism recognizes that there are some within the Communist Party of Vietnam who secretly hate the Communist Party, wish to abandon the Communist Party, hate Communism, and wish to abandon Communism. Vietnamese Republicanism encourages these members to forsake and abandon the Communist Party of Vietnam, forsake and abandon Communism, and to embrace and join the Vietnamese Republican cause. Vietnamese Republicanism welcomes anyone who believes in the Vietnamese people, the Vietnamese nation, and the principles of Democracy, Human Rights, and National Defense. Therefore, Vietnamese Republicanism is willing to forgive those who wish to repent for their sins and join the Vietnamese Republican movement.

Communism is an ideology of cowardice.
Vietnamese Republicanism is an ideology of courage.

Communism is an ideology of treason.
Vietnamese Republicanism is an ideology of patriotism.

Communism is an ideology of slavery.
Vietnamese Republicanism is an ideology of freedom.

It is for this reason that I encourage everyone to reject Communism, and choose Vietnamese Republicanism to pave the way for Vietnam’s future.

Where Communism says cower in the face of Chinese aggression, Vietnamese Republicanism says stand tall in the face of Chinese aggression, and fight in the face of Chinese aggression.

Where Communism says to forget the greatness of the Vietnamese people, Vietnamese Republicanism says remember the greatness of the Vietnamese people. Not only that, but Vietnamese Republicanism says to be proud of the greatness of the Vietnamese people, to build on the greatness of the Vietnamese people, and dare to dream of creating the greatest nation that the world has ever seen, an exceptional Vietnamese Republic, a shining city on the hill, built on the will, the heart, and the greatness of the Vietnamese people, its rich history, and its ancient lineage.

It is time to end the failed experiment of Communism, and punish the Communist Party of Vietnam for all of their crimes against the nation of Vietnam, the people of Vietnam, and the sacred traditions of Vietnam. To accomplish this goal of removing Communism from the Vietnamese consciousness, and expelling the Communist Party of Vietnam from their tyrannical, treasonous, and dictatorial rule over Vietnam, I put forward the superior ideology of Vietnamese Republicanism as a starting point, a foundation for change in restoring the greatness of the Vietnamese nation, and then exceeding that greatness to unparalleled heights.

Vietnamese Republicanism is an ideology founded on the principles of Democracy, Human Rights, and National Defense. The flag of Vietnamese Republicanism is yellow, with three stars at its center, and three stripes above the stars. The three stars at the center of the Vietnamese Republican flag represent the three principles of Democracy, Human Rights, and National Defense, while the three stripes above represent the former Republic of Vietnam, a nation that existed on the principles of Fatherland, Honor, and Duty.

The former Republic of Vietnam was a free nation, a proud nation, and a courageous nation that kept its people safe at all costs. Its legacy remains a guiding light in these dark times, reminding the Vietnamese people that one time in modern history, there was a Vietnamese nation that was strong, proud, and free. The three stripes, which represent the North, Central, and South of all of Vietnam, represent the entire Republic, of the Vietnamese people, by the Vietnamese people, and for the Vietnamese people. These three stripes stand as the true symbol of the Vietnamese nation, and by including the symbol of this Republic on the new Vietnamese Republican flag, Vietnamese Republicanism recognizes and honors the proud and noble legacy, as well as the righteous ideals, and all of the heroes of the former Republic of Vietnam.

The yellow of the Vietnamese Republican flag represents prosperity, optimism, and the golden skin of the Vietnamese people. This yellow signifies the goals, aspirations, and pride of the Vietnamese people, and the endless potential of the Vietnamese nation. Furthermore, yellow is the color of anti-Communism. Yellow is feared by the Communists, and hated by the Communists. In embodying the color yellow, Vietnamese Republicanism declares proudly to be an ideology that despises Communism, rejects Communism, and seeks to destroy Communism.

As for the selection of Democracy, Human Rights, and National Defense as the three founding principles of Vietnamese Republicanism, the explanations are as follows.

Democracy gives the Vietnamese people the choice to select their leaders in free, fair, and frequent national elections. The democratic system allows multiple political parties to organize and compete in national elections, which take place every four years. Representative democracy, which is the most popular and common form of democracy in the free world, allows for citizens of different districts across the country to elect representatives and senators to represent them in the making of laws, the operation of the country, and to be their voice in government. Furthermore, representative democracy allows for the citizens of the nation to select their president, the commander-in-chief of the nation, in these free, fair, and frequent national elections. In a democracy, the job of the president is to serve the people, not himself or herself, or his or her party. Thus the mandate of the president depends solely on the will of the Vietnamese people, who decide the right to govern of their president through the power of their voice and their vote. In a democracy, it is the people and the nation that comes first, not the party. The freedom to choose the leader of the nation, the choice of many different political parties with different visions, views, and platforms, and the power to replace any leader and government that fails to perform its duties to the people, are all reasons why democracy is superior to one-party rule, and why Vietnamese Republicanism is superior to Communism.

Human Rights ensure the protection of every single Vietnamese citizen from cruel and unfair treatment by the government. In a nation of human rights, the government cannot enter the house or home of a citizen without a warrant or his or her explicit consent, and cannot touch or inspect his or her private property without a warrant or his or her explicit consent. Nor can the government, in a human rights nation, be able to arrest, jail, or search a citizen without a warrant or probable cause. In a human rights nation, the citizen is innocent until proven guilty, and protected from fear, terror, and violence at the hands of the police and the government. Human rights nations ensure the fair, just, and equal treatment of all citizens, regardless of their race, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliations, financial status, and other such differences. Human rights nations guarantee the inalienable fundamental rights and dignity of every citizen, and guarantee the fundamental freedoms such as freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and freedom of association. Vietnamese Republicanism envisions a society with all of these freedoms and rights, which is another reason why Vietnamese Republicanism is superior to the brutal, corrupted, and evil ideology of Communism.

National Defense is the defense of the nation, both from external threats, and internal threats of any kind. Vietnamese Republicanism believes that national defense is essential to the survival and success of the nation. The principle of national defense stipulates that the safety, security, and territorial integrity of the nation and its people are of utmost importance to the survival and success of the nation. No matter in weakness or in strength, in sickness or in health, the defense of the nation must always be a priority for the people of Vietnam, from the president, to the armed forces, to the common citizen. In terms of national defense, Vietnamese Republicanism believes in the development of a large, powerful, and advanced military whose sole duty is to serve and protect its nation and its people. What is more, Vietnamese Republicanism believes in fighting back against Chinese aggression, pushing back against Chinese disrespect, and identifying China as the major threat to the existence and survival of the Vietnamese nation. Furthermore, in terms of national defense, through the eyes of Vietnamese Republicanism, Vietnam is not afraid of China, and shall be willing and able to fight China, confront China, and defeat China at any time, in any place, by any means. Where Communism cowers in the face of Chinese aggression, Vietnamese Republicanism stands and fights in the face of Chinese aggression. Furthermore, while Communism accepts defeat before the fight even begins, Vietnamese Republicanism seeks to win the fight, and doing so conclusively and unapologetically. In addition, in terms of national defense, Vietnamese Republicanism believes in the ceasing of operations, expelling, and punishing of all of those evil Chinese and foreign companies that are currently wreaking havoc, misery, and destruction all across Vietnam. Whether the threats are China, or anyone else, anywhere else, inside or outside of Vietnam, the principle of national defense commands that these threats be confronted and eliminated in the name of safety, security, and sovereignty of the Vietnamese nation and its people. Vietnamese Republicanism places priority on the safety and security of the Vietnamese people, and defends the territory and sovereignty of the Vietnamese nation. This principle, once again, is why Vietnamese Republicanism is superior to the cowardly and treasonous ideology of Communism.

This is Vietnamese Republicanism, and stated throughout are the goals and aspirations of Vietnamese Republicanism.

Vietnamese Republicanism believes in the greatness of the Vietnamese people, and the endless potential of the Vietnamese nation. Vietnam has all the capabilities to be a strong, free, and prosperous nation. Without a doubt, Vietnam has the potential to be a superpower nation on the world stage. Vietnam has the power to be whatever it desires to be. The only thing standing in the way between Vietnam and greatness is Communism. For this reason, Communism must be eliminated, and Vietnamese Republicanism has the power to make it happen.

It is the goal of Vietnamese Republicanism to destroy Communism, the Communist Party of Vietnam, and punish all of its members for the crimes they have committed against the Vietnamese nation and its people. To accomplish this goal, we must change the way of thinking of every Vietnamese person who has fallen victim to the evil spell of Communism. In order to do this, we must start by disseminating this information, as far and wide as possible, and as quickly as possible.

By any means imaginable, and then pushing beyond these limits, spread the idea of Vietnamese Republicanism to your friends, family, acquaintances, associates, and anyone else you can possibly reach. Use email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, the comments section of internet arguments, Tinder, brochures, pamphlets, leaflets, written letters, mail, brail, secret handshakes, sign language, postcards, puppet shows, and even courier pigeons, whatever. Any way you can think of to disseminate this information, do it. Then think of other ways you never even thought of before, and do that. Then keep thinking, and innovating, and doing, and then repeat, again and again, until you are so quick, so cunning, and so effective that you make the Communists’ heads explode with your speed and efficiency. And then do it some more. To the people inside Vietnam, this goes double for you. As the ones inside the system, the boots on the ground, you have the most influence in sparking change in Vietnam, so I encourage you extra hard to effectively pass this information along to your fellow Vietnamese in Vietnam. If we are successful, you will be at the forefront of the fight for freedom and country, and the leaders of the establishment of the Vietnamese Republic. Hopefully that is enough incentive for you to get on board.

This is only the first chapter in the quest to spread Vietnamese Republicanism throughout Vietnam and across the world, and ultimately, to bring the change that Vietnam so desperately needs. Expect more articles, more elaboration, and more ideas on this Vietnamese Republicanism ideology that believes in the greatness of the Vietnamese people, and the boundless potential of the Vietnamese nation, once it is rid of Communism.

Though there is much more to come, I would like to leave you all with the following question: Based on what has been expressed so far, would you consider yourself a Vietnamese Republican?

Join the movement. Let’s bring freedom to Vietnam. Together.

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What Jovie From the Movie “Elf” Taught Me About Courage and Leadership

Posted in Film, Music, Opinions, Videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 25, 2016 by Ian Pham

zooey-deschanel-in-elfImage via Fanpop

This is going to be a bit of a stretch, but I’ll give it a shot anyways.

First off, if you haven’t seen the movie “Elf,” there are going to be some spoilers ahead. Secondly, if you haven’t seen the movie “Elf,” you should do yourself a favor and check it out ASAP. Chances are high (basically 100%) that some channel on TV is playing it right now, as we speak, as I type this article, and then actually right now, as you read this article. It’s an incredible movie, full of laughs and whimsy and Will Ferrell being Will Ferrell at his comedic best.

I won’t give too much of the movie away, but there is one scene in the film where Buddy the Elf’s (Ferrell) love interest Jovie (played by Zooey Deschanel) steps up on a carriage and sings in front of a mob of people in Central Park. Her purpose in doing this is to bring up New York’s Christmas spirit so that Santa, Buddy, and the reindeers can follow through with their mission to save Christmas. It’s a zany, lighthearted, and adorable film that will surely either cheer you up or make your day even brighter than it already is.

Here’s the scene I am talking about. Give it a watch, and I will follow up with the discussion shortly after. But, before you press play, remember: SPOILERS are contained in the clip.

Pretty cute, right?

I won’t get too deep into the politics that I usually talk about, but I do want to point out this simple message that I received from this adorable movie: It only takes one brave voice to make something happen. It only takes one voice to start a change.

If you read this site often, you already know where I’m going with this.

And yes, I know it’s not as easy as I’m making it sound right now. Singing a song in the middle of Saigon or Hanoi won’t make the communist regime fall just like that. It’ll take more than a song to bring down the totalitarian communist dictatorship and bring freedom to Vietnam.

However, what I want to say is that if you are someone who has something to say to the communists in Vietnam, then go for it. It may not be as simple as singing a song to raise Christmas spirit for Santa’s sleigh, but, and I’m talking real life now, if you have a message that you believe people need to hear, if you want to speak out against the communists, then use your voice to break the silence.

Zooey Deschanel’s scene in “Elf” is just a lighthearted musical number in a fun comedy movie, but to me, it is a beautiful illustration of the idea that, with just one brave voice, something extraordinary can happen. One person with the courage to step up, speak up, and be the guiding light that leads a movement to accomplish something incredible and magical. In “Elf,” this incredible thing is saving Christmas, in our real world, it is saving Vietnam from Communism, and bringing freedom, democracy, and human rights to Vietnam.

In this real life scenario, Vietnam is our Christmas, and Jovie, that voice that breaks the silence, is a person we have not met yet, but is definitely out there somewhere.

To the Jovie of Vietnam, if you’re reading this, the world is waiting for you. Raise your voice, take a chance, and make something incredible happen. You can do it. Believe in yourself.

Well, that’s my motivational speech this Christmas.

Hopefully you’re all doing well, and, while I may not always have the time to write on here as much as I want to, my thoughts are always with you, and with Vietnam. I wish I got paid to write on here, but hey, you can’t get everything you ask for. Still, though, a guy can dream, right?

Merry Christmas, everybody. Happy Holidays, and have a Happy New Year!

See you in 2017.

Ian Pham.

Annotated Bibliography: “South Vietnam’s New Constitutional Structure,” by Robert Devereux

Posted in Modern History, Modern History - A.B., Politics, Society with tags , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2016 by Ian Pham

Nguyen Van Thieu SpeechPhotograph via Xac Dinh

Devereux, Robert. “South Vietnam’s New Constitutional Structure.” Asian Survey 8, no. 8 (1968): 627-645.

As its title indicates, this article by Robert Devereux provides analyses of the provisions within South Vietnam’s constitution, which was promulgated officially by Nguyen Van Thieu on April 1, 1967 (p. 628). For anyone interested in exploring in-depth the function and structure of South Vietnam’s democratic system, Devereux’s article is a fantastic starting point.

Following the usual format, this brief blog article will only cover a few of the many important insights about South Vietnamese democracy covered in Devereux’s work. However, the points raised in this entry will be more than enough to prove the credibility of South Vietnam as a true and functional democracy.

To begin, Devereux’s article shows that in 1966, of the estimated population of 14.5 million people in South Vietnam, 5,288,512 were registered to vote, and 4,274,812 did just that. The day of the election was September 11, 1966, and these over four million people went to the polls to elect their new Constituent Assembly, which consisted of 117 members (p. 627).

One year following this important election, a formal presidential election took place on September 3, 1967, resulting in Nguyen Van Thieu’s election as the new President of the Republic of Vietnam (p. 628). Also on that day, 60 new Senators were elected to South Vietnam’s Upper House, and on October 22, 1967, another 137 representatives (called Deputies) were elected to the nation’s Lower House (ibid). In South Vietnam, elections were carried out by universal suffrage and secret ballot (p. 631), a point relevant here for clearly demonstrating the verity of South Vietnam as a democratic nation.

The major events above are mentioned in the introduction to Devereux’s article. The sections following then delve at great length into the various chapters and sections of South Vietnam’s constitution. Covered by Devereux in his article are the many provisions outlining the functions and powers of South Vietnam’s three branches of government: the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial.

The Executive section talks about the powers of the President, the Prime Minister, and the Vice President, and their duties and responsibilities to the National Assembly and other government organs (p. 628-631). In the Legislative section, the process of introducing and approving bills is discussed, with details on how the Senators in the Upper House and the Deputies in the Lower House go through the process of making laws (p. 631-634). Lastly, for the Judicial branch section, the process of selecting judges to the Supreme Court in South Vietnam, as well as details of the country’s judicial process, are examined (p. 634-636).

In addition to these sections, Devereux’s article also talks about other important parts of South Vietnam’s government structure, as covered within the constitution. Specific offices and governmental organs, described as Special Institutions, are discussed (p. 636-640), as well as the functions of Local Administrations in South Vietnam (p. 640-641), and very importantly, in the Political Parties section, the guaranteed rights of opposition parties to form and operate in the Republic (p. 642-643).

Devereux moreover provides important insights on the human rights aspects of South Vietnam’s constitution. In the Bill of Rights section of the constitution, as summarized by Devereux, many statements are presented which guarantee and defend the rights of South Vietnamese citizens. Examples include a line from Article 6 of the constitution, which stipulates that the state is pledged to “respect human dignity, and the law every citizen’s freedom, life, property, and honor,” (p. 641). Furthermore, in Article 8, the document “guarantees the privacy of a citizen’s personal life, home, and correspondence…” and that “Freedom of thought, speech, press and publishing is guaranteed,” (ibid).

In addition to these provisions, the Judicial section previously mentioned also demonstrates many examples of the Republic’s adherence to the rule of law. Articles 7 and 8 of the South Vietnamese constitution express many guaranteed rights to protect its citizens, and include, but are not limited to, the following:

“Every defendant is entitled to a speedy and public trial and to a defense lawyer at every stage of the legal process, including the preliminary investigation.”

“No one can be arrested or detained without a warrant issued by a competent legal authority, except in cases of flagrante delicto.”

“No one can be tortured, threatened, or forced to confess, and any confession obtained by such means cannot be used as evidence.”

“Defendants will be considered innocent until found guilty; in case of doubt the court must find for the defendant.”

“No one can enter, search, or confiscate the property of a person without a properly executed court order, unless it is necessary for the defense of security and public order according to the spirit of the law.” (p. 636).

These provisions outlined clearly illustrate the democratic foundations in which South Vietnam was built. From the information above, it can be clarified that the Southern Republic was one that respected human rights, and one that championed the basic rights and freedoms of its citizens and the rule of law.

Evidences provided in this article clearly demonstrate that South Vietnam was a true liberal democracy. Proven throughout this post, through Devereux’s findings, is universal suffrage, secret ballot elections, a system of checks and balances in government, individual’s rights, constitutional rights, and multiparty democracy in South Vietnam.

For all of its challenges as a young and developing nation, the Republic of Vietnam had all the foundations, and met all the criteria of being a liberal democracy. Further study will continue to prove this fact. In terms of establishing a base for research on this topic, this source by Robert Devereux is an excellent place to begin.

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.

As Expected, Zero Progress Made From Nguyen Phu Trong’s “Historic” Visit to Washington

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , on July 8, 2015 by Ian Pham

Washington MeetingImage via Yahoo News

I felt I should follow up from my last article about VCP General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s self-proclaimed “historic” visit to meet President Barack Obama in Washington. Like I forecasted just a day ago, the talks indeed yielded zero actual change from the status quo.

The talks were straightforward, relaxed, with little point whatsoever. Pleasantries were exchanged, Nguyen Phu Trong lauds the “progress” that has been made in U.S.-Vietnam relations, with President Obama courteously expressing optimism for the future. The usual topics were brought up, like Chinese aggression in the Pacific, the possibility of the formation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and of course, the issue of human rights.

According to the Washington Times, Trong invited President Obama to visit Vietnam, in which the President has replied that he will do so “… some time in the future.”

There were some notable happenings that revolved around the meeting, but were not part of the meeting itself. A group of bipartisan lawmakers in the White House advised the President prior to the meeting to press Nguyen Phu Trong more strongly on the human rights issue.

From the same Washington Times source:

“This authoritarian one-party system is the root cause of the deplorable human rights situation in Vietnam,” wrote the lawmakers, led by Rep. Christopher H. Smith, New Jersey Republican. “As the list of detained Vietnamese bloggers and prisoners of conscience gets longer and longer, it is even more important than ever that the United States sends a clear message to the Hanoi authorities that respect for human rights is essential for a closer economic and security relationship.”

The other notable happening in relation with Nguyen Phu Trong’s visit was the hundreds-strong protest taking place outside of the White House during the meeting.

According to Jerome Cartillier:

A few hundred protesters rallied outside the White House, calling for expanded human rights in Vietnam — an issue that has sparked concern among some American lawmakers about deepening ties.

Demonstrators carried signs with slogans like “Freedom of speech in Vietnam now” and called on Hanoi to release all political prisoners.

Washington ProtestProtesters outside of the White House during Vietnamese Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s meeting with President Obama. Photo via Yahoo News

Although the meeting between President Obama and the idiot General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong was exactly as unproductive and pointless as expected, I am still happy to hear that the issue of human rights is still on the minds of U.S. lawmakers. I am even more proud of the part played by the Vietnamese community.

Commendation to all who participated in the protests yesterday. You made a great impact, and your passion and dedication is undoubtedly being heard. As the actions of the U.S. lawmakers urging the President to be tougher on Trong has shown, your voice is making a difference.

We have to keep pushing, we have to keep making a difference. Persistence is everything.

Predictions For Nguyen Phu Trong, Vietnam’s VCP General Secretary’s Visit to Washington Today

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , on July 7, 2015 by Ian Pham

Nguyen Phu Trong(AP Photo/Tran Van Minh)

Vietnam’s General Secretary, the leader of the VCP and the country’s man in charge, Nguyen Phu Trong arrives in Washington today to meet with President Barack Obama.

According to the White House:

On July 7, 2015, President Obama will welcome to the White House Nguyen Phu Trong, the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam.  The President looks forward to discussing with General Secretary Trong ways to strengthen further the U.S.-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership, reflecting on the accomplishments of the past twenty years since the normalization of bilateral diplomatic relations.  The President also welcomes the opportunity to discuss other issues, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, human rights, and bilateral defense cooperation.

I’m not exactly sure what will come out of this meeting. The Vietnamese government in Hanoi has demonstrated time and again that they are firmly under the thumb of Beijing. Moreover, members of the VCP, with party chief Trong being one of the biggest offenders, have all shown ineptitude in reaching any sort of solution to the woes of their country, economically, socially, and politically.

For these reasons, I believe that President Obama’s hopes of establishing closer ties with Vietnam will once again fall short of any substantial gains. Human rights remains an issue that has hindered the U.S. goal of establishing a meaningful partnership with Vietnam, and judging from the ongoing violations that the communist state continues to orchestrate, this issue shows little hope of being resolved anytime soon.

The U.S. has deep interests in strengthening relations with Vietnam, and is willing to offer the communist nation vast benefits to reach that end. However, judging from the VCP’s tendency to fashion their foreign policy in accordance with Beijing’s wishes, it is highly unlikely that Trong or the VCP will risk offending China by warming up to the United States, no matter how beneficial siding with America is to Vietnam’s growth.

In terms of strengthening relations with Vietnam, the U.S. is willing to offer Vietnam a seat in the new Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), as well as the easing of restrictions on the sales of lethal weaponry, and the increasing of economic ties. The U.S. wants to provide Vietnam with these major benefits, and has been very patient with the communist state’s continued intransigence, most notably with Vietnam diplomatically siding with China and blatantly abusing human rights domestically.

Besides the complicated situation with China, human rights is the only major impediment to Vietnam gaining the extensive economic, military, and geopolitical benefits that comes from partnership with the United States. However, as a communist government who is struggling to maintain stranglehold on power, as a cowardly government in constant fear of offending China, and as dullards who can’t hit water if they fell out of a boat, the Vietnamese Communist Party and its leader Nguyen Phu Trong will not be smart enough to take the many benefits that the U.S. is wanting to give to them.

In my predictions, no substantial agreements will be met between Vietnam and the United States. Unless President Obama is willing to overlook the human rights issue completely, something I really hope he does not do, it is doubtful that the establishment of the Trans-Pacific Partnership will become a reality.

Nguyen Phu Trong, nicknamed “Trọng Lú,” or “Trọng the Stupid,” or “Trọng the Confused,” or “Trọng the Dazed,” or “Trọng the Dullard,” (depending on your choice of translation) by the international Vietnamese community, will not make the obvious choice of simply improving human rights to vastly benefit his country. It’s so simple, but he will not get it. He’s called Trọng Lú for a reason.

The only thing I hope to see today are the major democracy, human rights, and anti-communist protests upon Trong’s arrival. Any organization that is staging demonstrations, all the more power to you. Come out in droves, make him hear you.

“Trọng Lú.”