Archive for Paracel and Spratly

This National Anthem Video Will Remind You of What a Badass Nation South Vietnam Was

Posted in IV. Columns, Modern History, Politics, Videos with tags , , , , , , , on November 15, 2015 by Ian Pham

South Vietnam Soldier SaluteImage via Youtube

And it really was, too.

This is just a video off Youtube of South Vietnam’s national anthem. Sung by a chorus, the video displays footage of military parades and other patriotic imagery, played along to the music. It really gets the patriotic blood pumping, and makes you remember why we, along with our parents, siblings, and relatives are so proud of where we came from.

Got a minute? Check it out below:

Pretty awesome, right?

This was the nation to tell Communist China to fuck off when the PRC invaded Paracel back in 1974, fighting vehemently against the invader until the very end. This was also the nation to stand against Ho Chi Minh and the communists, a story that we all know very well.

South Vietnam was a democracy, a young and fledgling democracy, but undoubtedly a democracy nonetheless. It’s national motto was, “Fatherland, Honor, Duty,” and in the face of Chinese aggression and North Vietnamese Communist aggression, the Southern country stood proud and strong.

This is just a small example of what a great nation South Vietnam was, and how proud we are to come from it.

Damn proud, mighty proud.

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Fierce On Their People, Meek To Their Enemies

Posted in IV. Columns, Politics, Society with tags , , , , , , , , on July 20, 2012 by Ian Pham

A brief protest took place on July 1, 2012 before being cracked down by Communist police.

The much anticipated anti-China protest slated for the 1st of July never took place, at least not to the scale that we all expected.  Much of this is due to the quick work of the Communist police network, who swiftly barricaded, detained, and blocked many areas and leaders key to the operation.  As a result, small scale demonstrations did take place before also being put to bed by the Communist police.

The following Sunday however, July 8, 2012, a modestly sized protest did take place in Ho Chi Minh City.  That protest too was suppressed by the Communist police in Vietnam.  Vietnamese authorities have been on high alert and placing heavy surveillance on its citizen, especially bloggers and writers.  The possibility of large scale anti-China demonstrations keep the Communist Party in a state of fear and paranoia.

In Vietnam, expressing patriotism and love of one’s country is grounds for imprisonment and government retribution.  The Vietnamese Communist Party would rather have a safe and cosy relationship with the PRC than its own people.  Fears of an angry China have prompted the government in Vietnam to constantly suppress and crackdown on their own people.

There is a saying associated with the Vietnamese Communist Party, “fierce to its people, but meek to the Chinese.”  It is quite self explanatory.  The Vietnamese Communist Party uses excessive force and expends heavy resources all with the goal of suppressing the Vietnamese population.  At the same time, they won’t hesitate to lower themselves to the Chinese Communist Party, for fear of an angry China.

Relations between the U.S. and Vietnam have developed substantially in recent years, though human rights remains an issue in Vietnam.

This can all be demonstreated by the VCP’s constant crackdowns of Vietnamese bloggers, writers, and protest organizers.  These individuals have not even expressed anti-Party sentiments.  All they’ve done is express love for the motherland and tried to defend her from the invading Chinese.

It is true that the Vietnamese government has passed a law laying claim to Paracel and Spratly, and greatly angering the Chinese.  However, the very same government continues to be submissive and dove-like when dealing with China’s assertive claims to the southeastern sea.

When compared to the Phillipines’ government, the Vietnamese Communist Party does not measure up.  President Benjamin Aquino III has handled the Phillipines’ situation with China promptly and assertively.  Though the military and naval strength of the Phillipines is not up to par with China’s, or even Vietnam’s, the country has shown that they are a force to be reackoned with.  As a result, the Filipino citizens are fully in support of their government, with the world also nodding with approval.

The VCP should take a lesson from the Philippines and start standing up to China more sternly.  It is true that their strategy of bringing in the U.S. to the matter brings great benefits.  However, their constant abuse of human rights and continued spineless approach in dealing with the PRC’s aggression continues to impede the country’s growth.  The Vietnamese should take a tougher stance on China, and a more respectable approach in dealing with its own citizens.  Only then will true progress be achieved.

Major Anti-China Protest Planned for Sunday

Posted in Politics, Society with tags , , , , on June 28, 2012 by Ian Pham

Word has been spreading that the people in Vietnam are ready to stage a major demonstration this Sunday to protest China’s latest act of aggression in the Southeast Asia Sea.  The People’s Republic of China has recently offered bids to foreign oil companies to start operating in areas deep within Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone.  The Vietnamese government has declared these actions illegal, and in strict violation of Vietnam’s law and sovereignty.  Beijing responded by claiming that what they are doing is “normal business activity” and warned Vietnam not to further escalate the situation.

Hanoi cites UNCLOS as evidence against China’s “indisputable” claims of control over the entire Southeast Asia Sea, which Vietnam calls the East Sea.  According to Vietnam, the nine offshore oil blocks that China plans to open to foreign firms is well within Vietnam’s EEZ, violating both international law and Vietnamese law.  This dispute comes as part of a long standing tension building in the Southeast Asia Sea.

After much silence and hesitation on this issue, Hanoi has finally raised its voice, prompting the country’s National Assembly to pass a law claiming official ownership of the Paracel and Spratly islands.  These islands are prominently situated in the Southeast Asia Sea, and have been under Vietnam’s control since the Nguyen Dynasty in the 19th century.  China disregards both Vietnam’s historical claims and its claims based on international law.  The Asian giant continues to assert its claims over the sea in its entirety, putting the country into conflicts with its many neighbors.

The people of Vietnam came out to protest Red China in the summer of 2011.  The weekly demonstrations were permitted by the Vietnamese government for a while, but were formally and forcefully suppressed on the 11th week.

In reaction to the assertions of Red China, the people of Vietnam have come together in preparation for the large demonstration slated for this Sunday.  Protests are set to kick off in two of Vietnam’s major cities, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh (Saigon).  This is reminiscent of protests in Vietnam last summer, which were permitted by the government for a time before being forcibly subdued by Communist police.  Though it is difficult to predict what the protests will yield, it will become clear on Sunday morning.

For those of us who are outside of Vietnam, there is really not much we can physically do.  However, it is important to let the Vietnamese within know that we support them, and that we are behind them in their efforts.  Regardless of what country we are originally from or currently live in, Vietnamese everywhere are fighting for the same cause.  To all the courageous Vietnamese coming out on Sunday, just know that we all support you.  God bless.

Obama Mentions Vietnam Dissident in May 3rd Statement

Posted in Democracy Activists, Politics with tags , , , , , , on June 8, 2012 by Ian Pham

Over one month ago, on May 3, 2012, a world celebration known as World Press Freedom Day was held in Carthage, Tunisia.  Many world leaders delivered messages of celebration and commemoration that day, including President Barack Obama.  The President included many prominent names in his statements.  One of which was Dieu Cay, a well known democracy activist imprisoned by the Vietnamese government since 2008.

In the words of President Obama,

“As we condemn recent detentions of journalists like Mazen Darwish, a leading proponent of free speech in Syria, and call for their immediate release, we must not forget others like blogger Dieu Cay, whose 2008 arrest coincided with a mass crackdown on citizen journalism in Vietnam, or journalist Dawit Isaak who has been held incommunicado by the Eritrean government for over a decade without formal charge or trial.”

Dieu Cay is the pen name for Vietnamese blogger and freedom activist Nguyen Van Hai.  He has been detained by the Communist government in Vietnam since 2008 for protesting China’s actions in Tibet, the Spratly Islands, and criticizing the country’s Olympic torch relay.  Idiotically, yet unsurprisingly, the Vietnamese government imprisoned Dieu Cay under the charges “tax evasion”, which is bogus to say the least.

Following his release in 2010, Dieu Cay continued to express his opinions on his blog, before being harassed and imprisoned by the Communist Police once again.  To this day, blogger Nguyen “Dieu Cay” Van Hai is still serving time in Vietnamese jail for charges of “conducting propaganda against the state”.  He is currently facing a possible 20 years in prison, unless he pleads guilty to the bogus charges and concedes to the Communists.  International pressure on the Vietnamese government may help reduce this sentence, as Dieu Cay refuses to plead guilty.

It is a wonder what caught the attention of President Obama to Vietnam’s current human rights situation.  Though it is true that he was aware of the matter, he had yet to publicly speak out in defense of a single dissident, until May 3, that is.  One very viable possibility, is the recent surge of information and momentum made possible by Mr. Truc Ho, the White House petition, and the music of Viet Khang.

We have said in the past that the president listens, now we know that he listens.  Not only does the president listen however, but he also speaks.  Whether you recognize it or not, President Obama wants the votes of Vietnamese Americans, and is now starting to reach out to the Vietnamese community in the U.S.  As members of a proud and democratic nation, we can help foster this movement by exercising our democratic rights.  It’s election season, people.  Let’s show the candidates that we got the vote.

For the full statement by President Obama on Press Freedom Day, May 3, 2012, click here:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/05/03/statement-president-world-press-freedom-day

Vietnam’s Role, and Leverage in the Southeast Asia Sea

Posted in IV. Columns, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2012 by Ian Pham

This past Sunday, U.S. Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta paid a visit to Vietnam’s Cam Ranh Bay, a major U.S. base used during the Vietnam War.  The visit yielded agreements between the U.S. and Vietnam to open restricted military sites in Vietnam that would permit searches for MIA soldiers of the war.  Behind these agreements however, is the continuation of a deeper goal, the further normalization of relations between two former enemies.

As of today, Panetta is the most senior American official to visit Cam Ranh Bay.  Not only does this visit signify the developing ties between the two sides, it also signifies America’s national interests in Vietnam as a key player in the Southeast Asia Sea.  According to American analysts, Vietnam currently holds a decisive role in shaping the balance of power in the Southeast Asia Sea.  The Center for a New American Security professes that Vietnam is arguably the pivotal player, or “swing-state” for what happens in the sea.  If Vietnam fails to step up to an increasingly assertive China, smaller countries like the Philippines have little chance of resisting.

These insights paint a vivid picture of Vietnam’s potential in dealing with Chinese hegemony.  Of the many countries in Asia at this point in time, Vietnam remains the key obstacle against Chinese expansionism.  As a result, the U.S. continues to pursue better relations with the country.  Unfortunately, these warming relations comes at the cost of human rights in Vietnam.  To keep Vietnam from running into the arms of the Chinese, the United States must turn a blind eye to the atrocious human rights record of Vietnam.  This is the American dilemma.  In order to keep U.S.-Vietnam relations on the right track, the United States is forced to soften its stance on human rights.

Nonetheless, this reality outlines the importance of Vietnam’s role in dealing with Chinese hegemony in the South China Sea.  Vietnam can very well be the difference maker in China’s success or failure in this territorial dispute, and has the power to counter China’s influence in Southeast Asia.  America understands this, and Vietnam understands this.  This is one major reason why the two countries have become so close in recent years, with an increasingly nervous and aggressive China on the periphery.  Though the human rights abuses continue to cause friction between Vietnam and the U.S., the China issue continues to bring the two closer together.

Finally, the Vietnamese Government Lay Claims to Paracel and Spratly

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , on December 2, 2011 by Ian Pham

After months of beating around the bush, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has finally released an official claim to the Paracal and Spratly Islands.  Vietnam was the formal the occupier of the Paracel and Spratly Islands since the 18th and 19th centuries, until the Chinese invaded Paracel in 1974, and Spratly in 1988.  The Nguyen Dynasty of Vietnam was the first country to explore and occupy these islands, becoming the sole patron of both Spratly and Paracel for nearly two centuries.  In the 1950’s onward, the Republic of Vietnam held the islands.

Nguyen Tan Dung has formally declared that Paracel and Spratly belong to Vietnam, and has stated that he is willing to use military force to defend the islands from China.  According to Bloomberg News, the Prime Minister is also looking to establish talks regarding the Chinese occupation of Paracel which, as mentioned above, once belonged to Vietnam, and, in legal terms, still belongs to Vietnam.  The Chinese acquisition of Paracel and the current pieces of Spratly are illegal, and still does not constitute as Chinese territory under international law.  Though the PRC holds the islands formally, their rule is illegitimate, and is contestable by Vietnam with historical evidence (and with some help from the military).

The Vietnamese government has announced that they will support the patriotism of the Vietnamese people, so long as that is all the people project.  In other words, the people of Vietnam are free to demonstrate against China, but if their is ever a hint of calls for democratization, the government will shut it down by force.  The official announcement by PM Nguyen Tan Dung on Paracel and Spratly is definitely positive for the country, though it has been long overdue.  There is so much more that the Vietnamese people need, and if the government wants to know what that is, they might want to take a look at Burma.

Vietnam Protest Update

Posted in Politics, Society with tags , , , , , on July 27, 2011 by Ian Pham

The protests in Vietnam are still going on, every sunday as a matter of fact.  Even now, the people in Vietnam continue their display of national unity against the PRC.  Paracel and Spratly are an integral part of Vietnam, something that the people will never let go without a fight.  The Chinese government think they can move in on these islands easily, but they are sadly mistaken.  The Vietnamese Communist Party may be afraid of the Chinese, but the people of Vietnam are not.

No one can tell how long these protests will go on for, either way, it is good for the country.  It is rare for the government to let the people come together for a peaceful demonstration, and I judge them for not letting the people express themselves to the fullest extent.  This patriotic display has the potential to spark some substantial change in Vietnam’s political landscape.  Furthermore, this fledgling movement has the potential to change this uneven relationship between Vietnam and the People’s Republic of China.  If the people of Vietnam were bred, nurtured, and utilized to build and defend the country, then this coming war with China may not be so inevitable after all.

The Communist Party in Vietnam are worried that if they were to utilize the strength of the Vietnamese people, it will ultimately lead to the fall of their autocratic rule.  That is one way of looking at it, but they should consider the positives.  Exiting in a peaceful and progressive manner would greatly reduce the amount of bloodshed that would surely come from a violent revolution.  There are numerous scenarios of how the Communists could fall in the near future, and doing so with the modest support, or at least the sympathy of the Vietnamese population is much better than being ripped to shreds by a revolutionary force that has lost all sense of emotion and mercy for this tired and spineless regime.

Vietnam’s Communist government is riddled with problems, both politically and economically.  The deplorable human rights record, double-digit inflation that is only getting worse, intimidation and aggression by the Chinese military, and discontent among the population back home.  This is just the tip of the iceberg, and any of these can act as a catalyst that sparks the eventual collapse of the Vietnamese Communist Party.  This is the situation and the Communist Party are presented a choice.  Either they get dragged out kicking and screaming by a bloody revolution (or worse yet, a Chinese invasion), or go respectfully (and I use that term loosely) and let the people decide peacefully.  It will take a tremendous amount of courage for them to do the right thing, but in the end it will save their lives.  They should think about that.