Friday, April 4, 2008

Letter to President George W. Bush

Vietnam, June 16, 2007
His Excellency George W. Bush
President of the United States of America

The White House

Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Bush:

We, the undersigned, are the interim representatives of Bloc 8406 with tens of thousands of members both inside and outside of Vietnam who are fighting for democracy and peace in our country, and who are determined to confront the Vietnamese Communist authorities in a non-violent struggle for a democratic, free, multi-party, and pluralistic Vietnam.

We understand that last May 29, 2007, you and some senior members of your administration have met in Washington, D.C., with a number of representatives from organizations fighting for democracy and human rights in Vietnam. A representative of Bloc 8406, Mr. Do Nam Hai, was also invited but was unable to attend.

We enthusiastically welcome this historic meeting. It is a confirmation of the promises that you have made in your second inaugural speech: Today, America speaks anew to the peoples of the world. All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know the United States will not ignore your oppression or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you. It is also consistent with the spirit of your speech at the World Democracy and Security Conference in Prague on June 5, 2007: America calls on every nation that stifles dissent to end its repression, to trust its people, and to grant its citizens the freedom they deserve.

We were heartened by the fact that at the meeting of May 29, you showed special consideration to non-Communist, democracy-advocating organizations inside Vietnam such as Bloc 8406, the Vietnamese Alliance for Human Rights and Democracy, and to our semi-monthly “Freedom of Expression” magazine. In Prague also you were kind enough to mention Father Nguyen Van Ly, one of the founders of our group and stated ...Vietnam recently arrested and imprisoned a number of peaceful religious and political activists.We were very moved by those words, and grateful of your thoughts.

Mr. President:

We firmly believe that in the current world situation, in view of the march of civilization, and the common global trends, our people must have dignity and human rights, our country must prosper like so many progressive countries in the world, among which is the United States of America. This is the reason why we applaud both the United States’ support of Vietnam’s admission into the World Trade Organization and the pressure put upon Vietnam for democracy and respect for human rights. In order to further increase this pressure, we suggest that you convey the following demands to Vietnam’s President Nguyen Minh Triet in his forthcoming visit to the United States:

1. That Vietnam release immediately and unconditionally all political and religious prisoners, most notably: Father Nguyen Van Ly, lawyer Nguyen Van Dai, lawyer Le Thi Cong Nhan, Dr. Le Nguyen Sang, journalist Huynh Nguyen Dao, lawyer Nguyen Bac Truyen, Nguyen Phong, Nguyen Binh Thanh, lawyer Le Quoc Quan, lawyer Bui Kim Thanh, writer Tran Khai Thanh Thuy; the founders of the Association of United Workers and Farmers of Vietnam such as Nguyen Tan Hoanh, Tran Thi Le Hang, Doan Van Dien. Doan Huy Chuong, Tran Quoc Hien; the founders of Bloc 8406 such as Pham Ba Hai, Nguyen Ngoc Quang, Truong Quoc Huy, Vu Hoang Hai, Ho Thi Bich Khuong, Truong Minh Duc; Buddhist followers Le Van Tinh, Bui Tan Nha, Nguye Van Dien, Vo Van Thanh Liem, Vo Van Buu, Mai Thi Dung, Nguyen Thanh Phong, Nguyen Thi Ha, To Van Manh, Nguyen Thanh Long, Nguyen Van Thuy, Nguyen Van Tho, Duong Thi Tron, and Le Van Soc, and many others, including our Montagnard compatriots and prisoners of conscience.

2. That Vietnam completely restore the freedoms of religion and belief so that churches and religious organizations of all denominations and sizes can operate in freedom and independence; eliminate all constraints that so far have been imposed on religions; end all detention, house arrests, and harassments of religious leaders and their followers; return to religious organizations all assets that the government has unlawfully confiscated such as places of worship, schools, orphanages...

3. That Vietnam completely restore the Vietnamese people’s right to form organizations and political parties so that non-Communist, democracy-advocating organizations and parties such as Bloc 8406, the Vietnamese Alliance for Democracy and Human Rights, the 21st Century Democracy Party, the Vietnam Progression Party, the People’s Democratic Party, the People’s Party, the Vietnam Reform Party, the Vietnam Restoration Party, the People’s Action Party, Vietnam’s Independent Labor Confederation, the Association of United Workers and Farmers of Vietnam, the Association of Unfairly Treated People, and the People’s Anti-Corruption Association, among others, can freely operate.

4. That Vietnam completely restore the freedom of expression and freedom of the press so that non-Communist, democratic print media organizations such as the Freedom of Expression Magazine, The Freedom and Democracy Magazine, the Fatherland Magazine, the Hoa Mai Magazine...can freely publish and disseminate their products. The government must allow its citizens to freely browse the Internet, participate in on-line forums, and exchange electronic information without restriction, harassment, threat, or imprisonment.

We believe that with the United States’ long democratic tradition and with its reputation as the Land of Freedom, you will give utmost consideration to our suggestions which are also the aspirations of the whole Vietnamese people.

May God bless you and the United States of America.

With our deep gratitude, we remain,

Yours respectfully,

Interim representatives of Bloc 8406:

Do Nam Hai, engineer, Saigon
Tran Anh Kim, former army officer, Thai Binh
Phan Van Loi, Catholic priest, Hue