Plenty of countries claim up and down that they don’t hold political prisoners, and those eager to do business with that country are usually too eager to buy their story. But a recently leaked copy of a secret politburo document should leave everyone with little doubt that not only does Vietnam persecute political prisoners; they’re worried about learning to persecute more efficiently so they’ll catch less flack from the international community.
“When pressed last year on human rights during his historic visit to D.C., Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet passed off violations as a ‘different understanding’ that needed to be taken in context of ‘historical backgrounds and conditions.’Pro-democracy Vietnamese, however, understand well the conditions in place to systematically keep their voices silent. Now an apparent memo from the top tells the story.
The top-secret, just-leaked Vietnamese government document urges Communist Party officials to become more conscientious in their quest to ‘limit the spread of false ideas in the population about democracy, human rights, religious freedom, which impacts negatively on the Party and the State foreign policy,’ and work ‘to institute effort to neutralize these organizations and individuals who conspire to maneuver against the country and socialism.’
The document titled ‘NOTICE: Conclusion of the Political Party, concerning raising the bar of quality and effectiveness in the execution of the political trials in the face of new development’ and dated Sept. 12, 2007, was distributed to provincial authorities, party officials and leading technocrats, as noted in the memo.
Signed off and stamped by Standing Secretariat Member Truong Tan Sang, the Politburo sent out numbered copies on a recall basis. Yet a copy of the document was leaked by a Communist Party member to the People’s Democratic Party of Vietnam, which advocates a multi-party system and is thus banned by the Vietnamese regime.Reading the document - the English translation provided by the PDP - is a window into a regime that systematically conspires to silence dissidents and fears international scrutiny could derail its attempts at global acceptance.
‘The quality and effectiveness of the execution of the political cases have not met the requirements to enable the struggle to prevent and deal with these crimes,’ the memo reads, complaining that ‘the charges and rulings in a number of cases have not been appropriate’ and trials have been ‘allowing the accused excessive responses.’
‘…To fight and defeat the attack plot of the enemy forces is our first line of defense, urgent and immediate.’…”