05/02/2012 Vietnam (BosNewsLife) - The United States has expressed concerns over the detention of Christians in Vietnam. Following is an editorial reflecting the views of the U.S. government as broadcast by the Voice of America (VOA) network and picked up by BosNewsLife Columns, the editorial division of BosNewsLife News Agency.
"Since normalizing diplomatic relations in 1995, the United States and Vietnam have significantly expanded the scope and depth of their dealings in many areas, including trade, security, environment, health and regional cooperation. Progress on human rights issues, however, continues to lag in the Southeast Asian nation.
Vaguely worded laws enacted to protect state security have been used to intimidate and in many cases imprison peaceful political and religious activists.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other top U.S. officials have made it clear that progress on human rights is needed to build closer relations between our two countries.
In one of the latest incidents of human rights abuses, the pastor of an outlawed Christian church was sentenced to 11 years in prison for allegedly sowing division between the communist government and the Vietnamese people. Nguyen Cong Chinh, 43 years old, was convicted of undermining the government policy of unity at his trial in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai.