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The Rev. Nguyen Thanh’s testimonies before the United States Congress on May 11th, 2007

5/11/07 Vietnam (ICC Source) I am very touched, thankful and appreciated that you kindly give me this opportunity to share some thoughts with you, your constituents, Americans and Vietnamese people inside Vietnam regarding the human rights issues in Vietnam. As the former Military Catholic Chaplain of the Marine Division of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces , after the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, I was imprisoned by the communists for over 13 years. Until today, I still do not understand why I was able to survive through those years in jail with horrific ordeals in various communist prisons. As a live witness and also a Catholic priest, I would like to provide you with some solid information and some assessments about human rights situations and related issues, difficulties and unbearable challenges to my fellow people who are currently living inside Vietnam .

During these days which are still being enriched with the spirit of commemoration of the black April of 1975 after the fall of Saigon, Vietnamese refugees around the world have been so disappointed and also extremely outrageous to the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) because good citizens in Vietnam, our original father land, are still in jails under CPV’s strict custody. They are not allowed to live freely, in dignity and work freely in their own country.

Every year, April 30th is a very special commemoration that keeps reminding us our most painful incident in Vietnam recent history. The whole nation has been completely collapsed under the cruelly steel-heeled shoes of the CPV, millions of families have been separated, more than 3 million people had to leave their own country, over a million army officers and administrative officials have been imprisoned, almost a million boat people have been perished under the stormy sea or in deep dangerous jungles during their highly risky escapes by boat or by feet from Vietnam to run away from the CPV after the fall of Saigon.

How can Vietnamese people forget the most heinous crimes of the CPV against their same blood citizens, hundreds of thousands of peasants, lower class and middle class farm, land owners and workers have been brutally killed during the Land Reform Campaign in Vietnam during 1950s, thousands of innocent people have been buried alive in city of Hue during Tet offensive 1968, properties of millions of families had been confiscated (actually robbed off with no compensations). They were forced to live miserably in the starving and deadly New Economic Zones without required basic governmental preparation and assistance. I remember vividly a “local PhD. in Economics” (NXN), an extremely arrogant master of this idiot and completely failed “New Economic Zones” national policy. Now, he stills shows his thick skin by launching his own petty “economic articles” and “preaches out loud” his “free lessons of economics” for Vietnam and even for the US . Are there any other people on earth who still have to suffer CPV’s atrocious repressions like Vietnamese for over 61 years, if we took 1945 was the year when the Indochinese Labor Party was founded by the international butcher and uneducated liar Ho Chi Minh ?

Days ago, the whole world was so sorrowful saying their last farewells to the Late Russian President, Boris Yelsin, the one who courageously stood up straight on his army tank to lead his fight against the dogmatic coup leaders of the Communist Party of Soviet Union to liberalize dozens of nations from the Soviet Union’s invasion, regaining freedom for hundreds of millions people in Russia and East Europe . Late President Yelsin once said:”It is impossible to change the communism, the only way is replacing it completely”.

The Communist Party of Vietnam has systematically acquired and resold hundreds of thousands of females including under-aged kids to the international sex rings in the neighbor countries. They have confiscated properties of all religious Churches, all citizens and state properties including national land and sea territories and resourceful mines of different kinds under Vietnam ’s sea beds and resold them to China for billions of dollars and to exchange them for political protection. In a worst sense, the CPV has converted state-owned properties of all kind into Mafia CPV’s members’ properties.

Power ready in their hands, they have freely robbed off innocent, defenseless and hopeless people to enjoy their extremely luxury sinful lives, days in and nights out, throwing away millions of dollars that they had robbed off from people and from international humanitarian and economic development/ assistance funds without sweating to waste cash in casinos in Macao, Hong Kong and adult entertainment centers in Thailand, Malaysia…They do not want to spend those free-loading cash that they bribed and earned via various corruption channels in Vietnam because fun games are still limited in Vietnam and they want more exciting games at international casinos and entertainment centers. When their cash coffins are depleted due to their carelessness or forgetfulness these coffins are immediately refilled and overflowed without a single glitch.

They have deprived all people’s rights of freedom and democracy using secret and uniformed police, prisons and horrifically mental and physical tortures. They have persecuted, physically assaulted Mennonite Ministers Nguyen Hong Quang, Nguyen Cong Chinh, Ngo Hoai No. They have demolished Catholic churches, charity organizations, Catholic schools at all levels and torn down with no mercy the peacefully solitary residences of the most respected Buddhist Venerable and Buddhist Hoa Hoa leaders such as Thich Thien Minh, etc.

They have physically assaulted the leadership of Buddhist Hoa Hoa Church such as Mr Le Van Soc, Nguyen Van Tho. Specifically, last TET (Vietnamese New Year), the CPV launched their second TET offensive 2007 (similar to TET offensive of 1968) to imprison hundreds of peaceful activists who had participated in campaigns demanding democracy and human rights for Vietnamese people inside Vietnam such as Nguyen Ngoc Quang, Pham Ba Hai, Attorneys Le Quoc Quan, Nguyen Van Dai, le Thi Cong Nhan, novelist Tran Khai Thanh Thuy, etc.

The whole world had been shocked and extremely outraged while witnessing Father Thaddeus Nguyen Van Ly’s mouth was smothered tightly while he was denouncing “Down with the Communist (Party of Vietnam)” during his trial and other 4 activists who have been all demanding democracy and human rights for Vietnamese people. No other trial has ever been considered more than barbaric, uncivilized and unlawful than Father Ly’s trial. A month already passed by, now Father Ly and hundreds of other democracy activists are being shackled in dark, isolated, crowded and horribly smelly solitary jail cells full of human urine and feces. Hungriness and feeling of being physically and mentally terrorized have horribly nailed down their skinny and starving bodies on coldest cement floors as I have experienced myself during my jail time in a variety of communist prisons along with repeated physical assaults on my skinny and starving body. These democracy activists, now prisoners, are lacking everything such as sun light, clean drinking water and air to breathe. They are making friends with millions of starving wild “malaria” mosquitoes and aggressive blood sucking lice.

Our ancestors once said “One day in jail is longer than a thousand years to live freely outside”. The communist prisons are much more horrific compared to the above scenario. It is my hand-on experience as I was jailed in various communist isolated jail cells for years. I swear to God to be absolutely honest in my heart in my statements.

Human beings are stepping into and moving forward to the third millennium with lot of potentials for global interdependence and mutual cooperation. However, the CPV still shackles Vietnamese people as their own slaves. It needs hundreds of year so Vietnam can be advanced economically, technologically and ethically as Singagore, a few dozen of years to catch up with Thailand in all aspects.

Has Father Thaddeus ever committed any crimes against humanity? Is his demand for authentic and verifiable democracy and human rights for his people who have been currently under horrible repressions in Vietnam totally wrong? Is his demand for freedom of religion/ faith, freedom of speech, protesting against the CPV’s outdated and backward totalitarian dictatorship regime all wrong? Is his demand for respect of people’s dignity wrong?

On the other hand, is the back-and-knees-bending philosophy to accept all social inequalities, dishonesty and frauds in Vietnam in order to be left alone, be selfishly comfortable staying away from CPV’s harassments and be easily granted exit visas to travel around the world to solicit contributions for their selfish churches ethical enough and socially accepted by any social and ethical standards?

Critically speaking, is the sheepish silence, dastardly weaknesses of powerful leaders in some Churches (specifically Vietnam Conference of Catholic Bishops…) in front of immoral Comunist Party of Vietnam in a completely ethically and legitimately rusted society that tolerates and nourishes crimes, systematic corruption and prostitution be ethically accepted?

Witnessing the weak, defenseless and unprotected people who currently suffer hopelessly in the middle of cruel oppression, being physically assaulted by armed robbers such as Mennonite Minister Nguyen Cong Chinh or homeless people’s properties being robbed off by the CPV or fellow citizens being arrested or imprisoned, but keeping mouths real shut and stepping away to other side of the roads and pretending being completely blind seeing nothing on the roads to go straight without thinking, without worrying to help victims are ethically and socially tolerated and accepted? I mean spiritual leaders of Vietnam Conference of Catholic Bishops, who keep silent without explanations for years while Father Thaddeus Nguyen Van Ly has been in jails for most of his life and was recently sentenced to 8 years in prison and 5 years of home confinement. Other 4 democracy activists were sentenced to 6, 5 and 2 years of prison and years of home confinement and probation. In Vietnam under the CPV, PROBATION AND HOME CONFINEMENT MEANS EXTRA JAIL TIME.

The famous lesson of the Good Samaritan that a man was attacked and robbed and left alone to die by the side of a road. Later, a priest saw the stricken figure and avoided him, presumably in order to maintain ritual purity. Similarly, a Levite saw the man and ignored him as well. Then a Samaritan passed by, and, despite the mutual antipathy between Samaritans and the Jewish population, he immediately rendered assistance by giving him first aid and taking him to an inn to recover while promising to cover the expenses. He gave the innkeeper two denarii’s, silver coins equal to an entire day’s wages for an average laborer. I am crying out loud to reiterate this sad but interesting story in the Bible while I pay absolute respect and sympathy to Father Thaddeus Nguyen Van Ly and his 4 democracy activists who are current being left dying in prisons without enough air to breathe and clean water to drink.

I respectfully would dare to challenge all of you and each of you to provide American and Vietnamese people with your most objective and workable solutions to my critical questions and concerns today. These extremely painful scenarios of injustice, inequalities, systematic corruption, giant rings of human trafficking of females and under-aged kids, robbing people’s properties that they work their whole miserable lives to earn them, etc. are vividly happening in every second in Vietnam now. Please remember that.

People who care about Vietnam and Vietnamese people and be proud of over 4000 years of Vietnamese culture have been badly suffering similar thorniest pain in every single minute. Everybody is witnessing and acknowledging the systematic destructions in Vietnam , hiding them tactfully and skillfully under very deep faking and flashing prosperities in big cities in Vietnam such as Hue , Saigon and Hanoi . Everybody sees and understands the destructions morally, socially and politically in Vietnam now but only very few people and very few young intellectuals in Vietnam dare to speak up their concerns, interventions or protests. And they all have been put in jails.

To sum it up and make a conclusion, I would like to say briefly that my pains and concerns about horrible persecutions in Vietnam still remain unsolved. Please accept my profound appreciation to your kind attention to my presentation today. May God bless you and your loved ones. Thank you.

Respectfully yours,

Rev. Nguyen Thanh

Former Prisoner of Conscience after April 30, 1975

Former Military Catholic Chaplain of Marine Division of

Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces