Quan điểm của Ts. Cù Huy Hà Vũ trên báo The Washington Post
LTS: Hôm nay, Chủ Nhật
18 tháng 5, 2014, tờ báo hàng đầu ở thủ đô Hoa Kỳ đăng bài quan điểm của Ts. Cù
Huy Hà Vũ. Trong cơn sốt đ̣i Trung Quốc rút giàn khoan ra khỏi lănh hải Việt
Nam, chừng như người ta quên rằng đấy chỉ là hiện tượng; chế độ độc tài lấy
Trung Cộng làm chỗ “chống lưng” để tồn tại mới là bản chất. Tác giả kêu gọi Hoa
Kỳ, qua các đối tác về mậu dịch và an ninh, đ̣i hỏi chính quyền Việt Nam xoá
bỏ các công cụ đàn áp dùng để bỏ tù những nhà đấu tranh. Chữ “trade” trong tựa
bài có thể hiểu là mậu dịch hoặc đổi chác (tù nhân).
Bad trade with
By Cu Huy Ha Vu
Facing mounting pressure from the international
community and seeking trade and security commitments, the Vietnamese government
recently released five prisoners of conscience. I was one of them.
Such releases are always welcome, but they should not be confused with actual
human rights improvements. There are an estimated 400 prisoners of conscience
in Vietnam. Even as a handful of dissidents were released, a larger number were
detained or sentenced to prison terms. Many in Southeast Asia believe that
Vietnam has replaced Burma as the region's worst violator of human rights.
The international community often focuses on pressing Vietnam for more prisoner
releases. While I benefited from such attention, it often backfires as a
diplomatic approach. The Vietnamese government treats prisoners of conscience
as commodities to barter with the United States and other Western countries for
security and trade benefits as well as foreign aid. Vietnam has stocked a
reserve of prisoners of conscience for future bargaining.
After Vietnam became a member of the World Trade
Organization and gained permanent normal trade relations with the United States
in early 2007, the Vietnamese government launched a brutal crackdown that has
swept up intellectuals, artists, bloggers, journalists, labor activists and
religious leaders. It goes on to this day.
Governments in the free world should demand that the Vietnamese government
dismantle its arsenal of instruments for repression - starting with the repeal
of Articles 79, 88 and 258 of its penal code - and link future trade and
security benefits to such legal reforms. It is not too much to ask: These laws
are not only a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
- to which Vietnam has been a party since 1982 - but also contradict the
The sole purpose of these laws is to ensure the survival of the regime of the
Vietnamese Communist Party. Article 88, which prohibits "propaganda
against the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam," silences critics
of the party – journalists and bloggers and other dissidents. This is a direct
violation of Article 16 of the constitution, which says "no person shall be
discriminated against in political life" - in other words, no one may be
harassed or persecuted, much less arrested or jailed, because of political
views that are contrary to the views of the state.
Article 258, meanwhile, targets those "taking advantage of the right to
democratic freedoms in order to violate the interests of the State."
Vietnam has no true "democratic freedoms," but its constitution
promises citizens their rights to freedom of expression, information, religion,
assembly and association. "Taking advantage" of one's rights is a
notion the government concocted to undermine the constitution so that the only
real freedom Vietnamese citizens have is to completely agree with the Communist
While Articles 88 and 258 target individual dissidents, Article 79 is designed
to prevent dissidents from organizing themselves to compete politically. This
law is used against anyone who peacefully organizes to oppose the party's
dominance or its policies. Independent labor unions, nascent political parties,
religious organizations, civil society associations that refuse to submit to
government oversight - all can be crushed by Article 79.
Two-thirds of the known prisoners of conscience are imprisoned under these
three articles. While they may not be familiar to many here in the United
States, they are heroes to those of us who want to build a Vietnam that is both
prosperous and protects fundamental human rights and the rule of law.
My residence in the United States affords me the freedom to express my
opinions, and for that I am most grateful. Thus, I respectfully urge the U.S.
government to use all relevant bilateral and multilateral venues, including
negotiations on trade and security as well as loans from international
financial institutions, to seek the immediate repeal of Articles 79, 88 and 258,
and the unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience charged under
Only by dismantling the instruments of repression will there be real and
irreversible improvements in human rights in Vietnam.
Cu Huy Ha Vu is a constitutional scholar who twice sued Vietnam's current prime
minister for unlawful conduct. Released from a Vietnamese prison last month, he
now lives in Northern Virginia.