Ðằng Vân:

A Slap on the Face of George W Bush and John Howard

Point of View

Week Ending 3 December 2006

Barely a couple of weeks after America’s removal of Vietnam from the CPC (Countries of Particular Concerns) list of the US State Department in relation to religious oppression, its ascension to WTO, its hosting of the APEC summit and its leaders’ solemn promise to the world that they would move the country towards openness and market reforms, PM Nguyen Tan Dung did an immediate about face.

In a bizarre directive no. 37 signed by him dated 29 November 2006 entitled “Directive on the implementation of the Politburo’s Conclusions on measures to increase leadership and management of the media”, the apparently “legally qualified” PM states among others:

“Clause 2 (a): The Culture-Information Department…is determined to terminate the activities of all media organs which do not comply with the law, which do not adhere to the aims, objectives, which frequently make errors, or organs which have duplicated aims, objectives.

                (d):..Is determined not to privatize the media in any shape or form and shall not allow any organization or individual to take advantage of, interfere with to benefit (privately) from, to harm the national interests.

Clause 6: All departments, Government organs, Provincial People’s Committees, cities directly under central control, media leadership organs with leadership responsibilities, are to organize to seriously implement the conclusions of the Politburo relative to the media and this directive, periodically report on media activities and the duties of managing the media to the Culture and Information Department. The minister for Culture-Information has the duty to supervise the situation and report each term on the result of the implementation to the Politburo, Secretariat and the Prime Minister.”

The intention of this directive is clear for all to see. The CPV no longer trusts a significant section of its own media and wants desperately to purge its ranks. The CPV wants to make it plain that it must own the media in order to hold on to power. In this day and age, when national borders are irrelevant and information is really beyond any dictator’s control, whether the CPV can effectively assert its total control remains a mooted point. There are also different factions vying for power within its own ranks. Purging media rank and file is easier said than done. The increasingly popular electronic media, from the Vietnamese Diaspora, reaching inside Vietnam is of course totally beyond control. This directive may be nothing but CPV’s wishful thinking.

However this directive is still bizarre indeed for a PM who is supposed to be “legally qualified”. His directive is blatantly unconstitutional to say the least in that although article 4 of the constitution provides that the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) is the force “leading government and society”, there is yet to be any enabling legislation to specifically give government to the CPV. Thus the fact that a prime minister or a government department takes upon itself the duty to implement the conclusions of a political party, whose Politburo has never been democratically elected by the Vietnamese people, is a direct insult to the intelligence of the people. This is of course totally unlawful as well.

Mr. PM Nguyen Tan Dung, where is the lawyer in you?

Obviously PM Nguyen Tan Dung and clique must have made lots and lots of promises to George W Bush, John Howard and other APEC leaders. To such an extent that all of them praised the CPV’s regime to the ninth heaven, upon setting their feet on Vietnamese soil.

The CPV knows that it is free to invest in all Western media organs. It said nothing about its own media and gave the impression that all state enterprises could be subject to privatization and foreign investments. As a result, both George W Bush and his loyal deputy sheriff (not only in the Middle East but also in Asia-Pacific) John Howard, readily surrendered all their respective republican and conservative values such as human rights, personal freedom and democracy, in pursuit of appeasement of the Hanoi dictators, at the expense of the aspirations of the whole 84 million Vietnamese individuals.

As soon as they left Vietnamese soil, PM Nguyen Tan Dung issued this directive. This is indeed a slap on the face of George W Bush and John Howard. Both of these leaders could have immensely benefited from the now famous warning by former South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu (despite all his incompetence and corruption):

”Do not listen to what the Communists say, just watch what they do.”

PM Nguyen Tan Dung is a true Communist. He always speaks with a forked tongue and world leaders should get used to this from now on.

The Australian PM John Howard is a lawyer by profession. Like other lawyers he merely went through a normal law school at a normal Australian University. The Vietnamese PM Nguyen Tan Dung is much more than that, and in consequence, is a totally different category of fish.

Judging by his conduct, in addition to Communist law (whatever it may be), he must have spent the majority of his lecture time studying the laws of the jungle. This is and will be indeed the prevalent laws in Vietnam for as long as the CPV rules. The fact that the Vietnamese people suffer intensely under such laws may not bother the American President, or the Australian Prime Minister.

But the fact that American and Australian investors shall also suffer within a regime of the laws of the jungle should be of real concern to them.   

Ðằng Vân

4 December 2006