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    Tuesday, February 22, 2005

    Religion in Vietnam 2

    I wrote the other day about the different sides of Vietnam's religious freedom record. Today my friend sent me this article from the Christian Post that shows more steps Vietnam's government is taking to guarantee religious freedom.

    Although good steps have been made recently, I fear it is "a day late and a dollar short." The Bush administration has a penchant for clamping down hard in the international arena, and is very cozy to the christian right--the group that is most vocal about freedom of religion in Vietnam. [The libertarian in me points out that this is undoubtably because the Protestant churches stand to gain the most in membership, wealth, and influence through a fully open Vietnam.] Both of these trends are bad for Vietnam, because it seems to me highly unlikely that Bush will allow Vietnam to go without sanctions. It's not his style.

    Reasons aside, I am heartened by the additional news that Vietnam is moving forward, but I don't think the US government will lift the CPC designation just yet. I hope that progress continues to be made because I continue to dream of one day returning to a Vietnam embraced fully by the international community.


    VietPundit said...


    I appreciate your goodwill toward Vietnam, and share your dreams for a free and democratic Vietnam. I'm not sure what your background is, but based on my background and experience, you'd pardon me if I'm a little more skeptical than you are about the current government's intentions. I guess we just disagree about what approach to take to democratize Vietnam. Maybe yours is too soft, and mine is too hard, and we need something in the middle. I do think, though, that you place too much faith in the government's words. May I suggest you also take a look at some non-official-Communist websites, such as Vietnam Human Rights Network, and Action For Democracy in Vietnam.


    Triet said...

    No problem. I have personal reasons for erring on the side of optimism. I should put more of that in a biography section. Maybe in my post I put too much faith in the government's words--you could definitely be right.

    However, besides my previously stated personal stuff, I do think that often the world tries to pressure for change through negative actions. My father used to tell me "you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." Often, living in SoCal, I felt the Viets working for change in Vietnam were using too much vinegar. There are so many young people in Vietnam (especially Saigon) that are naive to the injustices of the Vietnamese govt, but through positive enticing on their level and the government level, perhaps change could be effected more rapidly.

    Definitely you are correct in reminding me that human rights violations are violations. Nowhere, as I saw in Vietnam, should people be banned from talking about politics over the internet, or chat programs. My friends would be banned from practicing religon if they went back. Change must be made.