• People Talk and My Ear Bleeds


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    Saturday, February 19, 2005

    Religion in Vietnam

    Today I received a mass email requesting me to pressure Sec of State Condoleeza Rice to reaffirm the CPC tag on Vietnam.

    Here's what the email said:
    Dear friends,

    Please write Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to urge her to implement "Country of Particular Concern" actions regarding Vietnam. The CPC designation is given to countries that severely violate religious freedom. The Secretary has until March 15th to undertake action.

    For your convenience, following are:

    1/ Sample letter to Secretary Rice
    2/ Press releases from US Commission on International Religious Freedom for background on the issue.

    Thanks and please spread the word!

    This "Country of Particular Concern" is very interesting to me, because you don't here much out of the American government about this. I received the email via Southern California, which we all know is the hotbed for Vietnamese activism. The actual background on the CPC can be found at www.uscirf.gov and click on the press release entitled "Rice required to act..."

    However, on a personal note, my experience being in Vietnam was a very pleasant one. I found that the main Vietnamese religions (Buddhism and Catholicism) were practiced by the citizens. Now, obviously Vietnam has gone through some hard times since 1975 and civil liberties theory is nothing like the United States, but to be fair, I must praise the Vietnamese people and government for the strides they have made to make Vietnam into the jewel of Southeast Asia.

    One example, which can also be found on the uscirf website, is the announcement that Prime Minister Phan Van Khai urged the government to help protestant churches. Obviously Vietnam has many issues on its plate, and religion is one, but not always the most immediately pressing, so it is impressive to me that this statement was made.

    I hope Vietnam can be recognized for the great strides it has made, and supported with the friendship we should have shown it 30 years ago so that eventually more strides will be made in the future.

    Like the viets used to tell me when I was first learning Vietnamese, "tu tu..."

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