To the people of Hong Kong and the people of Vietnam everywhere,
In the past two weeks, the peaceful protest against the Chinese government for denying Hong Kong the right to autonomy have sent a shock wave around the world and have attracted mostly support and admiration. This is the peak of a long struggle since Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997, and since 2012 when Beijing gradually going back on the promise to allow Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy with real democracy within 50 years. Apart from widening the gap between rich and poor which makes life difficult for the people of Hong Kong, the Chinese government also wants to take away the people’s right to nominate and to vote for their representatives, and to poison the youth with a brain-washing education.
In accord with many people and organisations in many countries and in Vietnam who are showing their support in many forms to the Hong Kong people, the following civil society organisations hereby declare:
1. We admire the peaceful attitude, the commitment, the organising skills, the cool-headedness, the discipline, and the civilised manner shown by Hong Kong students (numbering more than 100,000 secondary and university students) as they conduct the civil disobedience campaign. They are showing their opposition to the communist regime while facing a local government that is totally controlled by Beijing and a police force that is prepared to use violence (tear gas and pepper sprays).
2. We wholeheartedly support the teachers and parents who share the journey with young Hongkongers in their quest for democracy. The adults showing their understanding and support of the demonstrating youth means they share the same sense of duty and destiny. The support from the religious and spiritual leaders for their young followers means religions cannot be remote from the fight for justice.
3. We are very concerned about strangers committing violent and provocative acts in the commercial district of Mong Kok against demonstrating students who had been very peaceful and orderly. The common view is that the violent mobs were sent in by Beijing to cause troubles and spoil the demonstrations. We who have staged demonstrations in Vietnam understand this very well. We welcome your calm, non-violent response and your decision to cease dialogue with the government.
The current situation in Vietnam is much worse than Hong Kong. Our struggle is many time tougher. So to our Vietnamese people we’d like to send this message:
1. We wish Vietnamese youth have deep awareness of democracy, great courage, a broad spirit of unity and like to see many committing themselves to changing the status quo which is a thousand time more undemocratic and hostile to human rights than Hong Kong.
2. We wish that Vietnamese parents, teachers, and leaders know how to promote the love of freedom, the spirit of independence, to cultivate the democratic mindset in our young people, and are ready to support them in their initiatives and actions to reclaim human rights and civil right that have been wholly taken away by Vietnamese communists.
3. We strongly object to the advice issued by Vietnam Ministry for Foreign Affairs that Vietnamese citizens “should not go to areas with demonstrations to avoid complicated situations” and “hope that Hong Kong government will soon find a solution to stabilise the situation”. This is just an echo of Beijing’s declaration that “all Hong Kong issues are internal affairs of China” and warned other countries not to interfere. Vietnamese government’s statement is clearly to show support for Beijing in Hong Kong crisis, as a continual support for their master. This dependency is dangerous in international relation. It also shows the Vietnamese government’s panic reaction when they see the widespread support for Hong Kong peaceful demonstrations among Vietnamese people. The regime is desperately trying to block the wind of democracy that is blowing across China mainland to Vietnam.
4. We implore the people of Vietnam to learn from the struggles by young people from Eastern Europe at the end of the last century, in recent years from nations in Northern Africa and in the Middle East, and now in Ukraine, Shinjang, Tibet, and right now in Hong Kong where young people are showing the spirit and the mettle of the Tiananmen generation. Those peoples have determined to show the world what they thought and wanted. With the heroic and indomitable spirit of the Vietnamese people, we should be united and brave in charting a new course for the nation and search for a new destiny for ourselves. We are facing the clear danger of losing Vietnam to Communist China, which is being supported by a significant section of the Vietnamese Communist leadership.
We wish the civil disobedience campaign of Hong Kong people achieve all its major aims, and thus serve as an inspiration for the people in mainland China, and for the democracy movement in Vietnam.
Young people of Hong Kong, be the hope of the whole world!
1. Bach Dang Giang Foundation: Pham Ba Hai (MBE)
2. Bauxite Vietnam: Prof. Pham Xuan Yem, Prof. Nguyen Hue Chi
3. Civil Society Forum: Nguyen Quang A (Ph.D.)
4. Democratic Bloc 8406: Engineer Do Nam Hai
5. Cao Dai Church: Mrs. Bach Phung
6. Vietnam America Lutheran Church: Pastor Nguyen Hoang Hoa
7. Thuan Tuy Hoa Hao Buddhists church: Mr. Le Quang Liem
8. Independent Mennonite Church in Vietnam: Pastor Nguyen Hong Quang
9. Friendship association of Political and religious prisoners: Nguyen Bac Truyen (LLB)
10. Brotherhood for Democracy: Lawyer Nguyen Van Dai
11. Association to protect freedom of religion: Ha Thi Van
12. Gourd and Squash Mutual Association: Mr. Nguyen Le Hung
13. Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience: Dr. Nguyen Dan Que
14. Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam: Pham Chi Dung (Ph.D.)
15. Vietnamese Women for Human Rights: Ms.Huynh Thuc Vy
16. Chuong Bo Evangelical Protestant: Pastor Nguyen Manh Hung
17. Viet Labor: Ms. Do Thi Minh Hanh
18. Network of Vietnamese Bloggers: Ms. Pham Thanh Nghien
19. Nguyen Kim Dien Group: Catholic Priest Phan Van Loi
20. Oppressed Petitioners Solidarity Movement: Ms. Tran Ngoc Anh
21. Delegation of Vietnamese United Buddhists Church: Ven. Thich Khong Tanh.
22. Justice and Peace Office of Vietnam Redemptorists: Catholic Priest Dinh Huu Thoai