Congress dared not disclose the Chengdu Conference 1990 - Dân Làm Báo

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Congress dared not disclose the Chengdu Conference 1990

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Danlambao - Early morning of October 15, 2014, security police in Hanoi and Saigon cities mobilized maximum forces to stop and harrass any potential participants in the civil campaign requesting for the Right To Know; in particular, the right to know the contents of the Chengdu Conference. Over the past weeks, there had been calls on social media for public participation in the march to the House of National Assembly at 9 am on Oct.15, 2014, to present to members of Congress a public request for the government’s transparency of the factual and legal bases on which official decisions were made at the Chengdu Conference in 1990 with China.

As predicted, this public demand for the disclosure of the “secretive” Chengdu treaty signed in 1990 has caused panic within various ranks of the communist party. Security police utilized several dirty tactics just to oppress, and deny the right to know of patriotic citizens. 

Trinh Kim Tien with
In front of her is a security police.
In Hanoi, since the previous night of Oct. 14, 2014, there had been a stakeout by 3 security police and 1 district police officer in front of blogger Trinh Kim Tien’s house. The following morning, they stopped her from heading out to join other activists at the House of National Assembly. However, while being surrounded by security police, she protested by standing in front of her house holding up a hand-made sign that said “I Want To Know”. Despite being physically restrained, she wanted to share, in spirit, her support and participation in the civil campaign. Many others also faced the same obstacle as she did and could not make it to the meeting points to demand for their right to know due to security police’s tight surveillance and harrassment. 

Nevertheless, there were some who succeeded in breaking through police surveillance and arrived in front of the House of National Assembly in Hanoi. Among them were the famous actress Ms. Kim Chi, bloggers and activists Nguyen Van Vien, Nguyen Van Lich, Le Hong Phong, Nguyễn Tường Thụy, Trương Văn Dũng, Ngô Duy Quyền, Vũ Quốc Ngữ, Nguyễn Thanh Thuỷ, Lê Hùng, Hà Thanh... and other peasants and farmers, whose land had been illegally confiscated, also arrived from rural areas to join in the civil campaign.

Large forces, including police 113, civil defence units, secret police, security personnel, “public-opinion spinners”, and Red Guards were all mobilized in large numbers to obstruct citizens’ legitimate rights: the right to know and the right to express their civic duties towards their country. 

Several “public-opinion spinners” tried to provoke the campaign participants by cursing profanity, and insulting them. Some of the State hired-hands resorted to violence and tried to beat up blogger Nguyen Tuong Thuy. However, instead of stooping down to the secret police’s level, and reacted strongly against them as they anticipated, the campaign participants remained calm but resolute, and formed into a circle surrounding their fellow blogger to protect him from the police’s punches and kicks. They were well aware that the police wanted to create violence and chaos in order to have legitimate excuses to disperse the crowd, and to arrest them. They upheld the principles of non-violent struggle and remained calm and well-disciplined. 

Out of frustration, some of the State’s “public-opinion spinners” also made up flyers containing defamatory remarks cursing and insulting blogger Truong Van Dung, who was among the civil campaign participants in Hanoi, hoping to provoke angry reaction from the bloggers’ community.

When the campaigners tried to enter the Office of Congress located at 22 Hung Vuong Street, a security guard stopped them and refused to accept their letter addressed to the National Assembly. He told the campaigners to instead take their request to the civil reception office of the Executive Government located at 1 Ngo Thi Nham Street.

The National Assembly is the highest authority of the State, which supposedly represents the voices and aspirations of the people but when the people try to exercise their civil rights, they are constantly suppressed, insulted, and assaulted, even chased after by police cars equipped with loudspeakers to verbally harrass them.

In Saigon, the same blockage and surveillance had occurred the night before October 15, 2014. Early Wednesday morning, police concentrated heavily on all the blocks surrounding Hoang Van Thu Street. The Office of Congress was fenced off, its gate was locked, and there was no sign of activities. Security police was present in large mass and their hired-hands also dominated the place.

Congress Office in Saigon was fenced off, its gate was locked.

At 9am, in response to calls for participation, the Land Petitioners Solidarity Movement with some 30 members from several Western provinces arrived in Saigon to join in the march to present the common request to the National Assembly. Upon their arrival at the location, hundreds of police and security men and women rushed over to oppress them violently. The petitioners were beaten savagely, their phones were snatched, and their female group leader, Ms. Tran Thi Hoang, and 11 others were detained and carried back to their provinces by force.

According to the “We Want To Know” campaign organizers, based on past experiences, they were not surprised at all by the security police’s behaviours. They continued calling for more people to participate in the campaign and firmly believed that this was only the beginning of a long process which was not only to advocate for the right to know, but also to prove to the people of Vietnam as well as expose to the free world the wrongdoings of the Vietnamese authorities:

- Security police tried by all means to prevent Vietnamese citizens from exercising their most basic civil rights: to request to be heard as voters; to express their aspirations, as constituents, to members of Congress, who were supposed to be their representatives. 

- Members of the National Assembly shut their doors and hid behind closed walls so as not to receive the people’s legitimate requests.

- Obviously the Chengdu Conference contained improper and damaging terms for Vietnam’s national interests, and the authorities had been trying hard to hide it since 1990; even the citizens’ rightful request for disclosure was also suppressed and denied.

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