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Cablegate: National Assembly Rejects Congressional Criticism of Vietnam On Human Rights

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.


2000HANOI01193 - UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED PTQ6218

PAGE 01 HANOI 01193 01 OF 02 010957Z
ACTION HCR-01

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 ACQ-00 CIAE-00 DODE-00 ANHR-00 SRPP-00
DS-00 EAP-00 FBIE-00 UTED-00 VC-00 H-01 TEDE-00
INR-00 VCE-00 NSAE-00 SS-00 VO-03 DSCC-00 DRL-02
NFAT-00 SAS-00 /007W
------------------5DC340 010957Z /38
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 0002
INFO ASEAN COLLECTIVE
AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 001193

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/BCLTV, H, DRL
H PASS TO INTERESTED MEMBERS OF CONGRESS AND STAFF

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM PGOV VM HUMANR
SUBJECT: NATIONAL ASSEMBLY REJECTS CONGRESSIONAL CRITICISM OF VIETNAM ON HUMAN RIGHTS

1. SUMMARY: VICE CHAIRMAN OF THE VIETNAMESE NATIONAL
ASSEMBLY PHAN QUANG CALLED IN THE AMBASSADOR MAY 18 TO
PROTEST HOUSE RESOLUTION 295, WHICH CRITICIZED VIETNAM FOR
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AND POLITICAL REPRESSION. ON BEHALF
OF THE ASSEMBLY, QUANG "REJECTED" THE RESOLUTION, AND IN
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 HANOI 01193 01 OF 02 010957Z
PARTICULAR CONGRESSIONAL CRITICISM OF ARTICLE 4 OF THE
VIETNAMESE CONSTITUTION, WHICH ENSHRINES THE COMMUNIST PARTY
AS THE COUNTRY'S ONLY POLITICAL PARTY. QUANG SAID THE
RESOLUTION "HINDERED THE PROCESS OF NORMALIZATION OF
RELATIONS" BETWEEN THE U.S. AND VIETNAM. FOLLOWING THE
MEETING, VIETNAMESE MEDIA WIDELY REPORTED HIS REMARKS, IN A
MUCH MORE STRIDENT TONE THAN GIVEN BY QUANG. THE AMBASSADOR
REITERATED THAT IN THE UNITED STATES, MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
FREELY EXPRESS THEIR VIEWS AND THAT THE U.S. WOULD CONTINUE
TO WORK FOR NORMALIZATION OF RELATIONS. HE AGREED HE WOULD
PASS ON QUANG'S VIEWS TO MEMBERS OF CONGRESS. END SUMMARY.

AMBASSADOR CALLED IN TO PROTEST HOUSE RESOLUTION
--------------------------------------------- ---

2. PHAN QUANG, ONE OF THE VICE CHAIRMAN OF THE NATIONAL
ASSEMBLY, REQUESTED A MEETING WITH THE AMBASSADOR MAY 18 TO
PROTEST HOUSE RESOLUTION 295, "RELATING TO CONTINUING HUMAN
RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AND POLITICAL REPRESSION IN THE SOCIALIST
REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM." THE RESOLUTION PASSED MAY 3 BY A VOTE
OF 415 TO 3. AMONG OTHER THINGS, THE RESOLUTION CALLS ON
THE PRESIDENT TO "RESTATE AND MAKE CLEAR" TO VIETNAMESE
LEADERS THAT "THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE FIRMLY COMMITTED TO
POLITICAL, RELIGIOUS, AND ECONOMIC FREEDOM" FOR VIETNAM'S
CITIZENS. QUANG SAID A NUMBER OF NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
DELEGATES, WHO ARE MEETING FOR ONE OF THEIR TWO MONTH-LONG
SESSIONS DURING MAY, HAD EXPRESSED ANGER WITH THE
RESOLUTION, AND HE HAD BEEN ASKED TO SHARE THESE CONCERNS
WITH THE AMBASSADOR.

3. THOUGH QUANG WAS POLITE AND MILD-MANNERED DURING HIS
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 HANOI 01193 01 OF 02 010957Z
REMARKS, HE READ FROM A PREPARED TEXT IN STRONGLY
CRITICIZING THE U.S. CONGRESS FOR "BRAZEN INTERFERENCE" IN
VIETNAM'S INTERNAL AFFAIRS. QUANG CLAIMED THAT
"REGRETTABLY, THE MOVE OF THE (HOUSE) HAS, FAR FROM MAKING
CONTRIBUTIONS, HINDERED THE PROCESS OF NORMALIZATION OF
RELATIONS" BETWEEN THE U.S. AND VIETNAM. HE CLAIMED VIETNAM
HAS NO POLITICAL PRISONERS OR "PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE," AS
NOTED IN THE RESOLUTION; HE SAID ALL OF THOSE IMPRISONED IN
VIETNAM HAD BEEN CONVICTED ACCORDING TO VIETNAMESE LAW.

4. QUANG SAID ASSEMBLY MEMBERS WERE PARTICULARLY ANGERED BY
CONGRESSIONAL CRITICISM OF ARTICLE 4 OF THE VIETNAMESE
CONSTITUTION, WHICH ENSHRINES THE COMMUNIST PARTY (CPV) AS
THE COUNTRY'S ONLY POLITICAL PARTY. (NOTE: 85 PERCENT OF
MEMBERS OF THE ASSEMBLY ARE CPV MEMBERS.) QUANG SAID THE
CPV HAD PLAYED THE LEADING ROLE IN VIETNAM'S STRUGGLE FOR
INDEPENDENCE, FREEDOM AND REUNIFICATION, AND IN CARRYING OUT
"DOI MOI" (RENOVATION) REFORMS SINCE THE MID-1980'S. HE
CLAIMED THE RESOLUTION'S CALL FOR VIETNAM TO HOLD "FREE AND
HONEST ELECTIONS" WAS NOT SOMETHING DEMANDED BY THE
VIETNAMESE PEOPLE, SINCE THE PEOPLE HAD SHOWN THEIR SUPPORT
FOR THE CVP SINCE THE "NATIONAL LIBERATION" STRUGGLE. HE
SAID THIS WAS A "GROSS VIOLATION" OF THE VIETNAMESE PEOPLE'S
RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF CHOICE AS EXPRESSED IN LAST NOVEMBER'S
NATION-WIDE GENERAL ELECTIONS FOR PEOPLE'S COUNCIL SEATS.
(COMMENT: THOSE ELECTIONS, PARTICIPATION IN WHICH WAS
MANDATORY FOR CITIZENS, WERE CONDUCTED WITH NO TRANSPARENCY
IN THE VOTE COUNTING. END COMMENT.)

5. THE AMBASSADOR RESPONDED THAT IN THE UNITED STATES
MEMBERS OF CONGRESS ARE FREE TO EXPRESS THEIR VIEWS AND THAT
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 HANOI 01193 01 OF 02 010957Z
THIS RESOLUTION WAS ADOPTED BY MANY MEMBERS. HE SAID THAT,
DESPITE THE CRITICAL TONE OF THE RESOLUTION, MOST AMERICANS
AND MEMBERS OF CONGRESS WERE COMMITTED TO CONTINUING TO WORK
FOR FULL NORMALIZATION OF RELATIONS. HE NOTED THE U.S.
GOVERNMENT HAS FULL DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH VIETNAM.

6. AFTER THE MEETING, THE EMBASSY WAS INFORMED THAT THE
MEETING WOULD BE PUBLICIZED IN THE PRESS. OVER THE NEXT
SEVERAL DAYS, VIETNAMESE STATE-CONTROLLED NEWSPAPERS, RADIO
AND PRIME-TIME EVENING NEWS ON TELEVISION USED THE MEETING
TO BLAST THE CONGRESS FOR THE RESOLUTION. THE CPV
MOUTHPIECE "NHAN DAN" (THE PEOPLE) AND OTHER PAPERS BLASTED
THE "ARROGANT INTERVENTION" AND "ABSURD DEMANDS" OF THE
RESOLUTION.

7. COMMENT: VIETNAMESE GOVERNMENT AND CPV CRITICISM OF THE
U.S. OVER ACTIVISM ON HUMAN RIGHTS IS PAR FOR THE COURSE IN
HANOI, THOUGH THIS PROTEST WAS PARTICULARLY STRONG. PART OF
THE REASON IS THAT CRITICIZING THE LEADING ROLE OF THE
COMMUNIST PARTY GOES WHERE NO VIETNAMESE IS ALLOWED TO GO.
SUCH CRITICISM IS SEEN AS PARTICULARLY SENSITIVE, SINCE IN
VIETNAM THE CPV'S "LEADING ROLE" IS SACROSANCT. ALSO A "HOT
BUTTON" ISSUE IS SRV CONCERN OVER THE RESOLUTION'S APPROVING
WORDS ABOUT THE INITIATION IN WESTMINSTER, CALIFORNIA OF A
MEMORIAL TO AMERICAN AND SOUTH VIETNAMESE SOLDIERS WHO
"SACRIFICED THEIR LIVES FOR THE CAUSE OF FREEDOM DURING THE
VIETNAM WAR." AS NOTED EARLIER SEPTEL, LIKE THE PARTY'S
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 HANOI 01193 02 OF 02 010957Z
LEADING ROLE, THE OFFICIAL VIEW OF THE "NATIONAL LIBERATION"
VICTORY IS A THIRD RAIL OF VIETNAMESE POLITICS. END
COMMENT.

8. ACTION REQUEST: QUANG ASKED THE AMBASSADOR TO SHARE HIS
MESSAGE WITH MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, AND WE REQUEST H TO SHARE
THIS MESSAGE WITH INTERESTED MEMBERS AND STAFF.
PETERSON

UNCLASSIFIED

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