Thứ Hai, 24 tháng 6, 2013

OPEN LETTER: On the Honorary Doctorate Degree by Thammasat University to Vietnamese Communist Leader Nguyen Phu Trong


OPEN LETTER: On the Honorary Doctorate Degree by Thammasat University to Vietnamese Communist Leader Nguyen Phu Trong
Danlambao

...We are appalled to hear of the honorary doctorate degree that Thammasat University is going to grant Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong, who definitely must be held responsible for the increasing cases of human right abuses in a nation under the repressive rule of a mono-political party of which he is the top leader.

How can a person like Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong be honored by one of the oldest universities in Thailand that educates and advocates students “to emphasize the benefits of living by the philosophy of sufficient economy, democratic values and social justice.”?

We fear that by awarding Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong with an honorary doctorate, Thammasat University will be seen as providing support to a politician whose words and deeds have proved to run counter to human rights and democratic values, and that the University may be mistaken by others as advocating for repressive rulers and dictators...
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Date: June 24, 2013
To: The Faculty of Political Science, Thammasat University
OPEN LETTER: On the Honorary Doctorate Degree by Thammasat University to Vietnamese Communist Leader Nguyen Phu Trong 
Dear Sir or Madam,
We are writing to voice our concern regarding the event that the Faculty of Political Science at Thammasat is about to grant an honorary doctorate degree to Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong, the General Secretary of the Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP). The award ceremony will take place at Thammasat University Main Auditorium on the morning of June 26, 2013.
We strongly believe that this decision of the Faculty should be reconsidered.
One of the missions of Thammasat University is “to emphasize the benefits of living by the philosophy of sufficient economy, democratic values and social justice.” We question whether the grant of the honorary doctorate to Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong contributes to the stated mission.
Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong, born in 1944, holds a bachelor degree in literature. In 1967 he became a member of the ruling VCP and has ever since been continuously promoted in the hierarchy of the VCP and its government. He used to be the Secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee before being appointed as Chair of the National Assembly of Vietnam in 2006 and General Secretary of the VCP in 2011.
His Party, since its establishment in 1930, has always been pursuing communism and using violent tactics to gain power. Upon the unification of the country in 1975, the VCP came into power by force and imposed political monopoly on the entire nation of Vietnam. In the post-war years, it adopted draconian policies against people of the old regime in southern Vietnam, deterring national reconciliation, suppressing political opposition and turning the Vietnamese government into one of the most repressive states in the world according to numerous reports of international human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Reporters Sans Frontiere, Amnesty International... 
Only when the economy and the people’s life were deteriorated severely did the VCP start its Doi Moi policy (a Vietnamese replica of the Soviet perestroika) in the mid-1980s. Since then, the national economy has attained growth and Vietnam is sometimes viewed as a new tiger in the region. 
However, the VCP keeps delaying political reform and whenever the party senses the people’s aspiration for democracy and freedom in the globalization era, it only becomes more oppressive. In the recent few years, given the worst economic recession since 1986 and the escalating tension with China concerning maritime sovereignty disputes, Vietnam has scored even worse records of human right violations with hundreds of crackdowns on peaceful demonstrations, arbitrary detention and severe prison sentences against political dissidents and human rights activists. 
As a propagandist, Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong has always been loyal to the VCP, a party whose platform is just to maintain political monopoly for its interests. Now, as a leader of the VCP, he is among the most conservative minds that cling to the obsolete ideology of communism and deny the country of the opportunities it needs to develop and flourish. 
In order to distract the public from focusing on the economic recession, the degrading life quality, and the lack of human and civil rights, the VCP launched a constitutional reform which purports to resemble an effort “to democratize” the nation by giving opportunities for the people to voice their opinions. Despite the stated aims of “constitutionalizing opportunely the Party’s major guidelines and policies,” and “reinforcing the entire rule of the VCP over the State and the society”, some Vietnamese bloggers have raised their voice about democracy and freedom rights and how they think a desirable constitution should be. In response to their good will and exercising of civil and political rights, Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong said in a meeting on February 25, 2013: “Who wants pluralism and multi-party system? Who wants separation of power? Who wants to de-politicalize the military?... This must be nothing else but deterioration! What would it possibly become to pursue mass litigation, demonstration and class action lawsuit?”
His speech was broadcast on national television and stirred a public outcry in the blogosphere and the Facebook community. The following morning, journalist Nguyen Dac Kien wrote an article in which he openly criticized Mr. Trong. Early that afternoon, Kien was fired.
The CVP since then has not stopped its suppression against opposition. In May 2013, a 21-year-old female student and her 25-year-old friend were sentenced to 6 and 8 years in prison respectively for “conducting anti-state propaganda” when they urged the government to protect Vietnam’s sovereignty against China’s aggressive sea expansion. To make the matter worse, within less than one month, two prominent bloggers were arrested and charged with “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the state”. Another blogger, also a lawyer and legal activist, will stand trial on July 9, 2013. 
We wonder where Vietnam will become under such a repressive regime.
Today, we are appalled to hear of the honorary doctorate degree that Thammasat University is going to grant Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong, who definitely must be held responsible for the increasing cases of human right abuses in a nation under the repressive rule of a mono-political party of which he is the top leader.
How can a person like Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong be honored by one of the oldest universities in Thailand that educates and advocates students “to emphasize the benefits of living by the philosophy of sufficient economy, democratic values and social justice.”?
We fear that by awarding Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong with an honorary doctorate, Thammasat University will be seen as providing support to a politician whose words and deeds have proved to run counter to human rights and democratic values, and that the University may be mistaken by others as advocating for repressive rulers and dictators.
With all due reference to Thammasat University’s philosophy and the academic values it creates, we strongly call upon the rector and dean of the university to reverse their decision of granting the award to Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong. 
The undersigns:
Dan Luan - danluan.org
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This open letter was also sent to:
Thammasat University
Bangkok University
Bangkok University International Colllege (BUIC)
Chulalongkorn University
Kasetsart University 
King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang
Mahamakut Buddhist University
Mahidol University
National Institute of Development Administration
Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi
Ramkhamhaeng University
Silpakorn University
Srinakharinwirot University
Thammasat University
Assumption University 
Dhurakij Pundit University
Dusit Thani College
Rangsit University
SAE Institute Bangkok
Saint John's Group of Schools and University
Siam University
Stamford International University
University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce
Bangkok Biznews (Bangkok) 
Bangkok Post (Bangkok)
Business Day (Bangkok) 
Chiang Mai News (Chiang Mai) 
Daily News (Bangkok)
Hallo, Das Magazin (Pattaya)
Irrawaddy News Magazine (Chiang Mai)
Matichon
Naewna
The Nation, Bangkok
Pattaya Blatt (Pattaya, Banglamung) 
Pattaya News (Pattaya, Banglamung)
Phuket Gazette (Phuket)
Siam Turakij 
Thainews (Bangkok)
Thairath (Bangkok)
Than News
Thai News Agency (Bangkok)
The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand
Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA)
Amnesty International Thailand
Prachatai
Asia Foundation in Thailand
Thai Netizen Network
International Thai Foundation "ITF"
Thai Media Policy Center
Southeast Asian Centre for e-Media (SEACeM)
Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)


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