[Tie^'ng Vie^.t]   [French]

Statement of Overseas Vietnamese Intellectuals on the Arrest of Dr. Nguyen Thanh Giang by the Vietnamese Communist Authorities

We, the undersigned Vietnamese intellectuals living outside of Vietnam, are agreed on the following:

  1. On March 4, 1999, the communist authorities in Vietnam arrested Dr. Nguyen Thanh Giang on the street in Hanoi in a brutal and uncivilized manner: maintaining a silence on the cause of the arrest, keeping his whereabouts a secret, and not going through any basic legal due procedure. The only reported reason for the arrest was Dr. Giang's possession of some documents considered by the authorities as "against the interests of the Communist Party of Vietnam."

  2. Dr. Nguyen Thanh Giang is a geophysicist of world renown. He has made major contributions to the geological survey of Vietnam and has disseminated his findings among the youth. He has represented Vietnam at many world conferences and has earned the high esteem and respect of his colleagues in the scientific community.

  3. Besides his work in the scientific field, Dr. Nguyen Thanh Giang has invaluably contributed his thoughts to the debate regarding how to build a free, democratic and prosperous Vietnamese society. Though he has at times offered harsh criticisms towards the Communist Party of Vietnam, he never advocated the use of violence. He has merely spoken the true voice of an intellectual who is concerned about the present conditions and the future of his country.

    Dr. Giang's personality and knowledge are well-known and respected in intellectual circles both inside and outside of Vietnam, by Vietnamese as well as by foreign friends. Despite all that, the communist authorities have brutally and conspicuously arrested him, disregarding the very fundamentals of a civil and civilized society.

We, Vietnamese intellectuals living in several countries all over the world, therefore:

  1. Strongly denounce to world public opinion the gross violations of human rights by the Hanoi authorities. Not only has the Vietnamese communist regime intentionally ignored the most basic legal procedures, it has also disregarded its own Constitution, in which Article 69 recognizes everyone's right to freedom of opinion. In doing so, Hanoi has also acted in direct contravention of the basic freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights respected by all civilized societies, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a signatory.

    We therefore call on world public opinion, and especially on the solidarity of intellectuals all over the world, to exert strong and effective pressures on Hanoi for the immediate and unconditional release of Dr. Nguyen Thanh Giang.

  2. Resolutely denounce to our compatriots in Vietnam, most particularly the intellectuals, the Vietnamese Communist Party's current wave of repression, aiming to silence all voices of the people and especially of the intellectuals. That wave of repression is meant to reinforce the totalitarian rule of the Communist Party and to protect the privileges of a small group of incompetent, corrupt, and exploitative leaders, causing Vietnam to slide further and further into a quagmire of backwardness.

  3. Emphatically appeal to intellectuals and all other concerned compatriots inside Vietnam - in view of the survival of our country and our people - to seek every way to come together and defeat all these repressive schemes, now and in the near future.

    Let all the voices be raised firmly and straightforwardly in a call for a direct dialogic confrontation with the communist regime, just as Dr. Nguyen Thanh Giang and many other intellectuals inside Vietnam have been doing.

    All these combined and indomitable voices will cause our people to wake up and will shake the world's public opinion, thus causing pressures for a total transformation, which will result in a bright future rooted in true freedom and democracy for Vietnam.

  4. We, overseas Vietnamese intellectuals, are determined to use all our strength and every means at our disposal to call on the people and governments all over the world to show support and solidarity with the movement of intellectuals and other conscious people in Vietnam for a free and democratic Vietnam.

We pledge our close cooperation with the intellectuals and other compatriots inside the country.

The role of our compatriots inside Vietnam is to stand up and face the communist regime; ours is to do our very best to call on the whole world to support that cause.

We will fulfill that role.

Drafted and signed on this Fourteenth Day of March 1999

List of signatures ordered by name. We are still collecting signatures. A more up-to-date list will be updated when it is available.

How to sign the above statement.

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