October 19, 2021

US: Trump, Kim meet in human rights hell

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By John Gizzi From Newsmax

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrives in Dong Dang, Vietnamese border town Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019, ahead of his second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump. (Minoru Iwasaki/Kyodo News via AP)

Read Newsmax: Trump, Kim Meet in Human Rights Hell | Newsmax.com 
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Whatever emerges from the summit this week between President Donald Trump and North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un, it is highly unlikely that the international spotlight on host nation Vietnam is going to change with it having one of the world’s most abysmal records on human rights.

A 2019 annual report, “Human Rights Watch” concludes that Vietnam’s appalling human rights record actually “worsened in 2018 as the government imprisoned dissidents for longer prison terms, sanctioned thugs to attack rights defenders, and passed draconian laws that further threaten freedom of expression.”

In what could easily be an historical assessment of Russia under Stalin or a contemporaneous review of Kim’s North Korea, the report points out that “the Communist Party of Vietnam monopolizes power through the government, controls all major political and social organizations, and punishes people who dare to criticize or challenge its rule.” 

“Human Rights Watch” notes there is no independent media and the government “controls TV, radio, newspapers, and other publications.”

There are no labor unions, or political organizations and, according to the report, “police subject dissidents to lengthy and bullying interrogations, and detain them incommunicado for months without access to family members or legal counsel.”

An independent judiciary is non-existent in Vietnam.  The courts are, “Human Rights Watch” points out, “Communist Party-controlled” and “receive instructions on how to rule in criminal cases.”  The same courts “have issued increasingly harsh prison sentences for activists convicted on bogus national security charges.”

As a recent example, “Watch” cites the trial last year of twelve people for “conducting propaganda against the state.”  Sentences ranged from 4 to 12 years. 

Where bloggers have used the internet to advance freedom and challenge autocratic leaders in Egypt and Tunisia during the “Arab Spring,” they don’t get a chance to start in Vietnam. 

Bloggers, “Human Rights Watch” points out, “face frequent physical assaults by officials or government connected thugs, who are not punished for these attacks. In June and July of 2018 in Lam Dong province, unidentified men threw rocks and a handmade incendiary device into the house of a labor activist and former political prisoner, Do Thi Minh Hanh. In August, security agents brutally beat rights activists Pham Doan Trang, Nguyen Tin, and Nguyen Dang Cao Dai after a raid on a concert in Ho Chi Minh City.”

Perhaps aware of the role the Internet has played in political upheaval elsewhere, the National Assembly of Vietnam passed a law which went into effect last month requiring service providers to take down offending material within 24 hours of receiving a request from the Minister of Public Security or the Ministry of Information and Communications.

“Internet companies also are required to store data locally, verify user information, and disclose user data to authorities on demand without a court order,” concludes “Human Rights Watch,” underscoring that all  “threaten the right to privacy and could facilitate further suppression of online dissent or activism.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

© 2019 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

For more on this story go to: https://www.newsmax.com/john-gizzi/trump-kim-vietnam-human-rights/2019/02/26/id/904373/?ns_mail_uid=6952f1f9-507d-4a20-8cc0-0a1db158d76e&ns_mail_job=DM17969_02262019&s=acs&dkt_nbr=010502ad4igr

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