The Road to Bac Lieu

Bài phóng sự Đường về Bạc Liêu do cộng tác viên của Danlambao tường thuật đã được một blogger dịch ra tiếng Anh để bạn đọc có thể gửi đến cho người ngoại quốc về tình trạng trấn áp của an ninh đối với những người tham dự đám tang bà Đặng Thị Kim Liêng. Dân Làm Báo gửi đến các bạn trong thôn và cảm ơn NamViet News đã chuyển đến Danlambao bài dịch.

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The Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP) has continually resorted to using violence to suppress and to quell any forms of dissidence in Vietnam, including conducting systematic campaigns of beating, harrassing, intimidating, and killing of non-violent protests by farmers whose ancestral land has been misappropriated by corrupt communist officials for the VCP and their own benefits [1]. While the VCP is conducting official investigations into the death of Mrs. Dang Thi Kim Lieng [2], who was officially reported as a result of an act of self-immolation due to injustices dealt to her personally by local officials and the pressure boring down on her by the VCP in Saigon and Hanoi in its attempt to engage her assistance in getting her daughter Ta Phong Tan (whose blog often mentions social injustices in Vietnam) subdued. Below is the translated version of an eyewitness account of the VCP’s terorist act against its own citizens. 

Upon hearing of the death of Mrs. Dang Thi Kim Lieng, Ta Phong Tan’s beloved mother, the Former Prisoners of Conscience and Religion Friendship Association delegation whose members include Truong Minh Duc, Truong Minh Nguyet, Bui Minh Hang, Father Nguyen Manh Hung and Nguyen Bac Truyen’s daughter decided to pay Ta Phong Tan’s family their final respect in Bac Lieu city. 

The road to Bac Lieu is filled with “flies and mosquitoes” 


Ta Phong Tan’s family allows Ms. Bui Hang (in black clothing) to grieve in place of her (Ta Phong Tan) being absent from attending her mother’s funeral 

Departing Saigon at 2 P.M. on July 31, 2012 (a day after Mrs. Lieng’s death), we discovered that there were many “strangers” (plainclothes police officers) hanging around the Saigon Redemptorist Church. These “strangers” only stopped following us at the National Highway 1 junction when our car entered the Saigon-Trung Luong highway. By the time our car got to the Long Dinh bridge in Tien Giang province, three local traffic cops stopped our car. No traffic violations on our part and our papers were checked out. 

When we questioned these local traffic cops about their unlawful act of stopping our car, their answer was “we stop your car because somebody reported to us that your car has engaged in a hit-and-run accident”. Unable to come up with any further proof about such allegation, and feeling the pressure brought on by onlookers, who were now getting more crowded around us as time went by, these cops came up with another feeble reason to stop our car: “we think that the driver is using a fake driver license identification card”. Since it’s imperative that we should make our trip to Mrs. Lieng’s home as least unimpeded as possible, we agreed to the cops’ suggestion, which allowed them to write up a ticket whereas they could keep a copy of the driver’s car license I.D., and in return, they would let us continue on with our trip. 

We noted that while our car was unlawfully stopped by the Tien Giang’s traffic cops, their actions were very similar to those “strangers” that we first encountered at the Saigon Redemptorist Church: they constantly got on the phone, asking someone (of higher pay or authority) for directions and guidance as to how to deal with us. Their manners showed signs of being agitated and highly pressurized by their bosses or higher authorities when conducting acts of covert snooping and following dissidents. 

We knew that we would be continually harassed by the VCP’s thugs, aka security agents, undercover cops, etc. throughout our trip. When we stopped our car in Vinh Long city for supper, we noticed that we were being followed by a Vietnamese SWAT team. As our car entered a section of Vinh Long that is sparsely populated, the SWAT team chased after us, bypassed our car, and ordered us to stop the car. When asked for the main reason of stopping our car in the middle of the road, the SWAT team’s answer was “to check if our car’s tires are worn out yet”. Pity on our dedicated cops in their constant zeal of protecting citizens’ welfare that we felt their actions could only compound our fear of them. 

No lack of gangsters in Bac Lieu 

During the delegation’s stay at Ta Phong Tan’s house, local authorities sent thugs (security agents or undercover cops) to intimidate those who have come to attend Mrs. Lieng’s funeral. Additionally, there were other thugs that brazenly stole money or gífts donated to Ta Phong Tan’s family in front of local cops, who surrounded the house in an attempt to harass or to prevent vísitors from attending the funeral or to offer their condolences to the family. There were also numerous thugs who came equipped with knives and machetes, and they stationed on many roads leading to the house. These thugs threatened would-be visitors to the funeral with their menacing words and sharp objects as mentioned above. Local authorities had already prohibited Ta Phong Tan’s family’s neighbors from attending Mrs. Lieng’s funeral or from selling flowers to funeral visitors since “that family is a family of reactionaries”. 

One national security policeman had earlier visited Ta Phong Tan’s family and ordered “the family should not listen to counter-revolution people”. Ta Phong Tan’s family’s answer was “we would receive anybody who wants to attend the funeral. Go ahead and put those you consider “reactionaries” in jail if they are among these visitors”. A female government official even got the nerves to tell Ms. Bui Hang that “any friend of Ta Phong Tan is not allowed to attend Mrs. Lieng’s funeral”. This female government official retreated without answering to Ms. Bui Hang’s re-questioning her “who’s the boss that directed you to say that line (forbidding Ta Phong Tan’s friends from attending the funeral) ?” 

“Flies and mosquitoes” followed us as we returned to Saigon 

At 1 P.M. August 1, 2012, our delegation returned to Saigon. On our return trip, a car with a blue license plate “escorted” our car from behind. There were many escorting motorbikes in front and behind our car as well. Pray to the Almighty to bless us a safe return to Saigon, and may those “escorters” end up underneath some 18-wheel trucks so that they could never render harm anymore to innocent and helpless Vietnamese citizens. 

A normal funeral visitation gets the entire apparatchik worked up. No wonder there is “nobody home” to go after South China Sea’s pirates (China) to demand for the return of the nation’s properties (Paracel and Spratly archipelagos), or to spend time on how to develop the economy in such a way that would improve poorest members of society. 

Judging from the VCP’s reactions to this “event”, it could be safely said that it (VCP) is very worrisome about its own demise. It (VCP) is so fearful of a citizen’s death. How could it lead the country if its leaders are filled with such incompetence ? 

The nation and its people are very grateful to those courageous children that dare to overcome “difficulties along the way” to attend the funeral of Mother Vietnam’s funeral (Mrs. Dang Thi Kim Lieng’s), and to help her family getting away from being isolated by the VCP. 

Thanh NhãDanLamBao‘s correspondent in Bac Lieu 

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[1] Human rights violations by the VCP are well documented by well-known human-rights organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch – Vietnam, Reporters Without Borders, etc. 

[2] It’s very abnormal for the VCP to mobilize its police forces to investigate a citizen’s death. Certain bloggers attribute the VCP’s paying close attention to Mrs. Lieng’s death is due to the “grave concern” by the U.S. ambassador to Vietnam. History proves that “diplomatic engagements” by the U.S. government barely make any dent on improving the VCP’s human-rights records. The VCP would normally ignore the U.S.’s complaints since it knows that the U.S. needs Vietnam (90 million potential consumers, 70% born after 1975) more than it needs the U.S., i.e. Vietnamese expatriates sent home almost USD$10 billion in 2011, mostly from the U.S., Europe, Australia, and these countries turned a blind eye toward these financial transactions that constitute acts of supporting terrorist organizations such as the VCP. 

The chief reason that the VCP has such high interests in “investigating” Mrs. Lieng’s death has to do with its fear of being toppled by the Vietnamese people, who are fed up with massive corruption by VCP’s members, and their being content with staying below the poverty line while waiting for the VCP to find ways to improve the nation’s economy is getting out of the VCP’s control since they no longer believe in the VCP’s soothing words anymore. They have their own eyes and control their own thoughts to see that their lot has worsened after helping the VCP take control of governing the country after April 30, 1975. In other words, the VCP’s leaders would rather sacrifice a few lambs (bringing those cops who murdered Mrs. Lieng in Bac Lieu Provincial Administrative Building, then set her ablaze to cover up for their crime to justice) than to have Mrs. Lieng as Vietnam’s Mohamed Bouazizi, the street vendor whose death sparked a popular uprising in Tunisia, which led to the Arab spring.

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