Vietnam dissident urges political action
A prominent Vietnamese dissident
has called for other activists in the
country to challenge the ruling
``I am going to organise -- and this is
a challenge to the government -- a
meeting of former political prisoners
in Vietnam,'' said Nguyen Dan Que,
a 57-year-old medical doctor and
former long-term political prisoner.
``We, with other people, want to
agitate for changing a divided
Vietnam... Myself and other activists
are acting along with our people,'' he
added in a recent interview.
But Que, freed in an amnesty last
year, said he was unable to contact
other dissidents. On May 11, he
released a communique through the
Internet calling for freedom,
democracy and an end to human
rights abuses in Vietnam.
His telephone was cut soon after and
a document seen by Reuters showed
that on June 9 the Police Ministry
ordered the post office to cancel his
Internet account. His mail was being
intercepted, he added.
``I am actually... completely isolated
from the outside world,'' said Que,
who spent 20 of the last 22 years in
jails where he says he suffered
torture, forced labour and a lack of
food and medicines.
A top ideologue, Dao Duy Quat,
deputy head of the party's powerful
Ideology and Culture Commission,
said on Monday the party would
never accept political pluralism.
Hanoi also rejects charges it detains
and jails people for the peaceful
expression of political or religious
views. Que has previously been
classified as a common criminal
because ``anti-socialist'' activities are
a crime in Vietnam.
Que urged diplomats and other
foreigners to visit dissidents, saying
this would help guarantee their safety
if they spoke out.
He said his house in the former
Saigon was under constant
surveillance, while his wife, daughter,
son-in-law and niece had been
repeatedly questioned by police.
Que, a former Noble Peace Prize
nominee and probably the only
member in Vietnam of rights group
Amnesty International, stressed that
in the new post-Cold War world
order the country needed to change.
``But I don't support violence... After
all the wars we don't want to spill
one drop of blood,'' he said.
Reuters - August 06, 1999.