By NGUYEN-KHOA THAI-ANH
Since President Clinton lifted the trade embargo (Feb. 3, 1994) and normalized relations with
Viet Nam (July 11, 1995), rapprochement between the two former enemies has grown at a steady pace despite ’s record of human-rights abuses. It seems the ebb and flow of Viet Nam Viet Nam’s crackdown on human rights and religious activists go in tune with its favorable trade and milestones reached with the and European trading partners, such as the Bilateral Trade Agreement in 2001 and the allowance of permanent normal trade relations in 2006. U.S.
In fact, there was a period of relative lull for
dissidents who seemed to enjoy their short-lived climate of unbridled expression and criticism of their government. Yet no sooner than Viet Nam’s ascension to the WTO and its removal from the Countries of Particular Concern list in 2007 that the world witnessed the widespread and organized brutal crackdown of a several dozen conscientious objectors. Chief among them Father Nguyen van Ly ― made famous by a photo of him being gagged in front of Viet Nam court ― attorneys Nguyen van Dai and Le thi Cong Nhan, and the Bay Area’s own Do thanh Cong, an expat Vietnamese American who went on a 34-day hunger strike in Viet Nam prison until the U.S. diplomatic negotiation won his release and status of persona non-grata with Viet Nam. Viet Nam
Despite intercession by the U.S. Congress and diplomatic, behind-the-scenes efforts by the American embassy and others, the
To change the tide, the
While many in the