WASHINGTON — Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) today criticized the human rights abuses of the communist government in Ha Noi, ridiculed its censorship and called for the immediate release of Viet Kang, the noted Vietnamese songwriter imprisoned for expressing his political views.
Royce said of Khang, “Today, he sits in a Vietnamese jail for simply writing songs and posting them on the Internet. He – like all political prisoners in Viet Nam – should be free today.”
Royce’s comments came as he took part in a Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearing, “Examining Ongoing Human Rights Abuses in Viet Nam.”
“This hearing continues to shine a needed spotlight on these abuses. I hope the Obama Administration is listening,” Royce said.
Dramatizing communist government censorship with a visual display, Royce cited the case of a recent Wall Street Journal Asia editorial that criticized Viet Nam’s human rights record. His photo showed how the censored editorial looked to readers in Sai Gon.
“The communist government fears the truth. Each paper that was flown into Viet Nam had the editorial blacked-out with magic marker. They must have gone through a lot of markers,” Royce said.
“To me, this image of the editorial page says it all – the communist government can’t take the heat. That tells me that our speaking out helps and needs to be louder. The many brave Vietnamese men and women fighting for freedom deserve our support.”
Royce mentioned his Viet Nam legislation.
“I have legislation that calls for Viet Nam to be placed back on the Country of Particular Concern list for its atrocious religious freedom record. I also have legislation – that [former Rep.] Joseph Cao and I worked on – that would identify and sanction Vietnamese government officials committing human rights abuses. We should move these bills. That’s the least we should do,” Royce stated.
Today’s subcommittee heard from the following witnesses: Anh “Joseph” Cao, former Louisiana congressman; Nguyen Dinh Thang, Boat People SOS; Rong Nay, Montagnard Human Rights Organization; Phuong-Anh Vu, victim of human trafficking; and John Sifton, Human Rights Watch.