THE EIGHT-POINT CLAIM OF THE VIETNAMESE PEOPLE / YÊU SÁCH TÁM ĐIỂM NĂM 2019 CỦA NGƯỜI DÂN VIỆT NAM


(Bản tiếng Anh được gửi đến các cơ quan ngoại giao quốc tế tại Hà Nội ngày 13/1/2019)

The Eight-Point Claim of the Vietnamese People

This Claim is addressed to:

· The leadership of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: the President, the Chairwoman of the National Assembly, and the Prime Minister

Also, to:

· All Vietnamese living in Vietnam and abroad

· The Secretary General of the United Nations

· International diplomatic representatives in Vietnam

Dear Sirs and Madams:

One hundred years ago, a group of patriots, writing under the pseudonym of Nguyễn Ái Quấc, prepared a document called “Claims of the Annamese People” (Revendications du Peuple Annamite), and subsequently sent it to the Versailles Conference in Paris, France, where victorious nations met in the aftermath of the First World War.

The Claim consisted of eight points, urging the French colonial government at that time to:

1. Release all Annamese political prisoners.

2. Initiate extensive legislative reforms throughout Indochina, to accord the indigenous people the same protection that the Europeans enjoyed; and completely abolish all special courts used by the colonial government as instruments to terrorize and oppress the most candid segments of the Annamese population.

3. Respect the freedom of the press and freedom of speech.

4. Respect the freedom to form associations and freedom of assembly.

5. Respect the freedom to live abroad and freedom to travel overseas.

6. Respect the freedom to study, and establish technical and vocational schools at the province level for all indigenous people.

7. Replace the rule by decrees of a regime with the rule of law.

8. Let a group of representatives elected by the indigenous people permanently represent the indigenous people at the French Parliament to help the Parliament know all aspirations of the Annamese people.

In the course of the last 100 years, millions of Vietnamese have sacrificed for the basic rights similarly demanded in the 1919 Claim.

The Vietnamese Communist Party, the only political party with total power in Vietnam today, has re-affirmed multiple times that Ho Chi Minh, its foremost leader, is indeed Nguyễn Ái Quấc, the one who signed the 1919 Claim. But, after 100 years, under the Communist totalitarian regime, the majority of the points mentioned in the 1919 Claim are in reality neither respected nor carried out, even though they were officially incorporated in the Constitution of a country that had been declared independent. They have been solemnly committed in all international treaties, pacts, agreements, and pledges in which the Vietnamese government has participated in the name of the country and her people, but in reality they have never been carried out to their fullest extent. In fact, they are overwhelmingly limited, manipulated, even distorted to the point where the end results are the opposite.

That is why, on the commemoration of the 100-year anniversary of the 1919 Eight-Point Claim of the Annamese people, we, all Vietnamese living in Vietnam and abroad, who love Freedom, Democracy and Justice, proclaim this 2019 Claim, asking the Vietnamese government to:

1. Unconditionally release all political prisoners, all prisoners of conscience, those who merely express their views and who are jailed by the Communist authorities on arbitrary charges such as “public disturbance,” “anti-government propaganda,” and “activities aimed to overthrow the People’s government.”

2. Enact extensive legislative reforms, so that all people are equally protected by laws; abolish all specialized legal institutions used as instruments of the Party to terrorize and oppress the most candid segments of the population, i.e. those who participate in non-violent demonstrations to seek redress to issues such as environmental protection and national sovereignty; those who criticize and rebuke official policies; and those who dissent politically. Respect the Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Speech; allow private media; and end censorship in any form (including regulations that restrict information flow on the Internet).

3. Pass and seriously implement laws to guarantee the Freedom to form associations and the Freedom to assemble in public.

4. Guarantee the Freedom to travel and reside anywhere in the country, and the freedom to migrate overseas and return from overseas.

5. Guarantee the Freedom to study, academic freedom, the autonomy of universities and colleges, and depoliticize every level of educational institutions.

6. Guarantee that all statutes passed by the National Assembly and implementing regulations must be genuinely faithful to the Constitution. Public referendums must be held on any issue that greatly affects the living conditions of the population or the security of the country. Replace the system of directives dictated by the Communist Party with the rule of law, aiming eventually to establish a separation of powers system of three independent branches of government: Legislative, Executive, and Judicial.

7. Hold free, fair, and transparent elections, including the right to self-nominate. Abolish the “Nominated by the Party, Elected by the People” system.

We resolutely believe that the only path to free Vietnam from its economic lagging, political and social corruption, and the imminent threat of losing national sovereignty to foreign powers is one in which the Vietnamese leadership fully implements the eight points as outlined in the Claim. To do that is to lead Vietnam step-by-step toward the goal of “prosperous people, strong country, and democratic, equal, civilized society.”

We urge all Vietnamese citizens to exercise his/her constitutional rights and not to wait for permission from any authority; and, in doing so, to step up the pressure to demand the government to enact and implement legislation and regulations with the express purpose of protecting those constitutional rights, and to hold accountable any individual or organization that impedes the citizen from exercising those sacred rights.

We solemnly and urgently call upon the United Nations and all nations that have established diplomatic relationship with Vietnam to pay attention to the aspiration and will of the Vietnamese people, and to urge the Vietnamese government to respond favorably to the claims mentioned above.

December 19, 2018

On behalf of 22 organizations and more than 1,600 individuals (as of 12/31/18),

1. Nguyễn Quang A, Ph.D. of Computer Science, former Chairman of Vietnam I.T. Association, Representative of Vietnam Civil Society Forum

2. Nguyên Ngọc, Writer, Representative of Vietnam Independent Writers Association

3. Phạm Chí Dũng, Journalist, Representative of Vietnam Independent Journalists Association

4. Lê Thân, Social Activist, Representative of Lê Hiếu Đằng Club, Vietnam

5. Phạm Xuân Yêm, Professor, former Director of Research CNRS, France, Representative of Vietnam Bauxite Group

6. Nguyễn Văn Đài, Attorney, Representative of Vietnam Democracy Brotherhood, presently exiled in Germany

7. Vũ Quốc Ngữ, Social Activist, Representative of the Defend the Defenders Group

8. Võ Văn Ái, Writer, Representative of the Committee to Defend Vietnam Human Rights

9. Nguyễn Khắc Mai, Director of Vietnam Culture Institute, Vietnam

10. Nguyễn Kiều Dung, Ph.D. of Economics, Vietnam

11. Hoàng Hưng, Poet, Co-Founder of Vietnam Independent Writers Association

12. Nguyễn Huệ Chi, Professor, former Chairman of the Scientific Council, Literature Institute, Vietnam

13. Võ Văn Tạo, Journalist, Vietnam

14. Nguyễn Đan Quế, M.D., Co-President of Vietnam Prisoners of Conscience Association, Vietnam

15. Lê Công Định, Legal Scholar, Vietnam

16. Tuấn Khanh, Composer, Vietnam

17. Cù Huy Hà Vũ, Dr. of Jurisprudence, presently exiled in the U.S.

18. Lê Xuân Khoa, Professor (retired), SAIS, Johns Hopkins University, USA

19. Thái Văn Cầu, Space Systems Specialist, USA

20. Ngô Vĩnh Long, Professor, University of Maine, USA

21. Phạm Đỗ Chí, Ph.D., Economist, USA

22. Đinh Xuân Quân, Ph.D., Economist, USA

23. Đỗ Đăng Giu, Ph.D., former Director of Research CNRS, France

24. Nguyễn Ngọc Giao, Educator, France

25. Hà Dương Tường, Educator, France

26. Vũ Thư Hiên, Writer, France

27. Trương Thanh Đạm, Professor (retired), International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Netherlands

28. Nguyễn Đăng Hưng, Professor Emeritus, Université de Liège, Belgium

29. Nguyễn Sĩ Phương, Ph.D. of Mathematics, Germany

30. Nguyễn Đình Nguyên, Ph.D. of Medical Sciences, Australia

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