The make up of the Vietnamese nation is very different from ancient time because the notion of a nation is not limited by physical borders but rather than a community of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, and/or history.
Since the fall of Saigon in 1975 into the hands of the communists, Vietnam has experienced the largest exodus in its history. Currently, more than 4 million Vietnamese origins are currently living and working in more than 104 countries and about half million Vietnamese are working temporarily abroad as guest workers. Based on the international legal standards, most countries of the world follow the principle of jus sanguinis rather than jus soli. Therefore, any descendent of Vietnamese origins is automatically a member of Vietnamese Nation and eligible to acquire Vietnamese citizenship. Vietnamese diaspora is inherently an integral part of the Vietnamese Nation. Vietnamese diaspora has contributed greatly to the development of the country over the past 20 years through overseas remittance about $10 billion per annum, investment of $10 billion per annum, half-million return as tourists per year, and multiple medical, educational and charitable missions.
The question is now being asked whether the ruling class, Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), is integral part of the Vietnamese Nation or a separate entity above the Vietnamese Nation?
The CPV is about to celebrate its 83rd anniversary on February 3rd with a current membership of 3.6-3.8 million members. It has gained absolute power and ruled North Vietnam since 1954 (59 years) and a unified country since 1975 (38 years).
The legitimacy of the ruling rights of CPV is in question. The CPV achieved absolute power through arm struggles by eliminating other nationalist and patriotic groups or parties and waged wars againts the French and the Americans. The Geneva convention in 1954, calling for general election to be held in 1956, was broken in parts due to the true characters of Vietnamese communists acting as agents of the Communist International, Comintern.
As for the proof, Vietnamese communists have never submitted themselves to the popular votes and their 1946, 1959, 1980, and 1992 (and amended in 2001) Constitutions were never been submitted to the referendum. The draftings of these constitutions were made through the deliberation of Central Committee of CPV and with the directives from the big brother communist countries like Soviet Union or China. The constitution keeps changing according to the political environment of the time or the power struggle within the party.
Again, the communist party has recently drafted the revised constitution of 1992, which was just amended in 2001, and then submitted to the National Assembly for a few days of formal discussion. Instead of using the correct meaning of popular approval through the referendum process, it calls for popular referendum process through collecting the people’s feedbacks from 01/02-03/30/13. Then, the new amended constitution will be approved by the National Assembly by the end of the year.
Ironically, the new draft of the revised constitution of 1992 wants to reaffirm the leadership role of the CPV in the affairs of the State and Society, encoded in article 4:
“The Communist Party of Vietnam, the vanguard of the Vietnamese working class, the faithful representative of the rights and interests of the working class, the toiling people, and the whole nation, acting upon the Marxist-Leninist doctrine and Ho Chi Minh’s thought, is the force leading the State and society.”
The amended draft adds a clause: “The party will work closely with the people, to serve the people, and accept the control of the people and be responsible of its decision before the people.”
“All Party organisations operate within the framework of the Constitution and the law.”
Article 70 replacing Article 45:
“All units of the people’s armed forces must show absolute loyalty to the Communist Party of Vietnam, the motherland and the people; their duty is to stand ready to fight to safeguard national independence and sovereignty, the country’s unity and territorial integrity, national security and social order, to safeguard the Party, the State, the People, the socialist regime, and to join the entire people in national construction and perform international duty.”
Interestingly, the CPV is imposing again its leadership role in the conducts of the State affairs and Society onto the Vietnamese people and demands the Vietnamese People’s Armed Forces to pledge allegiance to the Party ahead of the State and its people. This reminds of the allegiance oath that German Wehrmacht had to make to Hitler. There are no other articles in the constitution defining the organization and functioning of the Party and the control mechanism of the Party’s responsiblity and accountability before the people.
The CPV has usurped the power of the people and has ruled Vietnam since 1954 without the people’s democratic consent. In a real democratic process of drafting a constitution, an Constituante Assembly is elected with the task of drafting a constitution and submitting the final draft of the constitution to the people for approval through a referendum. The defunct Republic of Vietnam conducted itself the described democratic process for its constitution of 1956 and 1967. Las december, the Egyptians had a chance to approve its new controversial constitution in that same democratic process. Then, the National Assembly can be elected with the powers granted by the constitution.
The foundation of the current regime of Socialist Republic or Democratic Republic of Vietnam was imposed by force with the communists winning the wars. A self-proclaimed National Assembly was elected with the members approved by the Party and adopted the constitutions. The last legislative election was held in 2011, only 827 candidates were approved to run to fill the 500 seats of the National Assembly.
How representive can the current National Assembly be to speak for 90 million citizens with 62 million registered voters? Absolutely not!
Furthermore, 458 deputies are members of CPV who have to swear absolute loyalty to the Party. Despite this facade, the assembly is only in 2 one-month sessions per year, while all the powers are delegated to the Standing Committee, which is filled with high ranking officials of the Party.
Constitutionally, the National Assembly is the highest government organization and the highest-level representative body of the people. However, it functions as a legislative arm of the Political Bureau of the CPV. It converts Political Bureau resolutions into laws and decrees and mobilizes popular support for them. A bill originates in the Council of Ministers, which registers the bill and assigns a key party member to present it on the floor. Before presentation, the member will have received detailed instructions from the party caucus in the assembly, which has held study sessions regarding the proposed legislation. Once the legislation is presented, members vote according to party guidelines.
The decorum of the National Assembly speaks louder than a thousand words of description. Actual debate on legislation does not occur at the floor of the National Assembly. How can debates be conducted in such a decorum or setting?
It looks like a crowded classroom auditorium where the leaders make lecturing speeches from the high stage down to the floor, which is completely flat and the seats are arranged in straight rows. This decorum clearly shows it is not intended for debate or discussion.
Furthermore, the banner at the top of the highest body of the country indicates clearly once more than the Party is above all.
On the contrary, the 150 members of Central Committee of CPV enjoy a different setting for their meeting, which allows more space and more conducive for discussion and debate.
With a long record of ruling Vietnam, mistakes must have been committed. However, Vietnamese communists have ruled with absolute power and such brutality to implement their embraced foreign ideology, Marxist-Leninist-Maoist. The failed economic policies and revolutionary and discriminatory culture against the middle and upper classes can be amounted as crimes against the Vietnamese people. The Vietnamese communists have about 5 million deaths on their hands according to the thesis of Dr. Patrick Du Long and committed terrorist acts during the Vietnam war.
Does CPV deserve the legimacy to be the sole leader of the country and society? Absolutely Not!
As Vietnam rarely enjoys peacetime, one should look forward and forgive about the past. Vietnam’s history has been known mostly by wars and occupations by foreign powers. Vietnam was colonized by China more than 1,000 years and invaded by China more than 17 times after since. Vietnam was colonized by the French for about 80 years. Unfortunately, the wars for independence were just the wars to import a foreign ideology and utopia of Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist-Maoism.
Vietnam under the Democratic or Socialist Republic has never truly been independent country because the CPV has been applying the revolutionary ideology and policies of Soviet Union and China. After 74 years of communist rule in the USSR, the theory of Marxim and Leninism failed miserably, which lead to the collapse of the old Soviet Union and Eatern European countries from the communist yoke.
Again, the revised constitution draft, reaffirms the leadership role of the Party and demands the allegiance of the People’s Armed Forces to the Party, is outrageous as the country, the nation, the people and its armed forces should not be subjected to any political party. If the constitution is not submitted to popular referendum, the outrageous clauses regarding to the Party are null and void according to the democratic principles.
As the nation is facing the greatest threat to its territorial integrity by a more imbolding and imperialist China, Vietnamese nation should be united to defend the nation’s highest priority. The real national reconciliation steps should be taken place instead of protecting the CPV place above the nation. The CPV has chosen to oppress the Vietnamese patriotism against China’s aggression in order to appease the Middle Empire as the CPV relies on the CPC for its survival. More than 39 years that Hoang Sa or Paracel islands have been illegally occupied by China, which plans to invest $1.6 billion to develop tourism industry in the islands. Then, Hoang Sa will be lost forever. The CPV has not taken any concrete steps to reclaim Hoang Sa back for the past 38 years.
The CPV as an entity is above and not an integral part of the Vietnamese Nation. However, its members as citizens are fully part of the Vietnamese Nation. There are good and conscionable communist members who should voice their opinion in demanding changes and reforms. They can initiate stepwise approach to liberalize and democratize the regime as Burmese military has initiated. Nobody wants chaos and revenges in Vietnam.
They can emulate the reconciliation process taken place in South Africa. Vietnam could find a useful model for such a panel in South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The commission, established in 1995 following the end of apartheid in South Africa, held hearings to determine the scope of human rights violations that occurred during decades of racial segregation and unequal treatment. The hearings helped South Africa come to terms with its troubled past and move toward a more productive future. A similar plan can help Vietnam turn the page on its troubled history regarding its infamous re-education camps and other human rights violations. The truths needed to be learned so that the history will not be repeated, but the crimes should be forgiven in order to move the country forward.
If the communist members set aside their own party’s interest, Vietnam has a great asset and reliable ally than ever before which is the Vietnamese Diaspora present in 104 countries. Overseas Vietnamese are ready to help their native country to follow a more righteous path, which will provide equal opportyunity to its citizens. Overseas Vietnamese’s achievements are the testimony of the superiority of the societies they are blessed to live in, where rule of law, basic human rights and representative are respected. CPV can always be an integral part and active participant of a new Vietnam.
Vietnam is currently a communist country for the communists and by the communists. The government should be of the people, by the people and for the people.
Please “Long Live To The Vietnamese People!” and not “Long Live To The CPV”
Some pictures of National Assembly of real democracies: