Bạn đọc yêu quý,
Bauxite Việt Nam xin gửi đến quý bạn đọc toàn văn bản Kiến nghị về bảo vệ và phát triển đất nước trong tình hình hiện nay bằng tiếng Anh đã được cập nhật. Bản dịch sau cùng này do TS Vũ Quang Việt, Kim David và TS Phùng Liên Đoàn thực hiện cùng với sự cộng tác hết lòng của ký giả David Brown (Asia Times). Đây là bản đã hoàn chỉnh. Thay mặt Nhóm khởi thảo Kiến nghị chúng tôi xin cảm ơn dịch giả đã hoàn thành bản dịch với tất cả tấm lòng.
Bauxite Việt Nam
The National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and
The Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Vietnam
On the Defense and Development of the Country
In the Current Situation
We, the undersigned, respectfully send to your Excellencies this petition regarding the defense and development of the country in the current situation.
I. The independence, self-determination, and territorial integrity of the country are under serious threat.
1. China, from the vantage point of being “the manufacturing factory of the world” and its biggest moneylender, has aspired to become a world superpower. Under the cloak of “peaceful rise,” China is projecting its power in multiple forms to infiltrate and dominate other countries in all continents. A number of international analysts are of the opinion that China has surpassed most accomplishments of neocolonial countries since the end of World War II.
More recently, China has made serious escalations with the purposes of controlling and owning the East Sea (the Southeast Asian Sea) through actions that violate international laws and the sovereign rights of the countries surrounding this sea. In this connection China has unilaterally imposed the “nine-dotted U-shape line,” also known as the “cow-tongue line,” that encompasses 80% of the East Sea surface area. China has repeatedly declared that it has indisputable sovereignty over everything within that cow-tongue line and has carried out illegal activities there to affirm this claim in violation of international laws.
China is actively strengthening its naval forces, preparing to move in large oil extraction platforms, and carrying out military and non-military incursions into areas that are within the maritime territory of Southeast Asian countries. At the same time, China pursues actions aimed at creating disunity among countries within ASEAN.
2. In the maritime area which Vietnam has sovereignty and sovereign rights, China occupied by military actions in 1974 the entire Paracels1. In 1988, China took by force seven islets and rock formations in the Spratlys that were under our national sovereignty. Since then, China has regularly carried out actions intended to threaten and violate our maritime sovereign rights. For example, China has unilaterally imposed an annual fishing ban on the East Sea, chased away our fishing boats,
arrested them, detained them, and/or confiscated their catches and properties for ransom. China has pressured foreign oil companies to not sign or to nullify contracts for oil exploration on the maritime
1 The first part of Paracels has been occupied by China in the year 1956. – added by the translator of this Text.
economic zone of Vietnam. China has repeatedly sent Chinese Naval Surveillance Force vessels to carry out surveillances in the East Sea as if the sea is China’s actual property. Only last month, Chinese ships deliberately cut the oil exploration cables of two Vietnamese ships—the BinhMinh02 and Viking II—while these ships were in operation within the Vietnamese exclusive economic zone. These are among a series of escalating actions by China that are designed to threaten and seriously encroach on Vietnamese maritime territory.
Vietnam’s geography, geo-political and economic position vis-a-vis the world today appears to be an obstacle to China’s southward expansion in its march to become a world superpower. China has applied every possible covert and overt means, including military actions, to seduce, infiltrate, manipulate, threaten, and interfere with Vietnam’s internal affairs in the effort to weaken Vietnam so as to turn it ultimately into a suborndinate of China’s.
Vietnam has often appeased and employed every possible effort to accommodate China in order to establish cooperative bilateral relations. However, to date, the more Vietnam has cooperated, the more aggressive China has behaved.
3. Through a review of the relationship between China and Vietnam one could clearly see that China has accomplished important steps in its strategic plan to dominate Vietnam. Below are some main observations:
Economically, Vietnam’s trade deficit with China has increased dramatically (by 280% from 2006 to
2010), and since 2009 has approximated its total deficit with the world. Currently, we have to import from China 80% to 90% of the needed materials for our processing industries, a significant volume of petroleum, electricity, and various industrial inputs for other productions. One fifth of imports from China are consumer goods, and an equivalent amount enters Vietnam clandestinely from China. Of particular concern is the fact that recently China has won as much as 90% of all engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contracts in Vietnam in areas such as electric power plants, metal and nonmetallic refining facilities, chemical plants, and bauxite and titanium mining facilities. In contrast, China has imported from Vietnam agricultural products and raw minerals whose extraction leaves behind environmental problems with long-term consequences. In addition, China has been able to lease large industrial and forest lands near the common border , counterfeit money direct from China smuggled into our country. Our weak economy has been a fertile ground for China to infiltrate, control, and disrupt. And China has constructed huge dams upstream of our two largest rivers, causing consequences that we are not yet able to assess. Finally, we cannot ignore the fact that China has similarly infiltrated and controlled the economy and policies of our neighboring countries. If China succeeds in its strategy to own the East Sea, Vietnam’s routes to the world will be blocked.
Politically, given the fact that China’s infiltration and control of our economy has taken place over a number of years and is being continued, we should wonder as to what China has done to Vietnam and to what extent has the hand of Chinese soft power been able to reach into our internal affairs? Furthermore, to what extent has China been involved in the rampant corruption and social degradation in our society?
Our leaders have been too timid to make transparent details of the factual relationship between Vietnam and China for the Vietnamese people to be informed and to participate in seeking solutions. Such behavior on the part of our leaders has raised discontent among the people as they
have been unable to comprehend its true intentions. Concurrently the Party and the Government have seemingly become confused and alienated from the populace. As a consequence, international friends have become worried and hence hesitant to support Vietnam’s just cause.
On the relationship between Vietnam and China: Most recently the Vietnamese leadership’s conduct regarding Vietnam–China bilateral relations is reflected in the joint press release following the meeting between the Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the two countries. This press release, made public by the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry on 26 June 2011, contains vagueness that is unfathomable and raises public concern inside and outside the country. For example:
• The press release completely ignored the aggressive actions on the East Sea taken by China in violation of Vietnam’s sovereignty and sovereign rights. Instead, it stated: “The two sides held that the relationship between Vietnam and China has developed in a healthy and stable manner, meeting the common aspirations and fundamental interests of the Vietnamese and Chinese people, and benefiting peace, stability and development in the region.” If this sentence is aimed at describing the current bilateral relationship between the two countries, then it is not correct, contrary to reality, and therefore dangerous to Vietnam. What has happened is the opposite of the statement. The guidelines, namely the “16 Golden Words” (i.e., friendly neighborliness, comprehensive cooperation, long-lasting stability, and forward-looking to the future) and the “Four Goods” (i.e., good neighbors, good friends, good comrades, and good partners), are coined by the Chinese leaders themselves. Therefore we have to demand that the Chinese leaders honor this guidelines, and we should not irresponsibly join in the refrain of “the two sides underlined the need to persist on directing the Vietnam-China comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership to develop exactly in line with the motto of the “16 Words” and the spirit of the “Four Goods.”
• The press release further stated: “The two sides emphasized the necessity to actively implement the common perception of the two countries’ leaders on peaceful resolution of the disputes at sea through negotiation and friendly activities”. What is the content of the “common perception”? To date, the Vietnamese leaders have not made it clear. However, the Chinese side has unilateraly interpreted the “common perception” to its favor. The spokesman of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated on 29 June 2011, that “The Vietnam side should implement the common perception of the leaders of the two countries to solve the dispute at sea,” and that “Both countries oppose the intervention regarding the South China Sea by countries outside the region.” Chinese politicians and press have repeatedly stated the reason for the dangerous flare-ups in the East Sea is the provocative actions of Vietnam and other countries in the region. These statements sometimes added that Chinese public has been prepared and ready for a war to occupy the “series of pearls,” - the term China uses to refer to the islets and rocks in the Spratlys (that are more than 1000 kilometers from the southernmost land point of China). The vagueness in the joint press release is favorable to China and detrimental to our country, including our relations with third-party countries.
• The press release also stated: “[The two sides] stress the need to steer public opinions along the correct direction, avoiding comments and deeds that harm the friendship and trust among the people of the two countries.” China has used this statement to pressure Vietnam to restrain public opinion in our country, while allowing the Chinese press to publish
slanderous and anti-Vietnam articles. We need to affirm that public opinion in our country is needed to clarify China’s actions and its public statements that slander our country and our people. Public opinion in our country should play a support role to government political and diplomatic activities and should not be seen as “undermining the friendship and trust between the peoples of the two countries.” The Vietnamese people have the tradition and historic will, at all times, to sacrifice to maintain independence and to actively seek ways to build friendly relations with China. Vietnam has never attacked China. The Vietnamese people only rose up in arms to repulse China’s incursions and occupation in the past.
II. In the meantime, the nation is faced with multiple difficulties and risks.
1. Our economy is in a state of under-development, with low quality, little effectiveness, and prolonged crises.
Most of economic efforts during the past few years were focused on “putting out fires,” e.g., trying to getting the economy out of immediate difficulties such as inflation. Since 2007, inflation has been ongoing at the two-digits level (except in 2009), and estimates for 2011 are also in the high two digits. While internal and external resources have been mobilized at a high level that is heretofore unseen, their economic effectiveness is low. Our ICOR index, which has an inverse relationship with investment effectiveness, has been the highest ever, and is also the highest in the region. The import-export imbalance is high. Our budget deficit has crossed the alarm threshold (5% of GDP in accordance with international standards). Our economy continues to rely on poor infrastructures, resulting in low effectiveness and competitiveness. Our growth has been based mostly on investment and low-skill, inexpensive labor, as well as exploitation of natural resources to the point of exhaustion. Our natural environment has been gravely damaged. The disparity between rich and poor is widening, and the distribution of income has become ever more unjust. Injustices in the distribution and accumulation of assets, land lease and use, implementation of laws, and formation of new power groups and monopolies are major issues that run contrary to the nation’s goal of building “a well-to-do citizenry, a strong country, and a society that is democratic, just, and civilized.” The ultimate result is a situation where the nominal income per capita has increased but the quality of life has decreased in multiple facets, including increased human insecurity and worsened quality of life for peasants and the majority of workers and salary earners.
2. Cultural and Social Conditions in the country are deteriorating. New and progressive values cannot keep up with national development needs nor can they overcome social and morale dislocations. Social justice is seriously violated. People, the most valuable national assets, are not truly liberated.
Of the many areas of concern that need to be addressed is the state of national education. Our educational system is backwards in many aspects compared to other nations in the region, in spite of the fact that we have one of the region’s highest percentage of income used on education, viewed from both the national and the individual perspectives.
Our educational curricula, management, teaching and learning processes are quite backwards, sometimes even erroneous. We have a relatively high percentage of population with a general education, and the percentage of academic diplomas at every level attained by the citizenry is relatively high compared to countries at an equivalent level of income. However, in reality, the quality of human resources and the effectiveness of our labor are lower than those of many other
countries—far lower than what is needed to lift the nation to modern time. The fundamental reason is that the national educational system under the existing socio-political system does not aim at developing free and creative citizens who are empowered to be masters of the country. It is an educational system that aims at trophies and quantities irrespective of value.
Our people recognize and condemn the tolerance of falsehood and degradation in the national cultural and spiritual life. These poor social conditions, coupled with rampant corruption, create new types of injustices that damage our traditional values. The absence of transparency in all aspects of life is a fertile ground for corruption and negative values. This reality has become a serious barrier to the development of a healthy and civilized society, and has created an environment of lawlessness that is conducive to mediocrity in the political system.
3. The political system is rampant with contradictions and is a barrier to national development.
The current national economic, cultural, and social conditions clearly reflect increased contradictions within and degradation of our socio-political system and governmental structures. Our national economy faces the urgent need to change its structure and its pattern of development (from an expansive pattern of development to an intensive one), so that the national economy may enter into a sustainable period of development with higher quality. This new period requires changes in the political system in order to elminate all obstacles so that the best use of all resources could become possible. That is the way to renovate and to develop further the national economy. While the need for political changes has been mentioned by the leadership, no goals, plans, and methods have actually been devised for realizing this need.
Of particularly concern is the increasing corruption in the administrative and political system and the unethical activities of government personnel and party cadres. As this system has grown in size the scale of contradiction and corruption has likewise increased, thereby causing ever increasing losses for the nation. This situation, coupled with errors in organization and personnel deployment, renders ineffective efforts to renovate the political system in spite of much cost. Many projects are only for show, with falsities in both format and content. Democracy continues to be seriously violated. Running for and election to offices of power have not been accorded true democracy. Many citizens’ rights that are spelled out in the Constitution are not allowed nor protected in daily life; of these, are the rights to free speech, free access to information, freedom to establish groups and freedom to demonstrate.
It could be generally concluded that our nation is faced with the contradiction between the people’s desire to live in a country that is “peaceful, unified, independent, democratic, and prosperous” and to go along the progressive trends in other nations on the one hand, and a political system that is more and more degraded and ineffective on the other hand. This contradiction becomes more and more dangerous to the future of the nation as a result of the threat from China which in turn whets China’s expansionist appetite.
Since we cannot move our country geographically, the concatenation of present realities forces us to take a turn that is decisive to our nation’s future. Being a neighbor to an ambitious China that is on the way to become a world superpower, Vietnam needs to firmly protect its national independence and sovereignty, to command respect from China, and to develop a bilateral relationship that is truly for peace, friendship, cooperation and development.
This objective is very critical on numerous fronts, including the protection of our islands, special economic zones, and sea and sky in the East Sea in the face of Chinese claims that have become more and more ominous. China has conducted direct military attacks and is preparing more attacks. But the most dangerous front in which China concentrates power and influence is the infiltration and/or disruption of our economic, political, and cultural life. On this front, China carries out threats and inducements at the same time, in the name of the mutual safeguard of socialism, in order to sow division between our people and our political system. It infiltrates our leadership, weakens our national unity, and lessens our capability to maintain our national security and defense. If it defeats us on this front, China will defeat us on all fronts.
In face of a China that tries with all means to become a super power, without regards as to whether its activities violate international laws and conventions, ignore civil conducts and mores and raise instability everywhere, a new constellation has been formed in the world: Most countries in the world, perhaps only with the exception of China, want Vietnam to be independent, self-governing, prosperous, and developed, so as to be able to contribute to peace and stability in the region. They want Vietnam to have friendly and cooperative relations with its neighbors and the world, and to pursue mutual peace and prosperity. This new world attitude towards Vietnam is a tremendous opportunity for our country to deploy resources, in order to lift the nation to a position it deserves in the community of nations. To seize this opportunity and avoid the risk of isolation, the Vietnamese people and its leaders need to become involved in the struggle to preserve values that constitute the foundation of a progressive world; that is peace, democracy, freedom, protection of human rights, and protection of the environment.
III. Our petition
Given the above situation, we earnestly present the following petition to the Congress and the
Politcal Bureau of the Vietnamese Communist Party:
1. Make transparent before the Vietnamese people and the world community the real relationship between China and Vietnam; provide facts and reasons to support Vietnam’s sovereignty over the islands and exclusive economic zones in the East Sea in a manner that is convincing and compliant with international laws; affirm consistently our goodwill regarding building and preserving friendly and cooperative relations with China; state unequivocally our resolve to protect the independence, sovereignty, and integrity of our land and water. On this occasion explain the background, the true content and legal validity of the message that Premier Pham Van Dong sent to China’s Premier Zhou En Lai in 1958 regarding the East Sea, in order to conclusively negate the intentional misinterpretations by China. We should always make a distinction between a power group within the Chinese government that harbors unethical plans and illegal actions against Vietnam, and the friendly attitude of the majority of Chinese people toward the Vietnamese people. We should be ever ready to be friends and trusted partners of all nations. We should have particular respect for friendly and cooperative relations with other nations in Southeast Asia, major nations, and all nations concerned with the peaceful resolution of the competing claims in the East Sea.
2. Inform the entire people of today’s national realities and make them aware of the risks to the future of the nation. Seek unity, assemble spiritual, mental, and physical resources to develop and protect the country. The imperative demand is to renovate comprehensively the education and economic systems in order to raise the people’s levels of knowledge, consciousness and well-being, which are qualities absolutely needed for the protection and development of the country. In order to
do so, we need to overcome the misdirection of the national educational and economic systems caused by ideological orthodoxy. Political reforms, therefore, are a necessary precondition for all other deep-seated reforms.
3. Implement by all means citizen’s rights regarding freedom and democracy that have been defined by the Constitution. That is the way to liberate and promote people’s desire and efforts to build and protect the nation as well as to take advantage of new opportunities and to respond to the challenges and needs of today’s world. In the process of implementing the rights to freedom and democracy that are spelled out in the Constitution, it is necessary to seriously implement the rights to free speech, free publication, free expression of political views by peaceful demonstrations, free association, and transparency in all national activities.
4. Call upon all citizens, all Vietnamese living inside and outside of Vietnam, without any distinction as to political belief, religion, ethnic backgrounds and social positions, to accomplish national harmony and reconciliation and to unify the nation in the spirit of patrioism, fraternity and tolerance. All citizens shall close the page on our past differences in the interest of the national good. With all of our hearts, minds, and creativity all citizens shall stand hand in hand on the front for the construction and salvation of our fatherland.
5. Leaders of the Communist Party of Vietnam, the only power that exists in Vietnam, shall be totally responsible for today’s national condition. They shall commit to the national interest above all others. They shall carry the flag of the nation and democracy to push for political reforms and for the liberation of the people’s potentials for building and safeguarding the nation. They shall push back on corruption and social degradation. They shall bring the country out of today’s weaknesses and dependencies and to lead the country towards sustainable development. They shall bring the nation alongside other progressive nations in the world in the interest of peace, freedom, democracy, human rights, and environmental protection.
Finally, we earnestly invite our compatriots, inside and outside of Vietnam, to support and sign this petition. In doing so and in carrying out much needed activities for the goals stated above, we Vietnamese will have demonstrated our iron will to arrest and push back plans and actions that infringe on Vietnam’s independence, self-determination, and sovereignty. In doing so, we are resolved to eradicate injustice, poverty, and backwardness in our country. In doing so, we are building and preserving the nation, and we are upholding the Vietnamese tradition of standing up for our independence. In doing so, we will not be ashamed to stand before the people of the world and before our children and our children’s children.
Seize the opportunity to lead our nation out of danger and to build a sustainable society in peace. This is the sacred duty for all Vietnamese.
Made in Hanoi, July 10, 2011
Signature blocks are attached.
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[db1]The original wording sounds as though China evicted VNse trips from seven locations.
[db2]An encroachment is by definition serious.
[db3]Or, possibly, may decide
[db4]Without this, people could think we’re saying the message was legally valid. What do you think?