My Exit Visa Got Revoked and Passport Confiscated

May 19, 2015

Professor Nguyễn Huệ Chi

Translated by Thai Nguyen-Khoa

Bài “Tôi bị cấm xuất cảnh và thu hộ chiếu” của Giáo sư Nguyên Huệ Chi đăng trên Bauxite Việt Nam ngày 19 tháng 5 năm 2015 đã được đăng trên nhật báo Calitoday bản dịch sang tiếng Anh của tác giả Thai Nguyen-Khoa.

BVN xin đăng lại toàn văn để bạn đọc tham khảo.

Bauxite Việt Nam

The idea for me to visit my daughter’s family comes from my daughter.

On the occasion of her travel to Saigon to attend her grandfather Prof. NguyenDong Chi’s 100th anniversary workshop of his birth on May 7, 2015, she phoned me ahead of time: “I will buy your plane tickets inviting you and mom to Boston. We will leave together from Tân Sơn Nhất Airport about ten days after the workshop. We pondered her invitation for a week before accepting it.

On the evening of May 18, 2015, along with my daughter, my wife and I went to Tan Son Nhat Airport. At 11pm, we finished our check-in. Our baggage went on their way to Korean Airlines plane for a stop over in Seoul (my ticket was purchased from Delta Airlines, coded share with Korean Airlines with a direct flight from Saigon to Boston, transit in Seoul. But at the airport security gate, I alone were stopped. I was asked to come to the police station inside the airport. My wife and daughter went along.


Photo Courtesy: Facebook Nguyen Hue Chi

When the time came for take-off, people from Korean Airlines came looking for us and asked why the delay, which making the whole plane wait. The security police responded, “Mr. Nguyen Hue Chi is not permitted to leave for the time being.”"Why do you not let him go?” “No need to know the reason.”

My daughter spoke loudly so everyone at the boarding area can hear: “There are no reasons at all. They do it because they want to do it.” But I recommended that mother and daughter should continue on their journey lest they miss the trip, but I stayed back and took the carry-on into the station. A moment later the Korean flight attendants returned my checked baggage.

The encounter was brief and gentle, but the gist of the problem was beyond anyone’s comprehension: “The Hanoi Police does not to allow me to exit.” Even the police at Tan Son Nhat gate also said they do not understand: “Sir, do you have any problem with the law?” ” No! “” Did the Hanoi police have any exchange with you? ” “No!”

“Then even us, we could not understand.” Then I added: “Just a few days ago I was among the 20 writers who quit the Vietnam Writers Association.” The policeman looked at me, he did not seem surprised, but realizing the ramification, he just said: “Well, if someone doesn’t like to be in the Association then it is his right. Of the 20 who relinquished their membership were writer Nguyen Ngoc and poet Do Trung Quan … it wasn’t just you!” I understood clearly this was the answer, albeit an indirect answer, I should not engage in any more exchange. But what I was concerned was my passport, I asked: “I must get my Passport back then. That is my right. ” Then came the reply: “This cannot be. According to procedures we will hold your passport and send it to Hanoi.

You should go to Hanoi, then visit the Hanoi Public Security and claim your passport.” After hearing my answer: “I’ll stay back to enjoy Saigon for a few days!” another policeman chuckled: “If you don’t go right awa, they might think that the passport is not something you hold dear.”

I waited until the Vietnamese police named Viet finished typing 3 reports and went and fetch the signature of Lieutenant Colonel Hung, stamped and sealed, and asked me to sign. I told him clearly: “I do not sign, because it is unlawful and unconstitutional.” The Police facing me said: “Signing or not signing it is your right. But you should put down the words “I do not sign.” I wrote those words on all 3 reports. Finished, I shook their hands, then accompanying a Korean Airlines staff named Binh, who graciously took me out of the terminal and placed me in a taxi. I arrived at my son’s home exactly at 1 hour 15 minutes.

May 19, 2015, morning.

According to the minutes from Tan Son Nhat Security Police, this business was instigated by the Hanoi Police. Thus the Hanoi Police shall be fully responsible before the court of public opinion, and I, a citizen of Vietnam, was never committed any crime, on the other hand I have always been conscious to uphold and respect Vietnam laws.



Sáng lập:

Nguyễn Huệ Chi - Phạm Toàn - Nguyễn Thế Hùng

Điều hành:

Nguyễn Huệ Chi [trước] - Phạm Xuân Yêm [nay]

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