02/01/2019

The Eight-point Appeal of the Vietnamese People

This appeal is addressed to:

  • The President, the Chairwoman of Congress, the Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

  • All Vietnamese living in Vietnam and abroad.

  • The Secretary General of the United Nations.

  • The International Diplomatic Organizations in Vietnam.

Your Excellency/Honorable:

100 years ago, a document called Appeal of the Annamese People was prepared by a group of patriots, signed under the pseudonym of Nguyễn Ái Quấc, and subsequently sent to the Versailles Conference being held in Paris, France, by the victorious nations in the aftermath of the First World War.

The Appeal consisted of eight points, urging the French colonial government at that time to immediately carry out, goes as follows:

  1. Release all Annamese political prisoners.

  2. Initiate extensive legislative reforms throughout Indochina, to accord the indigenous people the same protection as provided to the European; demand the  abolishment of all special legal institutions used by the colonial government as instruments to terrorize and oppress the most righteous section of the Annamese population.

  3. Freedom of press and freedom of speech.

  4. Freedom to form associations and freedom to meet in public.

  5. Freedom to live abroad and freedom to travel overseas.

  6. Freedom to study any suitable subjects by individuals, government to initiate and establish technical and vocational schools at the province level for all indigenous people who are interested.

  7. Laws are passed by a legislative body in lieu of decrees.

  8. A group of representatives, elected by the indigenous people, permanently present at the French Parliament to help emphasizing all aspirations of the Annamese people.

In the course of the last 100 years, millions of Vietnam’s best sons and daughters have perished for those same basic rights demanded in that 1919 Appeal.

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 Appeal. But, after 100 years, under the Communist totalitarian regime, the majority of the points mentioned in the 1919 Appeal in reality are not respected, nor carried out, although 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, pledges that 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 full extents. In fact, they are overwhelmingly limited, manipulated, even distorted to the point where the end results are opposite.

That is why, on the commemoration of the 100-year anniversary of the 1919 Eight-point Appeal of the Annamese people, we, all Vietnamese living in Vietnam and abroad, who love Freedom, Democracy and Justice, proclaim the 2019 Appeal, 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 authority on false charges such as “public disturbances,” “anti-government propaganda,” and “activities aimed to overthrow the People’s government.”

  2. Enact extensive legislative reforms, so as all people are protected by laws; demand the government to abolish all specialized legal institutions used as lnstruments of the Party to terrorize and oppress the most righteous segments of the population, i.e. those who participate in non-violent demonstrations to seek redress to issues such as environmental protection, national sovereignty; those who criticize and rebuke official policies; and those who dissent politically.

  3. Honestly and sincerely respect the Freedom of Press, Freedom of Speech; allow private sectors to publish newspapers and produce multi-media products including books; must stop the policy of censorship in any form (including the statutes and ordinances with the aim to restrict information flow on the Internet.)

  4. Pass and seriously implement laws with the purpose to guarantee the Freedom to form associations and the Freedom to assemble in public.

  5. Guarantee the Freedom to travel and settle anywhere within the country, Freedom to migrate and return from overseas.

  6. Guarantee the Freedom to study any subject of choice by individuals, guarantee the autonomy of universities and colleges, and remove all traces of politicization at every level of educational institution.

  7. All statutes passed by Congress or any legislative body must be genuinely faithful to the Constitution which is drafted and approved by the majority of the people. Once passed, all laws must be respected by the authority. 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 legislations that are based on the-consent-of-the-governed to proceed eventually to the check-and-balance system of three independent branches of government: Legislative, Executive and Judicial.

  8. Free elections to be held, including the right to self-nominate, in free, fair and transparent protocols. Completely erase the slogan “Nominated by the Party, Elected by the People.”

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 which the Vietnamese leadership must undertake by fully implementing the eight points as outlined in the Appeal. To do that is to lead Vietnam step-by-step in the development toward the goal of prosperity and national strength, to achieve a democratic and civil society, and to guarantee justice for all.

We urge all Vietnamese citizens to exercise his/her constitutional rights and not to wait for approval from any authority, to step up the pressure and demand the government to enact and implement legislations and regulations with the expressed purpose of protecting those constitutional rights, and to prosecute to the full extent of the laws 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. With your strong and necessary support, we firmly believe that it will facilitate favorable responses from the government to the demands stipulated in the Appeal.

Hanoi, Vietnam, December 19, 2018

On behalf of 22 organizations and 1677 individual supporters

1.   Nguyễn Quang A, Informatics Ph.D., former Chairman of the Vietnamese Informatics Association, Representative of Vietnam Civil Society Forum

2.   Writer Nguyên Ngọc, representative of The Vietnam Independent Writers Association

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11. Poet Hoàng Hưng, Vietnam

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

13.  Journalist Võ Văn Tạo, Vietnam

14. Nguyễn Đan Quế, M.D., co-president of Vietnam Prisoners of Conscience Association, Vietnam

15.  Legal scholar Lê Công Định, Vietnam

16. Composer Tuấn Khanh, Vietnam

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

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

19.  Space Scientist Thái Văn Cầu, USA

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

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

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

23.  Dr. Đỗ Đăng Giu, Director of Research CNRS, France

24.  Nguyễn Ngọc Giao, Educator, France

25.  Hà Dương Tường, retired educator, France

26.  Writer Vũ Thư Hiên, France

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

28.  Professor Nguyễn Đăng Hưng, professor emeritus, Université de Liège, Bruxelles

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

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