By Bill Gertz
U.S. officials say the communist government in Vietnam has broken its silence on public protests over land claims by asserting that foreign hostile forces are behind the unrest.
Rallies have been held from June through August in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Party and military newspapers have identified senior monks of the outlawed Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam and two leading pro-democracy dissidents for their alleged roles in seeking to exploit the protests.
The monks were identified as UBCV leaders Thich Quang Do and Thich Khong Tanh, and the pro-democracy activists are Nguyen Khac Toan and Hoang Minh Chinh.The Vietnamese army newspaper called them “dirty puppets” over overseas forces. And the Communist Party daily compared them to two traitors in Vietnamese history, Le Chieu Thong and Tran Ich Tac. Thong, the last king of an 18th century dynasty, is known for inviting the Chinese to invade in an effort to retain his position. Tac, a 13th century prince, is known for surrendering to a Mongolian army in order to become king.
The Party commentary said the two monks and two dissidents will “be exposed and spat on” by the Vietnamese people like the earlier traitors.
The demonstrations have received no press attention in the West.