Two members of Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party have publicly resigned after the government announced a prominent publisher would be disciplined for printing books diverging from the party’s political line.
Chu Hao, editor- in-chief of the Tri Thuc (Knowledge) Publishing House, had committed “grave” errors in printing the books and had harmed the Party’s prestige, state media said on Friday without describing the books’ content.
All offending publications have already been seized and destroyed, state media said, adding that the works had caused “negative impacts on social thought.”
Reacting to the move by authorities against Chu Hao, Vietnamese writer and party member for 62 years Nguyen Ngoc wrote on his Facebook page on Friday that he had already been planning to resign but wanted to do so quietly.
"However, after the [Party] Inspection Commission’s decision to discipline Chu Hao, I decided to announce my decision, officially quitting the party as of today,” Nguyen wrote.
Speaking to RFA’s Vietnamese Service, another long-term party member, Mac Van Trang, also announced his decision to quit.
“I joined the party to fight for the independence and freedom of our people, but starting in the year 2000 I came to realize that the party has gone against its original cause,” he said.
“They crack down on people who demand human rights, and they crack down on people who protest against environmental pollution and against encroachments by China. They don’t listen to intellectuals, including me, who dare to express different views.”
“Many have been imprisoned,” he said.
Masks come off
Also speaking to RFA, Nguyen Quang A—founder of Vietnam’s long-closed Independent Development Studies Institute—said that with the decision to punish writer and publisher Chu Hao, hard-line Communist Party members “have now taken off their masks.”
“When someone like Chu Hao, who has different views and expresses them in a peaceful way, can still be punished, it shows that this society has no respect for freedom,” he said.
No announcement has yet been made regarding the punishment Chu Hao will be given for what the Inspection Commission described as his “degeneracy in political thought,” according to an Oct. 26 report by Vietnam’s Tuoi Tre newspaper.
Vietnam’s one-party communist government currently holds at least 130 political prisoners, including rights advocates and bloggers deemed threats to national security, Human Rights Watch says.
It also controls all media, censors the internet, and restricts basic freedoms of expression.
Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by Viet Ha. Written in English by Richard Finney.