Vietnam People's Army Attacks Peaceful Hmong Demonstrator
Thousands of peaceful, unarmed Viet-Hmong minority political and religious dissidents along the Laos-Vietnam border, who are staging mass protests demanding religious freedom and land reforms from the communist regime in Hanoi, have been attacked by Vietnam People's Army (VPA) troops and security forces in the remote Dien Bien province of Vietnam. At least, twenty-eight ethnic Hmong people, engaged in staging protests against government policies, are confirmed dead in recent days, with hundreds more missing, along the Laos -Vietnam border area of Vietnam, according to Lao Hmong non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the Center for Public Policy Analysis in Washington, D.C. http://www.centerforpublicpolicyanalysis.org
The Socialist Republic of Vietnam's (SRV)information ministry, and military officials charged with suppressing the open uprising against the government in Northern Vietnam, have accused the protesters of being irredentists, which the Hmong in Dien Bein province have denied and deemed propaganda.
Significant numbers of Vietnam People's Army infantry, as well as hundreds of mechanized troops, in cooperation with Lao People's Army (LPA) soldiers, were rushed to the Dien Bein border area at the direction of the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the SRV on May 3-6, 2011.
Ground attack helicopters were also reportedly dispatched from bases in Laos and Vietnam by the VPA, at the direction of the armed forces Chief of Staff of Vietnam. Lt. General Tran Quang Khue, and other VPA generals, who dominate the military and politburo in Vietnam, have reportedly played a major role in the crack-down, and deployment of the armed forces, against the peaceful Hmong protesters.
Deputy National Defense Minister, Senior Lieutenant-General Nguyen Huy Hieu, was reportedly consulted, along with other officials in Hanoi, prior to the bloody crackdown against the unarmed Hmong.
Vietnam People’s Army Chief of the General Staff, Do Ba Ty, was reportedly summoned in an emergency session regarding the Hmong crisis in Vietnam and Laos, in the Dein Bein Province area, as well as Vietnam Defense Minister General Phung Quang Thanh.
“We are concerned about credible reports that many poor and ordinary Hmong people in the Dien Bein area, as well as other people along the Vietnam and Laos border, have been arrested or killed by Vietnamese Army, and Lao Army, soldiers and police because of their protests for land reform to Communist officials in Hanoi, their opposition to illegal logging, or because of their independent Christian and Animist religious beliefs ,” said Christy Lee, Executive Director of Hmong Advance, Inc.(HAI) in Washington, D.C. http://www.hmongadvance.org
Ms. Lee continued in her statement about the crisis in Vietnam facing the Vietnamese people and Hmong: “Ordinary Hmong people, and other highland and forest-dwelling minority peoples in Laos and Vietnam, have also been subjected to a new and increasing injustice by the authorities and Vietnam People's Army-owned companies, which continue their oppressive methods, religious persecution, and to engage in illegal logging in Vietnam and Laos, including the Dien Bien area in Vietnam, as well as the Laotian provinces of Xieng Khouang, Khammoune, Luang Prabang and elsewhere.”
“The Hmong, and other minority Christian and Animist religious believers, are being driven of their lands and killed and persecuted by corrupt Vietnamese Communist party officials and the military elite in Vietnam and Laos,” Ms. Lee stated.
"Currently, the impoverished Hmong people of Dien Bien in Vietnam and northern Laos are merely seeking relief from religious, economic and political oppression under the communist regime in Hanoi, as well as more basic human rights and fundamental liberty and autonomy, and an end to the corrupt and illegal logging of their sacred mountain homelands; that is all, so the Hanoi regime's propaganda against them is simply false and an untrue distortion," Lee concluded.
“At least 28 Viet-Hmong are confirmed and known to have been killed, as well as 33 Hmong people wounded, in recent attacks by Vietnam People's Army troops in the Dien Bien province area of Vietnam,” said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) in Washington, D.C. http://www.cppa-dc.org
The non-governmental organizations, including the CPPA, HAI, Hmong Advancement, Inc., and the United League for Democracy in Laos, Inc. and others, cite Hmong, Vietnamese and Lao sources inside the area of Dien Bien provice where the Hmong are currently staging mass protests against Vietnam's communist and military authorities. http://www.hmongadvancement.org
“In the last 48 hours, the Viet-Hmong people fleeing to Laos from Dien Bien province, during the recent anti-government protests and crackdown in Vietnam, have also been arrested by Lao security forces and VPA troops who are working closely together to jointly seek to arrest, persecute and kill them,” Smith further stated.
"Vietnam military and security forces are openly operated in Northern Laos in key border areas as well as in Dien Bien province and the border areas," Smith continued.
“In recent days, significant numbers of Vietnam People's Army troops from Hanoi, and security forces from Laos, have been deployed for special military operations directed against the Hmong minority people, and independent religious believers and political dissidents, along the Vietnam – Laos border and the Dien Bein province area of Vietnam,” Smith observed.
"Special heliborne VPA combat units were also deployed to attack Hmong villagers suspected of supporting independent Christian and Animists calling for an end to religious persecution, greater religious freedom and human rights," Smith noted.
Mr. Smith continued further in his statement: “At least seventeen Viet-Hmong Christians were killed and 33 wounded on May 3rd in the Dien Bien Province, and Dien Bein Phu, areas of Vietnam bordering Laos n attacks by VPA military forces. All of these people were independent Catholic and Protestant Christian believers. Additionally, eleven independent Viet-Hmong animist believers were also known, and confirmed, to have been killed on the same day by Vietnam People's Army forces.”
“Hundreds of Viet and Lao-Hmong minority peoples are also missing after the attacks directed against the peaceful protesters by the Vietnamese government forces in the Dien Bein area,” Mr. Smith said.
“In addition to the seventeen Hmong Christians, an additional eleven independent Viet-Hmong animist believers were also confirmed killed on the same day by VPA forces because they also were accused of worshiping outside of the communist government's control in Hanoi and because they were standing up for land reform and the religious freedom of the Viet-Hmong and Lao-Hmong people,” Smith continued.
“Currently, Lao-Hmong forest and highland-dwelling people who have fled horrific religious persecution, as well as illegal logging by Vietnam People's Army-owned companies in Laos, continue to flee to Vietnam and Thailand as political refugees by the hundreds each year,” Smith stated further.
"Oppressive military actions in Vietnam and Laos to suppress popular dissent and the free will of the people, including the Viet and Laotian Hmong, has resulted in political and institutional violence that is perpetuated by the politbureau in Hanoi," Smith observed further.
In December of 2009, Thailand's Royal Thai Army forced some eight thousand (8,000) Lao Hmong political refugees back to Laos, despite international protests. They were put under the direction of the Deputy Chief of the Lao Armed Forces who was previously accused by human rights and international humanitarian organizations of taking a leadership role in perpetuating atrocities and egregious human rights violations against Lao Hmong civilians, including the rape, murder and mutilation of Lao Hmong women and children.
In recent months, the VPA and SRV have played a significantly increased role in Laos, with hundreds of additional troops and security forces from Vietnam being deployed in Vientiane and elsewhere in Laos in recent months.
Thousands of additonal VPA troops, and security force members, have been deployed in Laos against Laotian and Hmong minority political and religious dissidents, as well as unarmed civilians and independent religious believers, including Christians, Animist and independent Buddhists.
Senior VPA and SRV Defense Ministry officials have met with their Lao counterparts in recent weeks and months. Vietnam Defense Minister General Phung Quang Thanh paid an official visit to Laos from March 7-9, 2011 to conclude military operations for the year, including internal suppression efforts.
Article by the Center for Public Policy Analysis