Chu Tat Tien interviewed Ta Phong Tan

Interview with Ta Phong Tan (2010)
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Chu Tat Tien:

Every one already knows Ta Phong Tan, who is a renowned victim of the terrorizing and oppressive Vietnamese Communist regime despite her career as an ex-police captain and a lawyer. So far, the regime has tried all sorts of terror methods they could think of on this courageous woman. However, we won’t talk about how the regime has victimized her because it is a very long story. She will tell us a much more appalling story about how the regime has mistreated its own citizens through private land confiscations and property pilfering. Please welcome Ta Phong Tan.

Ta Phong Tan:
Hello every one!

Chu Tat Tien:
Hello! As you have heard my introduction to our listeners, we want to hear from you, your account of the incidents related to the government-sanctioned confiscation of private land and properties that have resulted in several fatalities. Please tell us what happened.

Ta Phong Tan:
I am currently living in Saigon. All the information I have is from the overseas on-line Vietnamese news outlets and Voice of America. There is absolutely no news from the State-controlled media. It was reported that about 10 AM on May 25 in an economic development zone in Nghi Son, Thanh Hoa, local police opened fire on a group a people, killing a child, seriously injuring Le Xuan Dung who was rushed to Thanh Hoa Hospital intensive care. A bullet also pierced a woman’s arm. According to the news, the reason behind the brawl was because the local government wanted to raze everything to build industrial buildings. But local residents stopped the contractor’s works because the local government forced them to accept a very low reimbursement, inequitable to the real property value and is not enough for them to settle elsewhere. Unfortunately, the work stoppage resulted in police action that killed a 12 year old child.

Chu Tat Tien:
The regime used violence and live ammunition to disperse a group of people who only wanted to keep their properties! Was it the first time the regime used lethal weapons on protesters or has it happened somewhere else?

Ta Phong Tan:
Scuffles between police forces and farmers and property owners in land disputes have happened everywhere in the nation, not necessarily at any particular locality. When there is unfair land condemnation and razing, conflict ensues. Violent and bloody skirmishes happened in Con Dau, Thai Ha, and Binh Tan between police and citizens. However, the level of police violence rarely resulted in a fatality like the incident that took place yesterday in Thanh Hoa.
In this case, I think police use of deadly force on innocent citizens is simply unacceptable. The image of policemen armed to the teeth with masks, body armors, batons, tasers, and tear gas is terrifying enough for unarmed citizens. Instead of victimizing its own citizens, the regime should have used its deadly force on Chinese pirates who kidnap Vietnamese fishermen in the high seas off of the Quang Ngai coast.

Chu Tat Tien:
Is it then fair to conclude that the regime has ignored expressed concerns and objections from international communities and increased their oppression to a higher level of violence? Does it also mean that the Communist regime has become more and more tyrannical and cruel to its people but at the same time, more and more spineless in facing the shameless Chinese invaders from the North?

Ta Phong Tan:
I think all Vietnamese people, whether living in or outside of Vietnam have the same observations. They characterize the Communist regime by a short but very eloquent saying “Feeble with the Chinese but brutal with citizens.”

Chu Tat Tien:
Indeed, that phrase can sum up the real cruel nature of the Communist regime. As I mentioned at the beginning, we recently learned more of your personal ordeal and will need a longer airtime allotment to hear your account of all the suffering you have gone through. But for now, can you briefly describe how the regime is oppressing you at the present time?

Ta Phong Tan:
Recently, the regime has stripped me of all necessary tools to work as a journalist, all my savings which are the fruits of my hard labor. Whenever I leave my house, under-cover police are assigned to kidnap me, attempt to run me over, and carry out a hit and run. No one wants to claim responsibility. I do not know who those plain clothes officers are. If they want to arrest me, it would be more appropriate if they wore uniforms so I can be ready for them. If not, then they are just a bunch of thugs which is unbecoming for government conduct. Moreover, when I object to their uncouth manners, they ask me why I don’t behave like the rest of people and what I do makes no sense. I told those guys they should know what they are doing instead of asking me what I am doing. But because they asked, I told them they have no clue about what an independent journalist is. I am not a politician and not promoting any subversive activities; I am a free journalist.

Chu Tat Tien:
At the present time, you are under house arrest and cannot leave. According to your earlier statement, if you leave, you will be harassed or abducted. Have they inflicted any bodily injuries on you? How about the violent and physical harassment, did it hurt you? Did you defend yourself?

Ta Phong Tan:
Personally, I have not been their target of violence. However, in recent time, the use of violence is futile. I am not afraid of their violence. I used my head to break a glass to protest their physical abusive treatment when they detained me at Go Vap Station. Therefore, violence does not mean anything to me. But if I die in their hands, they shall be held accountable for their illegal actions and mistreatment.

Chu Tat Tien:
In reality, if you look at the overall picture, it does not matter to the Communist regime whether pro-democracy advocates die in their hands or not. The regime does not care, it defies human conscience to think of the way it treat its citizens like objects. Those who die are just an insignificant number. Moving forward, do you think there’s another way we can fight for human rights?

Ta Phong Tan:
My life does not matter. We all eventually die but it is how we die that matters, especially if it is for a noble principle. I would end my life if it awakens other people’s conscience.

Chu Tat Tien:
Do you even have a tiny speck of hope for the country’s future or human fate when this Communist regime still exsists? Do you think that, one day, our people will have a chance to live as true humans?

Ta Phong Tan:
I do hope so because Vietnamese people have survived and progressed for four thousand years despite calamitous periods under foreign rule. Those times were only ephemeral; the people have always been resilient and resolute in rising up against oppression and unfair treatment.

Chu Tat Tien:
Let’s hope and believe that brighter days will come to comfort our people’s suffering. At this moment, we wish you well and for the Vietnamese people to soon enjoy human rights like other peoples in the world. We bid you goodbye and take care.

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