Secretary of State Hillary Clinton posed with Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong under a bust of Communist founder Ho Chi Minh during her recent visit to Vietnam and promised the Hanoi regime increased economic and technological aid, but did not meet with human rights leaders or substantively push for changes in Vietnam's appalling record of abuses in all areas of human rights.
According to the spin of some media groups, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s recent visit to Vietnam was all about pressuring the communist regime on its atrocious human rights violations.
“Clinton raps Vietnam on rights, sees limits to ties,” ran the headline of a July 10 Reuters news story.
“Clinton chides Vietnam on protecting human rights,” was the headline the Associate Press gave to its article that was run in many newspapers and websites worldwide.
However, there is little evidence that Secretary Clinton’s mention of human rights during her Asia trip was anything more than a continuation of the placating rhetoric she has employed as the Obama administration’s mouthpiece, while promoting ever greater economic aid and trade benefits to Vietnam. Her mild public criticism of Vietnam’s incarceration of Internet bloggers barely qualifies as a “rap” or a “chide.” Clinton said she had expressed concern to Vietnam’s leaders about the upcoming trial of “the founders of the so-called Free Journalists Club.” Using “so-called” in this context make it sound as if she’s already taken sides in the matter in favor of the regime, which views publication of comments critical of the government as a criminal offense. And Clinton did not even mention the regime’s ongoing persecution of Christians and Buddhists. Nor did she meet with, or request meetings with persecuted dissidents, as had been requested by many Vietnamese exiles and human rights groups.
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