Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, left, and Le Cong Dinh were sentenced to long prison terms in Vietnam
Tonight, Glen Beck will air his must-see special on communism, which should artfully recount the historical development of that inherently evil, political ideology. While Beck’s narrative will focus on the past, we must not lose sight of the fact that communism has not gone away, and its continued existence in much of the world still brings misery, oppression and death to those unfortunate enough to be living under its yoke.
Take Vietnam, for example.
This week, the communists ruling that country took, according to a European Union spokesman, a “major and regrettable step backwards,” by sentencing four people to stiff periods of incarceration (remember, in communist societies that usually means hard labor in a “re-education camp). After a speedy, one-day trial in typical communist fashion (behind closed doors), Tran Huynh Duy Thuc received a 16-year sentence. Nguyen Tien Trung got 7 years. Le Cong Dinh and Le Thang Long each received 5 years.
What was their crime?
They had the audacity to post writings on the Internet advocating freedom of expression and a multi-party system for Vietnam. You see, by definition, communism cannot have a political rival—and even discussing such a thing in a communist state can land you in jail, or worse.
A communist judge convicted the men of “a well-organized campaign in collusion with overseas exile reactionary organizations, aimed at overturning the government with the help of the Internet.” The men were immediately taken away to begin serving their sentences.
Actually, Vietnam has been very busy putting people away lately for having similar views. In the last three months, 10 other democracy activists have been sentenced to long prison terms, and 6 students in the city of Haiphong received sentences of between two and six years for hanging up a pro-democracy banner. The irony here is that the Vietnamese government crackdown on dissent comes before elections to be held next year, where certain members of the Communist Party will try to gain coveted seats in the Party congress.
As harsh as these sentences are, these dissidents really are rather fortunate, as the authorities did show an uncharacteristic level of leniency. In Vietnam (and in nearly every other communist state, past and present), the normal punishment for the crime of dissent is death.