>>Good evening Rolin Wavre, General Secretary of the Radicals. We know you very well. You went to Vietnam last
week. You met or tried to meet with opponents, you participated in an illegal demonstration.
Can you tell us your story in a few words? I am back from eight days in Vietnam, where
I was able to meet with the families of some prisoners. I tried myself to visit a prisoner, but unfortunately
it was not possible. I met with some representatives of the banned
opposition party, clandestinely. I also participated in a demonstration, a kind of
happening, a flashmob on a square. It was quite impressive to see a hundred young people
digging-out T-shirts and banners, and simply calling for freedom of expression.
For us, it started there, and it continues in Geneva. Why did you make this trip? Is it your sympathy for the opponents?
Thierry Oppikofer is very active. Well, he is in the same party as you are, the Radicals.
Is this a coincidence? Yes it is a coincidence. It is a relationship. Life is full of relationships.
I met the Vietnamese community in Western Switzerland. I found them very friendly and active. I also found
that the situation in Vietnam is rather alarming. I myself spent 17 years with the ICRC, so I developed
a certain sensitivity to this kind of problems. We are not going to tell the history again. Until 54, there was the French presence,
the war in Indochina, Mendes-France, the agreements and then a second war, the one we remember from our childhood,
the war with the Americans. It ended in the late seventies, with the Americans
leaving, the people trying to go on the helicopters, etc. And this new regime. This regime is very tough
towards its citizens. Please give us some examples
Mr. Nguyen Tang. Well, yes, the regime is very hard with its opponents. Comparatively, I would say that people tend to think of
China each time we talk about dissent and
human rights in these Asian countries. Vietnam is a country which has widely developed from
the tourism and economy point of view, but unfortunately, when speaking of human rights and freedom of
expression, Vietnam remains in the 1950s. Now, yourself, how did you feel?
You, as a Western European, you may be less worried, but the Vietnamese who demonstrate… Well, are they allowed to and what are the risks?
Mr. Wavre? Yes they can. Fortunately this is one of their last
remaining freedoms: but they risk being arrested. You should know that it is extremely dangerous for
them to claim the right to speak. To call for a multiparty system and to denounce
corruption is extremely dangerous.
Many Vietnamese are detained. As an example,
a dual national, a Vietnamese and Australian citizen,
was arrested on Sunday.
At the same time that I was leaving the country,
she was arrested and detained. We learned today that she has been released, proving
that the authorities may be more sensitive to international opinion and to all the fuss we make
regarding how they respect human rights. We had another example about one or two years ago.
We talked about this during the Genève à Chaud show,
the case of a journalist.
We will not say that her release was due to us because
another and much larger movement was in place. But it turned out she was released a few days after the show. Is that correct Mr. Nguyen Tang? Yes indeed. Our job at the Swiss Vietnam Committee
has been for many years to mobilize public opinion so that when a problem of arbitrary detention of
this kind happens, public opinion may play a role with the authorities. And I think more and more – and the action of Rollin Wavre goes in this direction
and is very crucial – I think more and more that the Hanoi regime is sensitive
to anything that could happen. What is interesting is that we now have the internet.
Because 20 years ago, if they wanted to cut off information they could cut it off.
When you were at the ICRC for example. But nowadays, it is very difficult to stop the access
to the Internet, mainly thanks to the satellites. Two things: some of the Vietnamese activists that are
currently detained were arrested for writing blogs. So, working on the internet is dangerous. But on the other hand, the information, including
the designation of the Nobel Peace Prize, we learned about this through the internet. And some of our contacts in Vietnam learned about
it over the internet too. And it was also through the internet that I was able
to get the video films out of Vietnam that we are able
to watch now. Last question. You are a bit of a gentleman of the ICRC
and humanitarian, lost in politics, in this cruel world. You are so polite, so gentle, so nice, so different from
the rough ones Mr. Wavre ? I am not sure at all that, for the citizen and for the people,
one needs to be a bully to make politics. We can say things strongly. We can try to consider
different points of view without being a bully, which does not prevent us from speaking firmly with
certain people in your show. Anyway thank you very much Rollin Wavre.
Thank you for the pictures we saw from Vietnam. Mr. Nguyen Tang, thank you. You are welcome on
this show and the COSUNAM also. Of course, for all the parties in conflict, if a representative
of the Vietnamese government would like to come,
it will be mostly welcomed. I shall even offer him tea after the show. It is very rare
to receive people drinking tea. Thank you very much Mr. Rolin Wavre and Mr. Nguyen.