October 21, 2009

Bat Nha on the Wall Street Journal

A Wall Street Journal opinion suggests the US State Department add Vietnam to its “list of countries of particular concern for religious-rights violations.”
Hanoi was listed from 2004 to 2006, and then removed as a reward for limited liberalization. Vietnam remains the only country that has changed its laws explicitly to get itself removed from the roster. The government made it easier to register religious groups, dropped some egregious policies such as forcing believers to renounce their faith, and improved its relations with the Vatican.

The Bat Nha example exposes how prone to backsliding Hanoi is if it’s not forced to follow such early steps with further progress. Now is a good time to ratchet up the diplomatic pressure again.
In a couple previous posts, I linked to differing views on the Bat Nha situation—the whole back-and-forth can be found on the Buddhist Channel (see here, here, here, here and here.)

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