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Professor tells Communist chief to apologize

Trong's comments described as offensive reporter, Hanoi

March 1, 2013

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A prominent academic has called on the Communist Party leader to apologize for comments he made about public opinion and draft amendments to the constitution. 

A letter published today on, a popular site run by Vietnamese intellectuals, takes Party Secretary-General Nguyen Phu Trong to task for saying that the public's suggestions, which were listed in a petition, showed a “decline of politics, thoughts, morality and lifestyles."

The suggestions included an end to the Communist Party's total control over state and society and a re-definition of the army as a non-political entity.

“You have offended the people, including elderly veterans, intellectuals and former high-ranking officials who drew up and signed the petition,” professor Tuong Lai, 77, one of the first people to sign the petition, said in the letter to Trong.

Trong’s remarks were “casual and arbitrary and diminish the party’s prestige among the public," the former director of the Institute of Sociology wrote.

Tuong Lai said petitioners want to build a new constitution to meet the nation’s aspirations to integrate into the international community and pointed out that among the first 72 petitioners, there was a 97-year-old general and former ambassador to China.

“How do you dare say such good people have a decline of politics, thoughts, morality and lifestyles?" he asked Trong. “Do you regret offending highly respected people? If you do, you should apologize to them. It also means you apologize to the people."

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