ucanews.com reporter, Ho Chi Minh CityUpdated: February 27, 2013 06:44 PM GMT
The chief of the Vietnam Communist Party has brancded some recent opinions on draft amendments to the constitution as unacceptable.
Party Secretary-General Nguyen Phu Trong said on Monday that some of the suggestions made by the public show “the decline of politics, thoughts and morality" in Vietnam.
Suggestions include an end to the Communist Party's total control over state and society, a re-definition of the army as a non-political entity, and a multi-party political system.
Trong warned against posting such proposals on the internet or gathering signatures.
From January through March, the government is holding a public referendum on draft amendments to the constitution.
The proposed draft stipulates that the Communist Party of Vietnam controls the state and society. It also specifies that the army serves the Communist Party.
Trong told local authorities “not to let any individuals make use of the public referendum to distort facts, make up false information, or oppose our party and state.”
This is the first time Trong has spoken out against opposing views on the amendments, which have been discussed nationwide and on the internet.
Intellectuals, former high-ranking officials and dissidents submitted a petition to the National Assembly early this month.
The petition, available on the internet, says the constitution must first aim to ensure the safety, freedom, and happiness of the people and must limit the abuse of power. It says the people should have the final say on the nation’s constitution, and that the government’s proposed draft violates human and civil rights and the rule of law.
The petition says only a free, democratic and multi-party state would serve the common good of all the country’s citizens. It has drawn more than 5,600 signatures so far.
Among the signatories are Bishops Joseph Nguyen Chi Linh, vice-president of the Vietnam Bishops' Conference, Paul Nguyen Thai Hop, head of the Episcopal Commision for Justice and Peace, and former archbishiop Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet of Hanoi.
Phan Trung Ly, head of the Committee for Laws of the National Assembly, said in December that “all powers belong to the people so the people take an important role in building and amending the constitution.” It appears to some that Trong’s remarks are in opposition to his fellow politician.
Trong spoke to authorities from northern Phu Tho province on Monday, and his speech was aired on national television in the evening.