Object to the Establishment of Relationship (Riverside (CA) & CanTho (VN)

Latest News: Thanked to the protest, the sign with Communist Vietnam Flag was removed from the street pole (see pictures before and after)



The Vietnamese American Community of the USA

To: The Honorable Rusty Bailey

Mayor of the City of Riverside
3900 Main Street, #3
Riverside, CA 92522

Subject: Concern on the Establishment of Sister Relationship between the City of Riverside and the

City of Can


Dear Mayor Bailey,

We heard that your great City of Riverside has recently established a sister relationship with Can Tho, Vietnam. The purpose of official friendship as described in the news is to provide new opportunity for cultural, educational and economic exchanges between the two cities. We respect your initiative and believe in a normal circumstance this relationship will benefit both cities. I would ask for your assistance to consider an alternate view of this important decision and hopefully can find a solution that can truly enrich the people of both cities in terms of culture, education, and economy.

The fall of South Vietnam by North Vietnam invasion resulted in millions of South Vietnamese to flee their homeland to seek for freedom in the United States and the free world, of which a large population settled in South Californian’s cities including Riverside. Not to mention nearly a half million of Vietnamese perished on the high sea in search for freedom.

Though being a member of the United Nations and signatory to the International Covenant on the Civil and Political Rights, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam has systematically violated the basic human rights (HRs) of its people such as freedom to worship, right to free speech, freedom of assembly and right to elect their own government representatives, all of which the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is obligated to provide as a member of United Nations.

To the great majority of Vietnamese Americans in the US and particularly in Riverside, the regime ruled solely by the Vietnam Communist Party is one of the most brutal dictatorships in history. The Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) continued its one-party rule, in place since 1954 in North Vietnam and since 1975 in the rest of the country. While maintaining its monopoly on state power, it has faced growing public discontent with lack of basic freedoms and violating of human rights. Please refer to the Human Right Watch’s 2014 Country Report (page 399) for the reference of our claim. The Vietnamese people in Vietnam, particularly in Can Tho, are greatly suffered. We have been supporting our fellow countrymen’s in their struggle for freedom and democracy in Vietnam

For the above reasons, we question the validity of any measures to promote such regime, particularly in the United States, where civil and human rights are most respected. The establishment of relationship between Riverside and Can Tho may become the façade to cover the covert deeds of Vietnam government in violation of human rights. In the other words, a goodwill initiative, like this sister relationship, can become an accomplice to the HRs perpetrators as pointed out by the U.S. Congress’ Tom Lantos Committee in Mar 2014.

Furthermore, the unveiled sign with Communist Vietnam flag on the streets of Riverside is the insulting image to our Vietnamese American refugees as the Nazi’s swastika to the Jewish community.

On behalf of millions of Vietnamese Americans in the United States including the Vietnamese American citizens in your city, we express our concern about this issue and respectfully request the City of Riverside to dismiss the relationship between the two cities and remove the Communist Vietnam flag from the city streets.

Sincerely yours,
Michael Do
CEO, President of the VAC-USA
Cc: Members of Riverside City Council

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3 Responses to Object to the Establishment of Relationship (Riverside (CA) & CanTho (VN)

  1. mpvd1946 says:

    Reply from Mr. Michael Soubirous, Riverside City Councilman.
    Re: Can Tho Sister City
    Soubirous, Mike
    Jan 26 at 8:47 PM
    To me

    Mr. Do,
    Thank you very much and Happy Lunar Year to you, your family and staff.
    I am very respectful of the many people from former South Vietnam and those from former North Viet Nam who are forced to live under communist rule.
    Sent from my iPhone
    From: “Soubirous, Mike”
    To: “md46usa@yahoo.com”
    Sent: Monday, January 26, 2015 8:33 PM
    Subject: Can Tho Sister City

    Dear Mr. Do,

    I voted “No” on this proposal for the reasons you enumerate. I brought these points up as well as 25+ speakers.
    Mike Soubirous
    Riverside City Councilmember – Ward 3


  2. Bill Laurie says:

    Riverside mayor says program intent is to “encourage cultural understanding.” Fine. What “cultural understanding” is needed to accept and tacitly approve of invidious police state dictatorship, oppression of religion, press, other freedoms?
    What “cultural understanding” is needed to justify Hanoi’s being ranked 174th out of 180 countries in terms of press freedom – or in this case lack thereof. See rsf.org website for rankings.

    Will “cultural understanding” eliminate Hanoi’s endemic oppression of religion?
    The U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom has produced volumes of reports indicting Hanoi’s suppression of religion:

    Search | United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
    uscirf.gov, type in “Vietnam” in USCIRF website “search” box.

    Examine contents of this website listing Hanoi’s systemic violation of human and civil rights:


    A “sister city” relationship will do nothing to address any of these problems. It will simply underwrite and endorse oppression in Viet Nam and will be of no benefit to the Viet Namese people suffering under a corrupt dictatorial excuse for a “government.”.


  3. Col. Andrew R. Finlayson, USMC (Ret.) says:

    I am both appalled and outraged by the Riverside Council’s decision to develop a “sister city” relationship with the city of My Tho in Vietnam. Why the political leadership of Riverside would seek to forge a relationship with a city in one of the worst countries in the world for political and religious oppression astounds me. What were you thinking? Would you have forged a sister city relationship with Berlin when the Nazis’s were in power there? Would you have forged a sister city relationship with Moscow when the Soviet Union was in existence? By your thoughtless action, you have validated in the minds of the oppressors in Hanoi their callous disregard for human rights. I strongly urge you to rescind this foolish and naive move on your part.


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