Vietnamese authorities seeking to stop a well-known democracy activist from meeting an American diplomat last weekend deployed an unusual weapon — a group of elderly ladies.
The women blocked the road leading to the dissident’s house, preventing a U.S. Embassy vehicle from reaching the house. The vehicle was supposed to take the dissident to a downtown hotel to meet with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Dan Baer, who was trying to get first-hand accounts from activists and the families of those imprisoned inside the one-party, authoritarian country.
Another activist on the guest list was hauled into a police station until the visiting American had departed.
The efforts made by Vietnamese authorities to stop them show the gulf between the two countries on human rights, and continue to be a stumbling block in forging stronger ties between Washington and a country seen as possible counterbalance against China’s influence in Asia. Continue reading