LAT Loves Communist Vietnam
Among [Vietnam's] strengths, [a Vietnamese-American there to make money] listed political stability, a 94% literacy rate, a young, industrious population and a reliable, efficient workforce. "If you're the World Bank or [a nongovernmental organization], this is a place you can really see results." ...Human rights are almost completely ignored in this article about what is, at its base, a totalitarian Communist regime. Reporter-enthusiast David Lamb might have taken a moment to look up Vietnam on the Web site of George Soros' Human Rights Watch. If he had, he would have reported a more truthful story:
It is a peaceful, stable presence in the Pacific Basin, with an army that has been whittled down to 484,000 troops. Its economy, a mix of Karl Marx and Adam Smith, has the highest growth rate in Southeast Asia. Private enterprise is flourishing, a middle class is growing, poverty rates are falling. The United States is a major trading partner, and Americans are welcomed with a warmth that belies the two countries' history.
The government continued to stifle free expression and restrict the exercise of other basic human rights. Authorities destroyed thousands of banned publications, restricted press coverage of a key corruption scandal, increased the monitoring of the Internet, denied the general public access to international television programs broadcast by satellite, and arrested or detained dissidents who used the Internet or other public fora to publicize their ideas. The year saw the death of Vietnam's most well-known dissident, Tran Do, and the trial of Li Chi Quang, one of an emerging group of younger pro-democracy advocates in Vietnam.Instead, Lamb quoted a Vietnamese Catholic who said he didn't feel discriminated against and a young studnet who said, "I feel we have enough freedom. We know what we can do."
Officials continued to suppress and control the activities of religious groups, including ethnic minority Christians in the northern and central highlands, members of the banned Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, and Hoa Hao Buddhists in the south. Authorities made a new round of arrests of indigenous minority church leaders and land rights activists in the Central Highlands, the site of widespread unrest in 2001.
Who you gonna trust -- your local leftest newspaper or your international leftist human rights organization?
The story follows in the footsteps of Barbara Demmick's LATimes lovefest for North Korea (see links below), and will probably tick off the local Vietnamese community -- the largest in the US.
Update: VietPundit quickly linked me to this post on his blog that paints a very different picture.
Arrogantly, Ridiculously Defiant
Barbara Demmick: Unbalanced
North Korea Story: LAT Suicide Wish?
North Korea Spin Machine Hits LA