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March 21, 2003

Vietnamese, U.S. Companies Sign MOU on Internet Cooperation

(Asia Pulse) - A memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Internet cooperation between the U.S. Hi-Tek Company and the Vietnam Internet Network Information Centre (VNNIC) was signed in Hanoi on Wednesday.

Under the MoU, the two sides will cooperate in building a domain name . VN registration process, the Intranet/Internet technical infrastructure, and a security system on the Internet. They will also boost cooperation in personnel training and in the exchange of new technologies.

The VNNIC, which belongs to the Ministry of Posts and Telematics, intends to manage, allocate and supervise the use of Vietnam's Internet resources. It plans, manages and allocates IP addresses and ASN at the national level as well as manages and allocates national level domain names including the second level domain names under the domain name.


Vietnamese-Briton charged in priest's murder in Vietnam

Hanoi (Deutsche Presse-Agentur) - A Vietnamese-British man was formally charged with murder in the stabbing death of his priest from East London, police said Friday.

Christopher Doan Thanh, 28, was awaiting trial in the central city of Hue, 650 kilometres south of Hanoi, according to Vu Quang Minh of the Hue investigative police.

He is charged with murdering Monsignor Peter Dao Duc Diem, a fellow ethnic Vietnamese who fled communist rule in 1979 and started a new life in Britain.

Diem was visiting Vietnam for the first time since he left. Minh said Thanh had confessed to cutting the throat of Diem on January 24, but he would not speculate on a motive. The two had traveled to Vietnam together for the Tet lunar new year holiday.

Vietnamese state-run media reported that Thanh's bloody clothes were found in a nearby river, and DNA tests showed the blood on it was Thanh's own.

A trial date has not yet been set.


Vietnamese dissident arrested for publishing underground newspaper

Hanoi (Deutsche Presse-Agentur) - A Vietnamese dissident arrested by communist authorities this week was publishing an underground magazine, a U.S.-based writers protection group said Friday.

Nguyen Dan Que, 61, issued a statement in Vietnam on March 13 in which he criticized the communist regime's control of the media and lack of political reform, the Committee to Protect Journalists said in a press release.

"The state hopes to cling to power by brainwashing the Vietnamese people through stringent censorship and through its absolutist control over what information the public can receive," Que wrote, according to the release.

Four days later, the writer - an endocrinologist by training - was arrested at his home in Ho Chi Minh City, and security forces seized his computer and papers.

Vietnam confirmed the arrest Thursday, but insisted Que is a common criminal, not a political prisoner.

"Nguyen Dan Que was caught red-handed while violating the law of Vietnam," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Phan Thuy Thanh said Thursday.

While the government did not say what law Que had broken, the statement specifically denied he was imprisoned for his calls for democratic reforms.

"In Vietnam there is no one who is arrested for their personal opinion," Thanh said.
Que has spent 18 of the last 25 years in prison for his criticism of the government.

At least seven other writers are in prison or under house arrest in Vietnam "for peacefully expressing their views", according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, which because of Vietnam's strict control of the press considers all writers to be journalists.

Newspapers, magazines, radio stations and television stations in Vietnam are tightly controlled by the communist government.

"All press agencies should be consistent in politics and ideology but also in personnel," Nguyen Khoa Diem - the head of the Central Committee of Ideology and Culture - told journalists in February, according to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

"Violating state security," is a crime than can be punished with anything between two years in prison and a death sentence.

Chapter 11 of Vietnam's penal code says that, "propagandizing against the government," and "damaging the national policy of unity," are crimes that merit prison sentences.

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