Vietnam sentences 3 hill tribe protesters
A court official in Vietnam says three ethnic minority villagers have been handed sentences of up to 12 years in jail for plotting anti-government protests.
The official said the men aged 42 to 50 from central highlands province of Gia Lai were convicted of "undermining national unity" and given jail terms ranging from nine years to 12 years at the trial last week. The official spoke Monday on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press.
The men were arrested in August accused of planning to incite other villagers to participate in anti-government protests.
Vietnam's communist government has cracked down hard in recent years against hill tribe people accused of seeking a separate state.
By ben, Stocking - The Associated Press - April 13, 2009
Vietnam has “Cultural Day for Ethnic Groups”
The government decided to take April 19 as the Cultural Day for Vietnamese Ethnic Groups. This year, the event will take place on April 18-19 at the culture and tourism village for Vietnamese ethnic groups in Son Tay, Hanoi.
This socio-political and cultural event will be organised by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to attract a cross section of ethnic minority groups from 33 provinces and cities nationwide, including 15 provinces and cities in the North, 12 in the central region, and 6 in the South.
It aims to highlight the various different cultural identities of Vietnam’s ethnic minority groups, educate people about patriotic traditions and improve public awareness of the need to preserve and promote the cultural traditions of ethnic minorities.
Activities during the event will include a book, photography and fine arts exhibition on various ethnic minority groups, an exhibition of traditional handicrafts and different tourist and cultural products, a documentary film on ethnic minority cultures and traditional sporting activities.
A special performance will be held on the evening of April 19, including 25-minute rituals and 65-minute art show, with five chapters entitled “The Country’s Spring Festival”, “Epic”, “Dual Love”, “Aspiration – Love and Challenge”, and “Vietnam – Beloved Motherland”.
The chorus “Vietnam – Beloved Motherland” is written by musician Trong Dai, wording by writer Nguyen Khac Phuc, with four parts: Original Point, Struggling, Moving Award, and Dien Hong.
The Hanoi Transportation Corporation will organize some bus routes to serve tourists at the Kim Ma and My Dinh coach stations, the Infantry School intersection to the culture and tourism village of Vietnamese ethnic groups, 30 minutes/trip on April 18 and 19.
By Son Ha - Vietnam News Agency - April 14, 2009