Sunday, March 04, 2007

Four dissident poets honored

Vietnam has announced that four poets from northern Vietnam will be honored with the State Prize, fifty years after they were arrested and their works banned. The four, two of whom are now dead, are Hoang Cam, Le Dat, Phung Quan and Tran Dan. They led an intellectual movement in North Vietnam during the late 1950s, at a time when the regime was emulating China in its "let a hundred flowers bloom" campaign. They expressed their dissent through two two journals, Giai Pham (Works of Beauty) and Nhan Van (Humanism). Unfortunately north Vietnam also emulated China in its crackdown on dissent following this two year period of relative tolerance.

BBC reports that communist Vietnam is once again experimenting in openness, and notes state media coverage "has also been interesting because of the frank way in which it described how the poets were sent to re-education camps after calling for more freedom."


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