Saturday, April 25, 2009

Petition against bauxite mining

Petition on the mining for bauxite

In the Western Central Highland


(Translated from Vietnamese by Zuc Dao

Solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales)

To: - Mr. Nguyen Minh Triet, State President, Socialist Republic of

Vietnam (SRV)

- Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong, Speaker and other members of Congress of the SRV

- Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung, Prime Minister and other ministers of the government of the SRV

We, the Vietnamese undersigned, who are concerned about the mining for bauxite in the Western Central Highland, submit to you the following petition.

Dear authorities,

Our people, who have spent many decades in wars of independence and unification, are now mobilizing all physical and mental resources for the task of nation building dedicated to total change.

In principle, in this task of renewed nation building, there is no conflict of interests between government and the people. Our people, both inside and outside of the country, leaders and the ordinary folk, all wish to see the nation more prosperous each day, more civilized, the whole nation becoming a happy, prosperous and all inclusive family.

Unfortunately, with the advent of this bauxite affair, the most loyal citizens feel lost; our common ideal of nation building seems diminished because of the method of operation of leading state organs. Such a phenomenon needs a short analysis as followed:

Dear authorities,

The mining for natural resources, including bauxite, is necessary, but it cannot be done at any cost!

The preparation for the bauxite project has been criticized by many scientists as being deficient in many respects. The two letters from General Vo Nguyen Giap alone are illustrative of the many defaults relative to areas of politics, defense, the environment, economics and technology. The submissions by Dr. Nguyen Thanh Son, Professor Pham Duy Hien and other independent researchers inside the country such as writer Nguyen Ngoc, Intellectual Nguyen Trung, Journalist Le Phu Khai, Writer Pham Dinh Trong, and outside of the country such as Dr. Nguyen Duc Hiep an environmental specialist in Australia, Consulting Engineer Dang Dinh Cung an expert on mining in Franceā€¦are complete technical documentation (in support) of the two letters by the general.

All these submissions point to the unacceptable loopholes or deficiencies in the policies relative to this bauxite project. The following three deficiencies are sufficient to alarm those with a conscience:

- The policy leading to the project was made public at the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009. But in reality, an agreement had been signed with China many years ago without seeking the approval of the people through the Congress elected by the people. The whole feasibility study was never presented to the people and their representatives being the Congress.

- China closed their bauxite mines and moved to Vietnam to mine for bauxite with the aim of transferring the pollution burdens to Vietnamese current and future generations. This is similar to what they do in Africa with the assistance of corrupt regimes in this continent, and such conduct is being monitored and criticized by world opinion.

- The technology, industry and labor for mining are intended to be imported from China. China is a new economic superpower lacking in good faith. In relation to bauxite mining, China is renowned world-wide as the greatest polluter, besides other issues (in March this year the Australian government has cancelled a resource mining project in South Australia with China because of national security reasons)

Dear authorities,

Our country belongs to the whole people and is not the property of any particular group, any interest group or any organization however excellent it may be.

All those who are concerned with the fate of the people, the country, the unfettered conduct of officials relative to the bauxite incident, must see the need to voice their opinion.

We hereby submit:

  1. The issue of the Western highland bauxite project and all related policies must be presented to the Congress for a decision
  2. The Western highland bauxite project must officially cease, be subjected to strict supervision until the Congress has considered all feasibility reports and make appropriate decisions. We respectfully submit that the Congress fully understand the wish of the vast majority of the people for the project to be discontinued due to its grave consequences.
  3. All studies about project feasibility relative to the Western highland bauxite project should receive public participation and scrutiny.

Dear authorities,

Those who apply their signatures under this petition have major concerns about the deficient working methods in many respects for a project with strategic consequences for national survival such as this bauxite project.

Please accept our respectful expressions and we hope you understand our grave concerns both from inside and outside of the country.

We take this opportunity to call on all Chinese nationals, especially intellectuals, to support the Vietnamese people, to assist in keeping the environment in your neighbor in the South clean, to help in resolving outstanding issues between the two nations in peace and friendship.

Vietnam 12 April 2009.

Source: Originally published in, which also included a list of the signatories, many of them academics and intellectuals from Vietnam.


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