PETITION on the Vietnam Central Plateau (Tay Nguyen) Bauxite Case (*)


Vietnam, April 12, 2009 

The Honorable Nguyen Minh Triet, President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

The Honorable Nguyen Phu Trong, Chairman, and

           Members of the National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

The Honorable Nguyen Tan Dung, Prime Minister, and

          Cabinet Members of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam 


Dear Honorables, 

We, the undersigned Vietnamese, are concerned about our country's future regarding bauxite mining in the Tay Nguyen region.  We respectfully submit to you the following petition. 

Dear Honorables, 

Our Vietnamese people struggled for many decades fighting wars for national independence and unification. We are now mobilizing all our physical and intellectual efforts towards building and renovating the country completely. 

There should be, in principle, no conflict between the interest of the State and of the people in the task of renewed nation building. Our people, both inside and outside of the country, from leaders to ordinary citizens, all wish to see the nation grow prosperous and strong and civilized, and the entire population to become a unified family, happy, and dignified. 

Unfortunately, the bauxite mining project has caused great damage to the country's consensus because of the administration's mismanagement.  The people with integrity feel lost.  The common ideal of nation building seems eroded.  This can be briefly analyzed as follows. 

Dear Honorables, 

The exploitation of our country’s natural resources, including bauxite mining, is a critical part of our national development, but not one that should be developed at any cost

Many scientists have pointed out key shortcomings in the preparation of the bauxite mining project. The two letters from General Vo Nguyen Giap alone are sufficient to show political, national security, environmental, economic and technical deficiencies of the project.  Petitions by Dr. Nguyen Thanh Son, Prof. Pham Duy Hien, and other independent researchers in the country (such as writer Nguyen Ngoc, scholar Nguyen Trung, journalist Le Phu Khai, writer Pham Dinh Trong) and abroad (such as Dr. Nguyen Duc Hiep, environmental pollution specialist in Australia, and engineer Dang Dinh Cung, consultant and mining specialist in France, among others) reconfirm the heartfelt concerns expressed by General Vo Nguyen Giap with technical expertise. 

All of these petitions point to unacceptable loopholes or errors in the bauxite mining project planning. The following three issues are sufficient to cause grave concern for those with a sense of integrity: 

-         The decision on the project was made public between the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009 but in reality a preliminary agreement on the project had been signed with China many years before without consulting the people through their elected National Assembly. The whole feasibility study was never presented to the people and their representatives in the National Assembly. 

-         The Chinese have closed bauxite mines in their own country and shifted their production to Vietnam.  This will cause long-term environmental pollution in Vietnam, affecting our people and many generations to come. Similar approach has been done in Africa with the assistance of corrupt regimes in that continent. Their conduct is being closely monitored and harshly criticized by world opinion. 

-         The technology, process, and labor for mining are intended to be imported mainly from China, a new emerging prospering economic power that is untrustworthy in many aspects, including bauxite mining. China is notorious worldwide as the number one polluting nation in mining exploitation, besides other related “problems” (for example, the Australian government cancelled a resource mining project in South Australia with China in March this year because of national security reasons). 

Dear Honorables, 

Our country belongs to the Vietnamese people and is not the property of any particular group, any interest group, or any organization no matter how outstanding

All people who are concerned with the future of the Vietnamese people and the country feel deeply disturbed at irresponsible actions taken in the bauxite mining project. We all do feel an urge to voice our opinion. 

We hereby motion: 

  1. The Tay Nguyen bauxite mining project be presented to the National Assembly and all decisions be approved by the National Assembly.

  1. The Tay Nguyen bauxite mining project be officially ceased, be subject to strict supervision until the National Assembly has reviewed all feasibility studies and made appropriate decisions. We respectfully urge that the National Assembly fully understands and reflects the wish of the vast majority of the Vietnamese people that the project be discontinued due to its grave negative consequences.

  1. All feasibility studies in the Tay Nguyen bauxite mining project be widely open to the public for comments and scrutiny.

 Dear Honorables, 

The undersigned in this petition express their deep concerns about working methods that are insufficiently thorough or complete in many aspects for a project that is strategically important to the nation such as the bauxite mining project. 

Please accept our respectful expression and understand thoroughly the deep concern of our people from inside and outside of the country. 

We would like to take this opportunity to call on all Chinese nationals, especially intellectuals, to support the Vietnamese people by helping protect the environment in your southern neighbor and resolve many outstanding issues between the two nations in peace and friendship. 

Thank you all for your listening to and consideration of our petition. 

Signed by:  

Prof. Nguyễn Huệ Chi 

Writer Phạm Toàn 

Prof. Nguyễn Thế Hùng


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