Sixty-seven years since Vietnam’s Declaration of Independence, the country remains under the thumb of an authoritarian government.

It is almost 67 years to the day when the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence was revealed on September 2, 1945. The document served to announce, without doubt, Vietnam as a free and independent nation, no longer subject to French or Japanese rule.

Vietnam-protests

Protesters against the Vietnamese government at the United Nations building in the United States in 2010

Among the first words written are, “All men are created equal; they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights; among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”–borrowed directly from the US Declaration of Independence.

The author of this document? None other than the former leading light of Vietnam’s Communist Party, President Ho Chi Minh. It is perhaps not surprising that the motto of Vietnam –“Independence, Freedom, and Happiness” — brings to mind the inalienable rights.

Nearly 67 years later, however, those inalienable rights remain a fantasy to the Vietnamese citizen, subjected instead to the authoritarian rule of the Communist Party. The hopeful words that should have inspired a generation of Vietnamese were instead ignored. Independence, freedom and happiness were restricted to those in power. It is with little doubt that the Vietnam today is a product of squandered opportunity.

Continue reading at Asia Sentinel.