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Request an Explanation from the US State Department

This petition had 462 supporters

The Vietnamese American Community of the USA
16204 Viki Lynn Pl., Pflugerville, TX 78660
TEL: (703) 980 9425 – (512) 789 0481

Aug. 22, 2015

Dear Congress,

On July 14, 2015, Mr. Ted Osius, the U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam, visited the Vietnamese American community in San Jose, California. The event was organized by the office of US Congressman Mike Honda and San Jose Councilman Ash Kalra. Upon arrival to the venue, an attendee, Ms., Ngoc Minh Do was asked by an agent to remove and submit her lanyard that features the flags of the USA and Republic of Vietnam. Appearing in front of the audience who has fled Vietnam to avoid revenge and discrimination from the Communist tyranny, Mr. Ted Osius wore on his coat a lapel pin with the flag of Communist Vietnam.

Ms. Do, as well as several Vietnamese activists had sent letter to protest Mr. Osius and the organizers and was explained that Mr. Osius “as the U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam, he preferred not to be photographed with it given the potential sensitivities” (Mr. Osius’s email to Mr. Michael Do, President of the Vietnamese American Community of the USA on 07/30/2015) and the organizers “had to abide by the requests of the U.S. State Department” (Mr. Edwin Tan - District Director of Congressman Mike Honda – wrote to Ms. Minh Ngoc Do on 07/23/2015). Mr. Osius has at least once stated that he would lose his job if taken picture with any symbol of South Vietnam.

On July 27, 2015, The Vietnamese American Community of the USA had sent letter to the State Department requesting an explanation, but so far, received no reply. In an official letter to Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, Ms. Julia Frifield (Assistant Secretary) states that “Displaying the flag is obviously a lawful and legitimate right for any American citizens.” Obviously, the flag of Republic of Vietnam - recognized by about 50 States, Counties, and Cities in the US as the Freedom and Heritage Flag – is the true identity of all Vietnamese Americans.

On behalf of the Vietnamese American citizens, we are writing this letter to express our disappointment in regard to such humiliating behavior of a high official of the Department of State and request an explanation from the State Department for the following issues:

1.- Who in the State Department requested the event organizers not to display the freedom and heritage flag of the Vietnamese Americans and to remove Ms. Do’s lanyard?
2.- Is the act of requesting to remove Ms. Do’s lanyard with RVN flag a violation to the Freedom of Expression that was written in the US Constitution and the 1st Amendment?
3.- Can such act considered an emotional attack to the Vietnamese Community?
4.- Mr. Osius feared of losing his job if photographed with the Vietnamese American symbols. Is this a policy of the State Department? Who will fire him? Based on what documentations?

We send this letter to the Congress because you are our representatives and only the Congress has the authorities to get the answers from the State Department. We really need to find out who is/are responsible for such behaviors that hurt so much our emotion.

Thank you for your serious attention to this matter.

Sincerely yours,
Michael Do
CEO, President of the VAC-USA

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