Vietnam assemblyman removes offensive blog post amid stir

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Promising to apologize, a National Assembly member from Ho Chi Minh City has taken down an entry on his blog that "offensively" derided a fellow parliamentarian, causing a public stir.

At a meeting with the city's delegation of National Assembly representatives on Monday, Hoang Huu Phuoc admitted that he had authored and posted the entry on his blog, a source told Thanh Nien.

He stated that his criticisms of Duong Trung Quoc were not expressed in a "suitable" manner, adding that he has removed it and will address the press on the matter as well as apologize to Quoc at a later date.

According to the source, leaders of the delegation agreed the entry was "unsuitable" to the "culture of Vietnam's National Assembly."

It is "not advisable" to use a personal blog to deride other assemblymen, they stressed.

The firestorm began on February 9 when Phuoc posted an entry titled "Duong Trung Quoc and the Four Past Mistakes (aka Four Huge Idiocies)."

Phuoc identified the "idiocies" as Quoc's reasons for supporting for a bill on the right to hold demonstrations and the legalization of prostitution in recent National Assembly sessions.

He said that although Quoc is a historian, he had showed his lack of knowledge in different fields, including history, characterizing the manner in which he voiced his opinion in meetings as "aggressive" and "hasty."

He also called Quoc "arrogant" and "irrational" for suggesting that Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung should stop apologizing and initiate a "culture of resignation" instead. Quoc had made the comments after the PM apologized for huge losses incurred by state-owned businesses at a National Assembly meeting last year.

Quoc refused to respond to the entry, saying that it was a personal blog entry which contained "nothing worthy of comment."

In the meantime, in an interview with Tuoi Tre on Tuesday, Le Nhu Tien, vice chairman of the National Assembly's Committee on Culture, Education, Youth and Children, said the assembly's related agencies should consider the suggestion made by some netizens that Phuoc be dismissed.

Tien said it is "normal" for assemblymen to argue with one another, but it is "unacceptable" for one to use a personal blog to assess his peer with "offensive" and "disrespectful" words like "idiot."

Such uncouth behavior is unprecedented in the country's legislature, he said, adding that many people will consider Phuoc's lack of tact deplorable.

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