Thien, the author of "counter-revolutionary" poetry and jailed for most of the last 39 years with 12 years in solitary confinement, had the courage to call Ho Chi Minh a "devil king" whose peasant sandals are "iron heels" crushing the people of Vietnam. His book Hoa Dia Nguc (Flowers from Hell) is solid and gripping.
Ill from years in prison, Thien declared upon his November 1, 1995 arrival that the US is the capital of freedom and that his coming was a dream nutured through the decades.
Thien's release is due solely to the dogged persistence of USAF Col. (Ret) Noboru Masuoka. Masuoka was also the driving force for the release and emigration of Thieu Ta (Maj) Nguyen Quy An, a recipient of the US DFC for his rescue of 4 US personnel shot down over Laos. In addition, Col. Masuoka had previously gained entry to the US for Trung Ta (LtC) Bui Quyen who arrived in the US just in time to see his son graduate from the US Air Force Academy. In each of the three cases, Col. Masuoka paid all expenses involved in obtaining the release and bringing each individual to the US.
Thien in testimony before a House International Relations Subcommittee commented on Robert S. McNamara's trip to Hanoi "He doesn't understand anything about Viet Nam...or the Vietnamese people."
We at Counterparts/Tuong Huu Dong Nam A with great admiration and commendation for his courage and conviction, welcome Nguyen Chi Thien and wish him well as he finally receives medical care.