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Lawmaker stages walkout over Vietnamese delegation's visit

April 6, 2010 |  8:26 am

In a scene more common at the United Nations than the California Senate, a state lawmaker from Orange County walked out of Monday's legislative session as part of a foreign policy protest.

State Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) objected that a delegation from the Vietnamese National Assembly was being honored by the state Senate, which welcomed the members during its floor session and flew the Vietnamese flag in the legislative chambers.

Sen. Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro) presented the delegation to the lawmakers, saying the Vietnam officials were in California to discuss judicial reform and to "learn our way of civil law."

Before Corbett spoke, Correa, whose district includes one of the largest concentrations of Vietnamese Americans in the state, told his colleagues before the walkout that he has heard from constituents about a history of human rights abuses by Vietnam that included putting dissidents in political re-education camps.

"Concerns regarding Vietnam's lack of freedoms are being raised this very day," Correa said before he left the Senate floor.

-- Patrick McGreevy