World: Toward Riceroots Democracy

"The laws of the emperor yield to the customs of the village," says a venerable Vietnamese proverb, reflecting the ancient importance and autonomy of the unit in which 80% of South Viet Nam's 16 million people live. Well aware that the proverb carries more importance than ever in the struggle with the Viet Cong to win the countryside, the Saigon government this week launched Viet Nam's most meaningful and democratic village and hamlet elections in modern times. Throughout Viet Nam, thousands of peasants entered polling booths built of bamboo matting and black cloth...

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