South Viet Nam: Austerity Kick

The U.S. has long urged President Ngo Dinh Diem to reform his South Vietnamese government in order better to fight the Communist guerrillas. Last week Diem acted in one area that was not considered exactly crucial by U.S. advisers: public morals. Diem, encouraged by his beautiful, puritanical sister-in-law, Mme. Ngo Dinh Nhu, signed an austerity law aimed at protecting "the traditional virtue of Viet Nam" by banning beauty contests, cockfighting, abortions, contraceptives and boxing matches. Under the law, public or private dancing is punishable by fines ranging from $2.75 to $685, and up to three months' imprisonment.


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