Violent Wave against Vietnamese Activists Continues, One Retired Teacher Suffers Heavy Injuries
By Vu Quoc Ngu, Defend the Defenders
July 14, 2016
The violent wave against Vietnamese activists continues with retired teacher suffering heavy injuries from attack of pro-government thugs in the latest case, local human rights defenders said.
On July 13, retired teacher To Oanh from Vietnamís northern province of Bac Giang and his wife travelled on their motorbike in Soc Son district, Hanoi. On their way, they were followed by two thugs who attacked them at a remote road near Phu Cuong Bridge.
Due to their attack, the coup and their motorbike fell on the road and Mr. Oanh fell unconscious with many injuries in his head and face. His wife received lighter injuries.
The attackers, also on their motorbike, drove away from the scene.
Mr. Oanh was taken to a hospital and the medical check-up showed that he has broken facial bone and blood congestion in his head.
Mr. Oanh, 60, is among activists opposing Chinaís violations of Vietnamís sovereignty in the East Sea (South China Sea), advocating for multi-party democracy and human rights protection. He has participated in a number of peaceful anti-China protests in the past few years.
In 2014, he was invited by the U.S. Congress to visit Washington and other localities to speak out about human rights violations in Vietnam.
He has also posted a number of online articles promoting human rights in his blog and Facebook page.
Oanh has been under constant suppression of the local authorities in recent years.
The attack against Mr. Oanh and his wife is among series of persecution in Vietnam against local political dissidents, social activists and human rights defenders, and the third attack within one week.
On July 9, plainclothes agents in the central city of Nghe An kidnapped a group of eight pro-democracy activists coming from the central province of Quang Binh to attend a wedding party of a local activist. The kidnappers robbed all money, cell phones and documents of the eight activists and beat them. They took of clothes of their victims before releasing them at a remote area in forest. Nguyen Trung Truc and Mai Van Tam were the most suffered, with many serious injuries in their heads and bodies.
The victims are member of the pro-democracy group Brotherhood of Democracy which was established by arrested human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai, who is facing anti-state propaganda allegation under Article 88 of Vietnamís Penal Code.
On the same day, police in Ho Chi Minh City detained activist Nguyen Viet Dung and deported him to his home province of Nghe An where he was detained for several hours by the local policemen. Dung said he was interrogated and beaten in both places, HCMC and Vinh, the city of Nghe An.
One day later, six plainclothes agents in Hanoi attacked La Viet Dung, member of No-U movement which opposes Chinaís invasion in the East Sea. The attackers used bricks to beat Dung when he returned from a meeting with other activists. Due to the assault, Dung lost much blood with a number of severe injuries in his head and face and needs special medical treatment.
Last month, Danang-based blogger and political dissident Nguyen Van Thanh was attacked three times by police officers and thugs.
Hundreds of Vietnamese political dissidents, social activists and human rights defenders have been beaten by police officers and plainclothes agents, in police stations or outside.
Vietnamese communists have ruled the country for decades and they have no tolerance for criticism. Along with using controversial articles of the Penal Code to imprison government critics, the security forces have intimidated, suppressed and persecuted local activists.
Hanoi has verbally protested Chinaís violations of Vietnamís sovereignty in the East Sea, and violently suppressed peaceful demonstrations against Beijingís aggressive acts in the resource-rich sea which is also very important for international navigation.
It has also arrested and beat hundreds of environmentalists who speak out against the Taiwanese Formosa Plastic Group which buried huge volume of toxic industrial waste of its steel plant in the central province of Ha Tinh into Vietnamís sea and forest. Due to discharging waste into water, Formosa caused the environmental disaster in Vietnamís central coast, killing hundreds of tons of fish in April-June.
Earlier this month, Minister of Public Security Senior Lieutenant General To Lam demanded the security forces to take tougher moves to prevent spontaneous demonstrations although the rights of assembly and freedom of expression are enshrined in the 2013 Constitution.
(See pictures taken in hospital where Mr. To Oanh was under urgent treatment)