Another Blogger Arrested as Repression in Vietnam Intensifies
Vietnam Right Now
Dec 21, 2016
The Vietnamese government is continuing its
campaign to silence independent voices, with the arrest of a 29-year-old blogger
in Thanh Hoa province south of the capital.
State media said that Nguyen Danh Dung had
posted some 700 video clips defaming government officials on a variety of
Youtube and Facebook accounts.
The latest arrest comes a few days after civil
society organisations appealed to the international community about an
intensifying climate of repression in Vietnam.
The twenty one signatories, representing
religious, human rights and pro-democracy organisations, highlighted the
“arbitrary detention” of a growing number of activists.
Dung was accused of curating videos from a
number of websites deemed “hostile” by the authorities.
He is being held in custody while being
investigated on a charge of “abusing democratic freedoms” to damage the
interests of the state.
The charge is frequently used by the authorities
to imprison bloggers who challenge Communist party policies.
“Although it is a member of the United Nations
Human Rights Council, Vietnam not only disrespects human rights but has recently
intensified its human rights persecution, worsening the state of human rights
violation,” said the 21 groups, including the Civil Society Forum, the
Brotherhood for Democracy, and independent chapters of the Cao Dai church and
Hoa Hao Buddhist group.
Held in isolation
The statement, released on Human Rights Day on
December 10, highlighted the case of the human rights lawyer and Christian
activist, Nguyen Van Dai, who has been held in isolation since his arrest last
They also drew attention to the latest term of
imprisonment for the land rights activist, Can Thi Theu, and the arrest of the
prominent bloggers Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, known as Mother Mushroom, and Ho Hai,
in the last two months.
In their statement, the political and civil
society organisations accused authorities of mistreating prisoners of
conscience, restricting the right of travel of former prisoners of conscience
and systematically making their lives a misery.
They cited the case of the Lutheran pastor,
Nguyen Cong Chinh, who was suddenly moved from An Phuoc camp in Binh Duong
province to an undisclosed location.
Such tactics are used by the authorities to
isolate prisoners from their relatives and supporters.
Pastor Chinh was sentenced to 11 years in prison
in 2011 for undermining national solidarity under Article 87 of the penal code.
Threats and intimidation
The Political and Religious Prisoners Friendship
Association reported that they have the names of some 100 prisoners of
conscience, and estimate that hundreds of other prisoners from ethnic minority
groups in the Central Highlands and northern provinces are detained in camps for
The statement’s signatories said government
authorities also used threats and intimidation to harass rights advocates and
bloggers, damaged their property and fired mainstream journalists who opposed
the Communist party’s policies.
They also accused the government of destroying
places of religious worship, including the Lien Tri Pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City,
and the Caodaist temple at Tuy An.
The groups called on the international community
to pressurise the government to “unconditionally release all prisoners of
conscience, annul detention systems for prisoners of conscience, stop acts of
terrorism against rights activists, and respect freedom of speech and the
“Vietnamese people must have rights to live,
with all the human rights that are stipulated in the universal declaration of
human rights,” they said.