Vietnam’s Persecution of Dissent Continues
Defend the Defenders, March 05, 2017
One week after the visit to Vietnam of the Subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament, the Communist government in Hanoi continues to persecute dissent by arresting, detaining, and carrying out physical attacks against local activists.
On Monday, plainclothes agents in Thanh Hoa, Ha Tinh and Quang Binh kidnapped, tortured and robbed pro-democracy activist Nguyen Trung Ton and his friend. The duo was beaten and will go through a long recovery process as a result of the severe injuries they sustained.
A plainclothes agent in Haiphong also attacked former prisoner of conscience Huynh Anh Tu when he visited Nguyen Xuan Nghia, a local ex-political prisoner.
On March 2, security forces in Hanoi arrested activists Vu Quang Thuan and Nguyen Van Dien, accusing them of posting “harmful videoclips” on the Internet. However, the police have not made public the official charges against the two activists, who produced tens of live streaming videos on their Facebook accounts to criticize the Communist leadership for systemic corruption, bad management and weak response to China’s violations of the country’s sovereignty in the East Sea (South China Sea). Their video clips have spread fast on the Internet and have been viewed by millions of Vietnamese citizens.
On Sunday, many activists in Saigon gathered to the Notre Dame Saigon Church to protest the polluting Formosa steel plant. The local police quickly arrested and took them to an unknown location. They also barred many other activists from attending the general demonstration called by former political prisoner Nguyen Van Ly and other activists.
In Hanoi and other localities, security forces successfully prevented local activists from holding peaceful demonstrations as authorities sent a large number of plainclothes agents to their private residences in order to prevent them from going out on Sunday, and even in some cases several days earlier.
Still, thousands of Catholic followers in Nghe An and Ha Tinh held large demonstrations to condemn the Formosa Plastic Group’s illegal discharge of toxic chemicals into Vietnam’s sea, demanding it to compensate more than the $500 million it has pledged and to cease its operations in Vietnam. Local authorities deployed a large number of police and military forces to protect the group’s steel plant in Ky Anh district.