Two Hanoi-based Activists Beaten While Holding Facebook Live Stream about Formosa


Defend the Defenders

April 5, 2017


On April 5, two activists from Hanoi, Le My Hanh and Trinh Dinh Hoa were brutally beaten by unidentified individuals when they were conducting a live stream on Facebook about the environmental disaster caused by the Taiwanese Formosa steel plant in the central coastal region.

According to the video posted on their Facebook accounts, Ms. Hanh and Mr. Hoa were making the live stream in Ho Tay (West Lake) to report about the current situation in the central region, a thug came from their back, attacking Ms. Hanh and robbing her cell phone by which she was filming herself.

Throwing her cell phone into the lake, the thug turned to beat Hanh and Mr. Hoa who stood near her.

Due to the attack, Hanh and Hoa suffered from a number of injuries. Mr. Hoa’s face was full with his blood as his nose was broken.

The victims suspected that the attackers are plainclothes agents and pro-government individuals.

Ms. Hanh is a citizen journalist who has actively reported peaceful demonstrations of central residents who seeking compensation for the environmental consequences of a waste discharge by the Taiwanese Formosa steel plant in the central coastal waters as well as the request the Taiwanese group to leave Vietnam.

Meanwhile, Mr. Hoa has actively been attending in peaceful demonstrations which aim to protest China’s violations of the country’s sovereignty in the East Sea (South China Sea), human rights violations and other issues in the communist nation.

Hanh and Hoa are among numerous activists who have been assaulted by plainclothes agents and pro-government individuals in the past few years.

Among victims are human rights lawyers Nguyen Van Dai and Nguyen Bac Truyen, prominent human rights activists Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, Nguyen Trung Ton, Pham Thanh Nghien, and Vu Quoc Ngu, anti-China activists La Viet Dung and Truong Minh Tam.

In order to silent local critics, Vietnam’s communist government has deployed a number of measures, including intimidations, harassments, assaults, arbitrary arrests and detentions against them.

Over a hundred of pro-democracy advocates, social activists and human rights defenders have been imprisoned while dozens of others have been assaulted as the government has intensified its crackdown against the local dissent amid increasing public dissatisfaction due to its failure to deal with systemic corruption, economic slowdown and rising social inequality.

Facebook’s live stream is an effective tool of Vietnamese activists to address social issues.    

Meanwhile, state media, especially the Vietnam Television (VTV) has continued to broadcast false information about peaceful demonstrations of fishermen in the central region to accuse protestors of conducting violence against the local authorities and provide untrue facts about the polluted waters in the central coast.

On the same time, citizen journalists are striving to cover the news about the real situation in the central coastal region, particularly the hard life of the local residents due to the environmental pollution caused by the Formosa steel plant, and the unfair compensation from the insufficient $500 million pledged by the Taiwanese group.


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