Vietnam Jails More Bloggers
Image Credit: Yun Huang Yong

Vietnam Jails More Bloggers


The Vietnamese government has jailed 14 people for terms of three to 13 years for ‘plotting to overthrow the state,’ outraging human rights groups who say all were simply social justice campaigners and citizen journalists.  

Most were Roman Catholics with links to Viet Tan, or the Vietnam Reform Party, a U.S.-based organization outlawed by Hanoi as a militant group. Charges also included the spreading of anti-state propaganda.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said the defendants and alleged ringleader Ho Duc Hoa were imprisoned for exercising their rights in activities which should never have been criminalized. Meanwhile, the U.S. embassy in Hanoi issued a statement criticizing the sentences and also saying the 12 men and 2 women were exercising their right to freedom of expression.

Nearly all were bloggers or students. 

Viet Tan rejected the allegations and the court’s verdict saying: “The trial held in the city of Vinh, central Vietnam, took place in a climate of political repression even though the proceedings were billed by officials as being open.”

“Authorities mobilized hundreds of uniformed and plainclothes security police to block supporters and relatives of the defendants from gathering outside the court.

“Dozens of supporters — including elderly women and Catholic clergy — were physically attacked by police and temporarily detained,” it said. “Viet Tan rejects the fabrications peddled by the communist court to rationalize the ‘subversion’ charges.”

Verifying claims in Vietnam is not easy and often fraught with problems. It remains a country where the authorities hide the embarrassing at all costs and dissent is not tolerated. Vietnam is also facing an economic paralysis brought on by central government policies — and higher unemployment and lower standards of living will only raise the volume for the government’s critics.

Ordinary Vietnamese increasingly rely on bloggers for information that the heavily censored and sanitized local press are unable to deliver on.

Last month an appeals court upheld a 12 and 10 year sentence meted out to two prominent bloggers jailed in September, which were also “anti-state propaganda” charges. 

These were not the first to be arrested under section 88 of the criminal code in regards to propaganda.

“These convictions, along with the detention of human rights lawyer and blogger Le Quoc Quan since December 27, 2012 and the upholding of sentences against bloggers Nguyen Van Hai — also known as Dieu Cay — Ta Phong Tan, and Phan Thanh Hai, are part of a disturbing human rights trend in Vietnam,” the U.S. embassy statement said.

In calling for their release the U.S. also noted their treatment appeared to be inconsistent with Vietnam’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights relating to freedom of expression and due process

Kim's Uncle
January 29, 2013 at 16:40

VCP can do is ape the CCP! They cannot think for themselves, therefore, they will pawns to a bigger thug CCP. Kinda humiliating they have to fly the same look alike flag !

bac phat
January 17, 2013 at 09:46

Like the CCP, the VCP has never been the legitimate representative of its people. Political & economic reforms are a must  & the only way for Vietnam to move upwards  to avoid the sharp jaws of   the evil giant Chinese shark . Democracy,  liberty & prosperity are what the Vietnamese have been long  longing &  fighting for.

January 16, 2013 at 14:41

All facets of Vietnam need to open their eyes. Stop being the frog that sees the world from the bottom of the well. Stop drinking the cool aid and realize how far the rest of Asia have left you behind.

January 16, 2013 at 06:10

@ Anon,
They are too busy to read stories about Ai WeiWei, Fa Lung sect, multiple (as in plural) uprisings in Tibet and Xinjiang, and the latest air pollution in Beijing that is 30 to 40 times the normal rate.

January 16, 2013 at 04:50

I really hope that the officials in the Vietnamese Government read how a "Chinese supporter" like you is rejoicing at this. Indeed, a government that fears its citizen bloggers is a weak one. And a weak Vietnamese government is exactly what China is looking for. It has been like this for 2000 years.
Censorship has never protected anything, except darkness.

January 15, 2013 at 16:44

Hey, where are all the raving, gungho "Vietnam supporters" on this site?

January 14, 2013 at 01:28

As a Vietnamese American, I  thank God and our great founding fathers for this great land and ideas that we share in common.

Several events that occured in Vietnam have tarnished the image of the country as an oppressive regime and does not respect human rights, and weak leadership, which cannot withstand the mighty weight of China by letting to be bullied.

7 events which are shameful to Vietnamese people taken place last week in Vietnam.

Kenneth. R. Taylor
January 12, 2013 at 19:28

Veitnam will never gain Political acceptance with such an attitude towards it's own people. If people are expressing their views and those views are contradictory to the Governments, then the Government should solve the problem via debate or explanation. How ever to follow the Communist Line or the Socialists line of "We are right. You are wrong, so go to gaol!" will never win over any of their opponents.
They are using shadow tactics which will only raise more decent and condemnation. China and Korea run the same system, and they are constantly trying to put out political fires. The system doesn't work.

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