Monday, June 24, 2013

Vietnam Targeting Bloggers And Government Critics

You don't hear much about Vietnam these days, but just like Islamic Republics and other Communist countries, there is little to no freedom, and zero tolerance for political dissent.

According to Human Rights Watch, there have been a spate of arrests and attacks on bloggers and  critics of the Vietnamese government. In a statement on its website, HRW is calling for their release.

Human Rights Watch called for the immediate and unconditional release of recently arrested bloggers Truong Duy Nhat and Pham Viet Dao, as well as internet activist Dinh Nhat Uy, and an investigation into allegations that police assaulted internet activists Nguyen Chi Duc, Nguyen Hoang Vi, and Pham Le Vuong Cac, whose security the authorities should protect.

“Vietnam’s strategy of repressing critics big and small will only lead the country deeper into crisis,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “The latest arrests and assaults on bloggers show how afraid the government is of open discussion on democracy and human rights.”

Many of the arrests have come under Vietnam Penal Code article 258, one of several vague and elastic legal provisions routinely used to prosecute people for exercising their right to freedom of expression. Recent cases of arrest and assault include the following:

On May 26, 2013, Ministry of Public Security officers arrested blogger Truong Duy Nhat for “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State, the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and/or citizens,” according to the Vietnamese newspaper Thanh Nien. The arrest at his home in Da Nang of the 49-year-old followed his posting on his popular “A Different Perspective” blog of a call for the resignation of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and ruling Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, blaming them for leading Vietnam into worsening political and economic difficulties.
HRW is also asking "donors and trading partners" to

“..  stand with those in Vietnam struggling for their rights and make it clear that no one should be arrested or assaulted for their opinions."“They should insist that the only future for countries trying to develop and modernize is a free and open society in which the authorities accept that criticism is a normal part of the political process.”

Good luck with that!

Read the whole statement here, along with reports of other incidents of persecution.

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