Dxpat.com

Blogs about Vietnam

www.travelblog.org

Vietnam Travel Blogs, Photos, Hotel and Hostel Listing from TravelBlog.org.

www.travelfish.org/blogs/vietnam/

A regular blog covering the goings on in Vietnam, for both visitors and residents.

www.saigonnezumi.com/bloggers-in-vietnam/

Please subscribe to @SaigonBlogs on Twitter for a daily update from bloggers and new sites on Saigon, Vietnam. @SaigonBlogs is maintained …

www.economist.com/blogs/banyan/2012/10/free-speech-vietnam

VIETNAMESE justice can be swift as well as ferocious, as three bloggers discovered almost as soon as they came before the People’s Court of …

www.aljazeera.com/news/asia-pacific/…/201292482112850957.html

Bloggers charged with producing propaganda against the one-party state under “vague” section of the criminal code.

The court ruled that the sentences and convictions of writer Nguyen Van Hai and former policewoman Ta Phong Tan should not be overturned.

Nguyen Van Hai and Ta Phong Tan received 12 and 10 years in jail respectively after a brief trial.

In a separate development, another top blogger has been arrested.

Le Quoc Quan, one of Vietnam’s best-known dissidents, was arrested on Thursday on charges of tax evasion, state media reports say.

Mr Quan was detained as he took his children to school in Hanoi.

He has been jailed before, and had recently complained of being under surveillance and harassment.

Vietnam’s communist rulers have opened up the economy, but suppress political opposition and ban private media. All newspapers and television channels are state-run.

Fearful

The case of Nguyen Van Hai, also known as Dieu Cay, has attracted international attention and was recently highlighted by US President Barack Obama.

Nguyen Van Hai’s lawyer Ha Huy Son told the BBC Vietnamese service that the appeal failed because the court’s judgement did not fully reflect the arguments presented on his client’s behalf at the hearing.

Ta Phong Tan has been praised by campaigning groups for her work in exposing official corruption.

In June her mother committed suicide by setting herself on fire in front of government offices in protest over her continuing detention.

Le Quoc Quan Le Quoc Quan writes a popular blog exposing human rights abuses

The pair were found guilty of posting political articles on a banned website called Free Journalists’ Club, as well as posting articles critical of the government on their own blogs.

A third blogger, who pleaded guilty, had his sentence reduced from four years to three.

Meanwhile the state-run Tuoi Tre newspaper reported that Le Quoc Quan was being held for tax evasion.

He was treated in hospital in August after being beaten up by men he believed were state agents.

The dissident was so fearful of being assaulted again since the August incident that he had reportedly begun carrying a golf club for self-defence.

Le Quoc Quan was detained in 2007 for three months on his return from an American government-funded fellowship in Washington.

He writes a popular blog exposing human rights abuses and other issues not covered by the state media.

In an interview with the Associated Press news agency in September, he said that he and his family and staff had received frequent warnings from the authorities.

But he pledged to carry on speaking out against the government and in support of multi-party democracy and freedom of speech.

Vietnam has hit three prominent bloggers with lengthy prison terms, reinforcing its reputation as one of the world’s most restrictive countries for freedom of speech and the press.

Vietnam seems to be racing China to the bottom of the press-freedom index that is kept by Reporters Without Borders: In the group’s rankings of 179 countries, Vietnam is No. 172 and China is No. 174. (Eritrea and North Korea are at the bottom of the pile.)

One of the convicted bloggers, Nguyen Van Hai, who writes under the name Dieu Cay, or The Peasant’s Pipe, was sentenced to 12 years in prison. He was among several detained journalists mentioned by President Barack Obama in a speech on World Press Freedom Day in May.

Mr. Obama said Dieu Cay’s first arrest, in 2008, had “coincided with a mass crackdown on citizen journalism in Vietnam.” The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi issued a statement on Monday saying it was “deeply concerned” about his conviction “for peacefully expressing his political views.”

“The government’s treatment of Dieu Cay appears 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,” the embassy said.

Catherine Ashton, the foreign policy chief for the European Union, also denounced the harshness of the sentences. She called for the immediate release of Dieu Cay as well as the other two bloggers, Phan Thanh Hai and Ta Phong Tan, both of whom received Hellman/Hammett Awards last year.

The awards, which come with a cash grant, are given to writers around the world who have been politically persecuted. Administered by Human Rights Watch, the award is named for Lillian Hellman, the American playwright, and the novelist Dashiell Hammett.

Ms. Tan, 44, a former police officer, reportedly broke down in the courtroom after hearing her sentence of 10 years. In July, her mother died after setting herself on fire in front of a municipal building to protest the charges against her daughter.

Ms. Tan, a former Communist Party member, said she has often been harassed for her writings. She was once interrogated for a “distorted” blog post about a dream in which she encountered Karl Marx.

“This Vietnamese state even controls people’s dreams,” she said afterward.

The Hellman/Hammett citation said this about her:

Since launching her blog “Justice & Truth” (Cong ly & Su that) in November 2006, she has become one of the most prolific bloggers in Vietnam. She has authored more than 700 articles about social issues, including the mistreatment of children, official corruption, unfair taxation of poor people, and peasant grievances connected to illegal land confiscations by local officials.

In addition, using her former knowledge and experience of police work, she provides insightful observations about widespread abuse of power by the police in Vietnam.

Phan Thanh Hai, 43, a legal activist whose blogging name is Anh Ba Saigon, was reportedly the only one of the three to plead guilty and promised the court that he would have “no further contact with anti-state people.” He received a four-year sentence.

He has written about forbidden topics like the maritime disputes with China and bauxite mining in Vietnam, an issue that has caused angry fractures among the Communist Party elite. In recent years, a number of Vietnamese bloggers have sharply criticized plans to allow Chinese firms (using imported Chinese workers) to mine bauxite under alleged sweetheart deals with government and party leaders.

“After those protests, the government saw the influence of blogs on political life in Vietnam,” said a Vietnamese blogger who spoke on condition of anonymity to the Committee to Protect Journalists. “Now they see blogs as something very dangerous, something they need to control. . . They see bloggers as hostile forces.”

“Today’s sentences, imposed against three online journalists who were merely expressing critical opinions, mark a new low point for press freedom in Vietnam,” said Shawn Crispin, the senior Southeast Asia representative for the Committee to Protect Journalists.

“We call upon the judicial authorities to reverse these outrageous convictions and sentences and ask Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s government to reform its repressive laws in line with international standards of freedom of expression.”

“The alleged crime committed by these bloggers is to report stories that the government does not want the Vietnamese people to read,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Vietnam’s arbitrary use of vaguely worded national security laws to imprison critics of the government means bloggers are bearing the brunt of this assault on freedom of expression.”

Amnesty International, in assailing the sentences, called the three bloggers “prisoners of conscience.” Amnesty said relatives and supporters of the bloggers had been arrested to prevent them from attending the trial, which was held in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon.

“These shocking prison sentences confirm our worst fears — that the Vietnamese authorities have chosen to make an example of these bloggers, in an attempt to silence others,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty’s researcher on Vietnam, adding that freedom of expression in the country was “dire and worsening.”

A press freedom Web site said Dieu Cay was arrested in 2008 after writing about Chinese repression in Tibet and Beijing’s claims on the Spratly islands. He also objected to the Olympic torch relay being routed through parts of Vietnam before the Beijing Games.

When the police came to arrest him, Mr. Crispin said, “they told his family it was for his own protection from Chinese secret agents angered by his reporting.”

“They said if they did not catch my father in time, it would disappoint China and they would start a war and then we would lose even more territory,” Mr. Hai’s son, Nguyen Tri Dung, said in an interview with C.P.J. “That obviously wasn’t true.”

“Idiotically, yet unsurprisingly, the Vietnamese government imprisoned Dieu Cay under the charges ‘tax evasion,’ which is bogus to say the least,” said the free-speech Web site, Freedom for Vietnam.

Dieu Cay was released in 2010 after serving 30 months in jail, but he was arrested again for publishing “anti-state propaganda,” the charge that all three bloggers faced.

“Vietnam does not have the rule of law; it only has the rule of the Party,” he said in one of his blogs. “The law was compromised to protect police officers and Party members who abuse power.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

a searchable web directory for Expat and websites organised by countries.