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Blogger Mẹ Nấm

The 88 Project, February 24, 2017: Blogger Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh – Mẹ Nấm’s temporary detention was extended for another three months, yet her family did not receive any written notice. Ms. Nguyễn Thị Tuyết Lan, Mẹ Nấm’s mother, told VOA on February 23 that Khánh Hòa province’s People’s Procuracy had signed a temporary detention extension order for her daughter on January 13, but she has not yet seen the written document. All notices thus far have been given to her “verbally.” She told VOA Vietnamese:

“According to the four-month temporary detention order, February 10 should have been the last day of the detention. On February 14, hearing nothing from the authorities, I filed an inquiry. On February 21, they invited me to come to meet with them and said they had the right to extend the detention for another three months. The officer who invited me was Captain Ngô Xuân Phong. He read to me the order signed on January 13 that extended the temporary detention from February 7 to May 7, meaning for three more months. I asked why they had not notified the family. He said they had notified the temporary detainee only.” Read More

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Dang Xuan Dieu at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, Feb. 21, 2017. Source: Facebook Dang Xuan Dieu

Vietnam Right Now, February 21, 2017: A recently exiled Vietnamese activist has told an international gathering in Geneva that he suffered persistent physical and psychological abuse during his six years in jail.

Dang Xuan Dieu said he was periodically shackled, held in solitary confinement, and abused by other prisoners, after being convicted of plotting to overthrow the government.

The political and religious rights activist was released last month after agreeing to go into exile in France. He had served six years of a thirteen year sentence.

“Prisoners were seen as hostile if they refused to cooperate with the prison authorities,” said Dieu in a speech to the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy.

“The prison officer’s will was seen as god’s will and prisoners had to bow down like children. I was labelled as dangerous and destructive because I tried to lobby for better conditions,” he said.

Treated like a slave

Dieu had been convicted of subversion, under article 79 of the penal code, for his work as a reporter with the Vietnam Redemptorist News, an outlet run by Catholic priests and other activists in Ho Chi Minh City. Read More

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Activists in Hanoi meet on Feb 17 to mark the 38th military invasion of China in Vietnam’s northern region. Source: vietnamhumanrightsdefenders.net

Defend the Defenders, February 17, 2017: On February 17, Vietnam’s security forces in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh violently dispersed the peaceful gatherings of local activists who want to mark the 38th anniversary of China’s invasion of the country’s six northernmost provinces.

Hundreds of after activists gathered in Ly Thai To King memorial in Hanoi and General Tran Hung Dao memorial in HCM City to commemorate the thousands of fallen soldiers and civilians killed by the People’s Liberation Army of China during the one-month military invasion which started on February 17, 1979.

Authorities in Hanoi and HCM City deployed a large number of police officers, plainclothes agents and militia to the two places. Shortly after activists came, security forces demanded them to leave the areas, saying they cause social disorders.

A number of activists, including Nguyen Thi Kim Chi in HCM City and Nguyen Xuan Dien, Nguyen Lan Thang, Bach Hong Quyen, blogger Trung Nguyen, Dang Bich Phuong and Le My Hanh were detained by police. Read More

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Source: Thuc-Followers’s Facebook page

The 88 Project, February 16, 2017: Followers of Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, a prominent Vietnamese political prisoner, have started two petitions on change.org to “urge VietNam Communist Party as well as the Parliament to hold a referendum for free election and on transformation to a multi-party political regime with the attendance and monitoring of the civil society groups across the nation.” The petition in Vietnamese has received 767 signatures after two weeks.

Thuc-Followers is an online community of almost 2,500 Vietnamese who agree with and follow Tran Huynh Duy Thuc‘s vision for a peaceful political change in Vietnam. This petition reflects the viewpoint that sustainable change must come from within the country, starting with giving the Vietnamese people political rights and equal participation in the political process, as individuals and as organized groups, that is, political parties and civil society organizations.

It should be noted that matters of multipartyism and free and fair elections are considered “politically sensitive” in the one-party communist regime in Vietnam. Members of opposition political parties are often the primary targets for harassment, persecution, and imprisonment by the regime’s powerful public security apparatus.

See and sign the petition in English here to support this vision of peaceful political change for Vietnam. The petition in Vietnamese can be found here. Read More

Thuc

Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, blogger and entrepreneur serving 16 years in prison

The 88 Project, February 6, 2017: Prisoner of conscience Tran Huynh Duy Thuc resolutely refuses to be exiled in order to be released early from jail. His family visited him in prison No. 6, Nghe An province on January 29, 2016, and mentioned the case of former prisoner of conscience Dang Xuan Dieu who had been released early and immediately exiled to France. But Thuc was determined to not follow that path. Thuc’s brother told the VOA Vietnamese: “Thuc became very serious and told the family to not talk about him leaving anymore. He said change would come very quickly and nothing could stand in its way. He was determined in staying in the country. He didn’t want to be exiled.”

Last year, in May 2016, Thuc’s family shared with the media that he was “forced to immigrate to the United States” but that he “refused to be exiled in exchange for freedom.” Again, in November 2016, Thuc told his family that he “will not go anywhere and will stay side-by-side with his people inside the country through difficult times,” and that his family “shouldn’t await his release.” Read More

In its newest report, Freedom in the World 2017, Freedom House has once again decided that Vietnam is “Not Free.” 

Many other Asian countries, including all of Vietnam’s neighbors, received the same designation, reflecting the larger trends of repression of freedom of expression and the violations of human rights seen in Asia and other regions in recent years. Thirty-six percent of people on Earth are living in nations labeled “Not Free,” and Freedom House noted that world freedoms have been falling for more than a decade now.

Screenshot of Asia map, with green indicating “Free,” yellow “Partly Free,” and purple “Not Free.” Source: Freedom House, 2017, Freedom in the World 2017.

 
Vietnam scored 7/7 for political rights and 5/7 for civil liberties, with seven being the worst score. It’s aggregate score was also very low, at 20/100, with 0 being the worst score. 
The report also speaks to the questions arising from the US elections in late 2016, and the rise of populist and nationalist sentiments in the US, Europe, and elsewhere, and their potential impacts on world freedom. 

For the full report, visit: https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/freedom-world-2017

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Can Thi Theu at her trial. Source: Facebook Trinh Ba Phuong

The 88 Project, January 25, 2017: Ms. Can Thi Theu is a land rights activist from Duong Noi who was sentenced to 20 months of imprisonment in September 2016 for “disturbing public order.” In fact, she is a leading figure in the fight against land seizures and inadequate compensation of the farmers of Duong Noi. Forced evictions of farmers from their fertile lands in order to build industrial and recreational zones have been the cause of social miseries for farmers everywhere in Vietnam. Can Thi Theu’s story and the context of land confiscation in Vietnam are told in this bilingual video produced by artist Kim Chi, Hélèna Lee and friends:

Can Thi Theu’s imprisonment sentence was upheld at the appeal trial on November 30, 2016. Shortly thereafter, she was transferred from Hoa Lo prison in Hanoi to Gia Trung prison in Gia Lai, a thousand kilometers away from home. Can Thi Theu wrote a letter addressed to “landless farmers and communities at home and abroad” from Gia Trung prison on December 20, 2016. We translated and published the letter here, with the consent of her family, to share her voice with those around the world who care about her situation. Read More