Sign up for weekly updates

Government arresting activists one by one

A young blogger and a seasoned pro-democracy activist are the most recent victims of Vietnam's clampdown on journalists and dissidents, report Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Nguyen Tien Trung, a recent graduate, was nabbed by police on 7 June in Ho Chi Minh City, one day after 60-year-old Tran Anh Kim was arrested for alleged anti-government activities. Both are members of the Vietnam Democracy Party.

"While the world's eyes are turned to Iran and Xinjiang, the Vietnamese are arresting pro-democracy activists one by one," Reporters Without Borders said.

According to RSF, Nguyen's arrest is thought to be linked to the June arrest of Le Cong Dinh, a human rights lawyer and pro-democracy writer who has been held without trial since his arrest in June. Dinh has been charged with spreading propaganda against the government under Article 88 of the Vietnam Criminal Code.

Nguyen's family and friends fear the young activist will also be charged under Article 88, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

After graduating from the INSA engineering school in Rennes, France in 2007, Nguyen returned to Vietnam, where he helped create the Association of Young Vietnamese for Democracy and joined the Vietnam Democracy Party. Up until his army training began in March 2008, he frequently updated his blog ( A few hours before the arrest, Trung was expelled from the military for refusing to take an oath during the course of his mandated army service.

Nguyen's arrest brings the number of journalists and bloggers held in Vietnam to at least 11, says RSF.

According to the Free Journalist Network in Vietnam, conditions have worsened for another writer languishing in prison, Nguyen Hoang Hai (pen name Dieu Cay.) The independent journalist was sentenced to two and a half years in prison in September 2008 on trumped-up tax fraud charges. The Network fears for their well-being of Dieu Cay, as well as his lawyer, Dinh. Members of the Network in Vietnam have been subjected to interrogation and surveillance.


Latest Tweet:

Personal experiences from Zimbabwe's internet shutdown: @kudathove @kubatana @ChichiLuciasi…

Get more stories like this

Sign up for our newsletters and get the most important free expression news delivered to your inbox.