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Vietnamese writer Pham Doan Trang briefly detained for publishing a political textbook

A young woman browses used books on display at a book fair in Hanoi, Vietnam, 26 October 2017
A young woman browses used books on display at a book fair in Hanoi, Vietnam, 26 October 2017


This statement was originally published on on 9 March 2018.

Vietnamese blogger and activist Pham Doan Trang was detained for nine hours by police in Hanoi on 8 March 2018.

During that day, Doan Trang's friends reported seeing a lot of police in civilian clothes around her area. There was no word of her whereabouts until late evening. According to The 88 Project, "She's now back to the place where she was staying and remains under tight surveillance."

Her detention comes as the world marked International Women's Day.

Doan Trang was also taken into custody last 24 February 2018 for 10 hours by security officers from the Ministry of Public Security. Based on news reports, Vietnamese authorities forcefully took her without an arrest warrant and she was interrogated for publishing the book Chính trị bình dân (Politics for the Masses).

She was also arrested in November 2017 after meeting a European Union Delegation to discuss human rights issues in Vietnam.

In an interview with Asia Times, she said: "I don't know why they hate me and my book so much. After all, it's just a textbook." The book discusses basic political concepts of democracy in the Vietnamese language.

"The problem for us is that a communist police state like Vietnam dislikes its people to broaden their political awareness and their participation in macro affairs," she said.

She wrote a Facebook post on 26 February 2018: "I am fighting any kind of dictatorship, and because the communist state in Vietnam now is a totalitarian regime, I have been and will be fighting to end it."

Doan Trang worked for the online newspaper VnExpress, Pháp luật Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh (The Law in Ho Chi Minh city newspaper), and VietnamNet. She was detained in 2009, beaten in 2015, taken in 2016, and again detained in 2017 for her activism. She continues to write on her personal blog and contribute to Vietnam Right Now, an independent news website.

In press freedom indices, Vietnam has been classified as "not free" by Freedom House and ranked 175th out of 180 countries by Reporters Without Borders.

There are 165 men and women, who have been targeted by the criminal justice system for peacefully exercising their civil and political rights and are currently in detention or imprisoned - according to Now!Campaign, a coalition of human rights organizations.

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