Author Archives: Tam Dau

Nghe An: police force beats up and arrests two soccer teams: No-U FC Hoang SA Hanoi and No-U FC Vinh

VRNs * Translated by Jasmine Tran (Danlambao) – (15.12.2013) – Nghe An – At 13:30 this afternoon, police force and security agents in both uniform and plainclothes prevented a friendly soccer game between the two teams No-U FC Hoang SA Hanoi and No-U FC Vinh. Security agents brutally assaulted the players and fans who were coming to support their teams on the soccer pitch of Nghe An Economic College .
Facebooker Luong Tam, Kim chi, Tay Nguyen, Mat Cuoi and their two friends, from Hanoi, all were viciously beaten up.
Facebooker Mặt Cười.
Facebooker Luong Tam said: “When everybody gathered at the soccer pitch, a man in casual clothes turned up and entered the pitch, asking us not to wear the top printed ‘Hoang Sa – Truong Sa belong to Vietnam’, as, according to him, these tops were politically implicating. But we objected to his demands, asking him how and what he defined as politics… When facebooker Mat Cuoi raised her camera to take their picture they pulled her hair and beat her up. They said we were not allowed to take pictures, but there was no signage in the place that forbade taking pictures. After that, they arrested Facebooker Mat Cuoi and took her to Ha Huy Tap Ward police station. As for myself, I was struck leaving a bump on my head, face swollen, and eyes bruised. Everybody went to the police station asking for the release of our friends but the police did not let them go.” 
Ms Kim Chi, sister-in-law of the prisoner of conscience Nguyen Dinh Cuong and who is 4 months pregnant, was there and let us know: “They told me – you are pregnant – then go home, do not stay there and say a word – then one of them grabbed and pulled my hair, another one hit me. I have scratches on my body, and my head hurt. They also grabbed Facebooker Mat Cuoi’s hair and brutally beat her up.”
“Playing a friendly soccer game between teams is a normal activity, but policeman and security had prevented us from doing so, and beat us up. They even beat the women. Our motorcycles were kept at the supervised motorcycle parking, but police came there, confiscated our motors and took them to the ward. They then asked us to show our registration papers and made us to go home to get the motorcycle papers and our driver’s licences. But what they did was very absurd, our motorcycles were sent in the supervised parking, though there was nothing illegal about it, the motors were taken. The way they acted was totally inhuman!” Kim Chi said, indignantly.
Lawyer Nguyen Van Dai commented: “This is the work of thugs, despite the law of Nghe An security authorities. Everybody should speak out about that.”
As VRNs has reported last night, 14/12, the NO-U FC Hoang Sa Hanoi team was arrested and detained at Dien Hong (Dien Chau) commune traffic police station 1.5 whilst on the way to Vinh to play the friendly game. At the station, the police confiscated all No-U uniforms and maps labelled “Hoang Sa and Truong Sa belong to Vietnam”.
Afterwards everybody managed to find transport to Vinh and stayed the night at Nguyen Thi Hoa’s home – village 4, Nghi Phu commune, Vinh city. Ms Hoa is the mother of the prisoner of conscience Nguyen Dinh Cuong. All the while, secret security officers continued to “guard” all night and all day.
Source: http://danlambaovn.blogspot.com/2013/12/nghe-police-force-beats-up-and-arrests.html#more

Bloggers Prohibited to Exit the Country, Passports Seized

Following Vietnam’s entry into the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for the 2014-2016 term, the Network of Vietnamese Bloggers issued an annoucement, saying, “the Network of Vietnamese Bloggers will participate in and contribute to upholding core values in promoting and protecting human rights and respecting provisions that Vietnam has voluntarily committed itself to.” (1)
What the Network has been and will be doing in the time to come include:
– publicly disseminating human rights documents of which Viet Nam is a signatory;
– assigning the Network’s delegates to UNHRC offices in particular and UN offices in general to report on human rights in Viet Nam and to submit petitions and requests for change, so that the Vietnamese people can truly enjoy universal human rights and establish Viet Nam’s credible member of UNHRC;
– conducting the official inauguration ceremony of the Network of Vietnamese Bloggers on December 10, 2013 to mark the International Human Rights Day established by the United Nations.
The Network has been implementing all of these commitments.
On the occasion of the International Human Rights Day of December 10, the Network organized social gatherings on human rights in Nha Trang, Saigon, and Hanoi. These gatherings were obstructed, and their attendants were assaulted by different forces of the Vietnamese governmennt who has just been elected as a member of the UNHRC. The Network has reported these developments in its recent “Full Report on Suppressions of Bloggers Celebrating International Human Rights Day.” (2)
Subsequently, the Network, however, has continued its commitments by sending some of its members, including Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh (aka. Mẹ Nấm), Nguyễn Thảo Chi, Đào Trang Loan (Hư Vô), Nguyễn Hoàng Vi (An Đỗ Nguyễn), and Châu Văn Thi to regional countries in an effort to seek support from international human rights organizations for promoting human rights in Vietnam.
Two bloggers, Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh and Nguyễn Hoàng Vi, left Vietnam while they were still in bad health condition as a result of the collective assault by plainclothes police and “the governmennt-organized masses” in Vi’s apartment on December 10, the International Human Rights Day.
All of the bloggers were stopped at the airport and prohibited from leaving the country. Nguyễn Hoàng Vi’s and Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh’s passports were confiscated. (3)
The Network of Vietnamese Bloggers holds the opinions that:
– All the activities undertaken by the Network’s members and other Vietnamese citizens are purely exercising fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international treaties to which the Vietnamese state is a signatory.
– The fact that the above-mentioned members of the Network go abroad does not at all affect national security, public order, public health or morals, or threaten others’ freedoms, and goes in accordance with other rights guaranteed by the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights.
– The restriction of movement against Vietnamese citizens, especially those who are members of the Network of Vietnamese Bloggers, is a violation of Article 12 of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, which stipulates that “Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence; Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own; The above-mentioned rights shall not be subject to any restrictions except those which are provided by law, are necessary to protect national security, public order (ordre public), public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others, and are consistent with the other rights recognized in the present Covenant.”
– All the acts of oppression by the Vietnamese governmennt on the occasion of the International Human Rights Day and its subsequent restriction of movement against Vietnamese citizens run counter to the commitments made by the Vietnamese governmennt to the UNHRC in particular and to the international community in general.
Successive violations of human rights shortly after Vietnam was elected into the UNHRC for the 2014-2016 term have reaffirmed the missions that our Network is pursuing:
“As free citizens and with the understanding that Viet Nam’s membership of UNHRC means all the 90 millions Vietnamese people are members of the Council, the Network of Vietnamese Bloggers will participate in and contribute to upholding core values in promoting and protecting human rights and respecting provisions that Viet Nam has voluntarily committed itself to.”
We, the free citizens, will stride, no matter what acts of isolation, suppression or intimidation we may suffer from, to make contributions to the implementation of the commitments that the Vietnamese government has made to the international community on behalf of its people.
Fulfilling these commitments is not just the aspiration of the Network of Vietnamese Bloggers in protecting human rights but also the obligation of every citizen in defending the honour of the nation and people of Vietnam.
Source: http://mangluoiblogger.blogspot.com/2013/12/bloggers-prohibited-to-exit-country.html

Teacher Dinh Dang Dinh sent back to prison while on cancer treatment

[Editor’s Note: Dinh Dang Dinh is a dissident who is currently serving a 6-year sentence because he had published writings about disagreements with the leadership of the Vietnam Communist Party and called for pluralistic and asked to stop bauxite mining projects in the Central Highlands.]

Trọng Thành (RFI)/Translate by Jasmine Tran (Danlambao) – On 8/11/2013, teacher Dinh Dang Dinh was sent back to prison from the hospital where he had received cancer treatment. His family was in great shock, not realising that Mr Dinh had been moved so soon. The chemotherapy treatment for his cancer had only just started five days earlier. Mr Dinh’s health is in a very poor state.


In November 2012, teacher Dinh’s sentence of 6 years imprisonment from the Trial Court was unchanged by the Vietnamese Court, which accused him of “conducting propaganda against the State” under Article 88 of Vietnam’s Criminal Code. In September 2013, the prisoner of conscience Dinh Dang Dinh was urgently transferred to a hospital in Ho Chi Minh City for an operation to remove a cyst in his stomach.
He is now receiving stomach chemotherapy. His family has applied to the government to call off the imprisonment as he is too weak; his life at a very dangerous stage.
Below is the RFI interview with Mrs Dang Thi Dinh, teacher Dinh’s wife.
Mrs Dang Thi Dinh: This morning, at around 8, I asked the nurse for some clean patient clothes to change my husband. The nurse then told me Dinh would be discharged that day. Shocked and surprised, I hurriedly went to ask the security officers if the news was true, but they said they knew nothing about it. I ran to the doctor who performed the operation and has since taken care of him to ask: “Is that true that patient Dinh will be discharged today?”
His doctor said he had already suggested keeping Dinh back, but was not sure if his suggestion would be approved. I asked the doctor that as Dinh is very weak and the chemotherapy has just started, how he could be moved in such terribly poor health? The doctor said he has recommended that Dinh should stay in the hospital; if Dinh has to leave, he must come back to the hospital to have the chemo sessions according to the treatment calendar. I came back to my husband and told him it was likely that he would be discharged today. Returning to my rented room, I hurriedly prepared some food for him. As soon as I was back in the hospital with his bowl of rice, the prison transport was already there, and my husband had been taken to the van. I only had time to carry his clothes bag before the van took him back to the prison.
The state of his health is truly awful – he could hardly eat anything due to three-quarters of his stomach being cut off. On top of that, his cancer is now nearing the final stages, which deteriorate his body. I am afraid that, with the harsh conditions of living in a prison cell, he cannot survive.
RFI: Do you know why he has been sent back to the prison?
Mrs Dang Thi Dinh: I am not sure. The decision would have come from above. If not that, I don’t know from where, but… my husband has just started the chemotherapy five days ago. He had very bad side effects on the second day after the first chemo treatment; he repeatedly had horrendous stomach aches. I have no idea where, or whom would order this…when Dinh is so awfully sick. He is in extreme ill-health, he cannot eat very much at all, and now he is forced to leave the hospital in such a way.
I only wish that everybody, in Vietnam or abroad, would support him with your pleas so Dinh can be out of jail; or be allowed to go home; or be sent to a cancer hospital so he can receive cancer treatment while his health is rapidly deteriorating. Without any help at all, in such a state, if he returns to prison, living in hardship with no medical care or facilities, I am certain his health cannot stand for much longer.
Thank you so much to Mrs Dang Thi Dinh

Translate by Jasmine Tran
danlambaovn.blogspot.com

Do Thi Minh Hanh, Mai Thi Dung handcuffed, fettered and fainting in prisoner transport

Trương Minh Đức (Danlambao) * Translated by Jasmine Tran – Early on 11/10/13, Mr Do Ty, Do Thi Minh Hanh’s father, arrived in Hanoi to go to Thanh Xuan Prison (Camp 3), at Xuan Duong in Thanh Oai District, Hanoi. Five other friends and Mr Vo Van Buu also accompanied him. During the visit with his daughter, he was reportedly shattered when Hanh recounted:
The prison authority had transferred Minh Hanh and Ms Mai Thi Dung to the North through prisoner transport. During the trip Hanh was handcuffed, fettered and left in the coachwork. She fainted and regained consciousness many times on the 1700 kilometre trip to the North. Ms Mai Thi Dung did not fare any better; she also fainted many times on the rough long trip from the South to the North. In addition, being on hunger strike since 1/10/2013 had already worsened her health. Both of Dung and Hanh were transferred in poor health conditions; they were starving and very ill.
It is hard to believe that the government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam could perpetrate such inhuman acts on the two female prisoners, in front of a world where abused women are supposed to be protected. But then it is that same government that is afraid of these women’s voices asking for the right to freedom, democracy, and freedom of religion and belief. This government has acted vengefully, by exile and torturing these women, despite the outrage of the public.
Mai Thi Dung (holding a milk box)
 
Đỗ Thị Minh Hạnh (Taken during the previous visit)
According to Mr Vo Van Bưu, Dung’s husband, Dung said she would rather die than to accept the prison authority’s suggestion to “confess”. From the visit on 10/10/2013, Dung has reached on her 11th day of the hunger strike and her life is at stake.
Dung could not walk unsupported anymore; she was carried on the back of another prisoner to see her husband. She could not talk, only murmured and her husband had to put his ear near her mouth to hear her speak. On 11/10/13 (one day after Dung met her husband), when Mr Do Ty visited Do Thi Minh Hanh, Hanh informed that Mai Thi Dung had just been brought to the hospital for the intensive care as Dung had fainted of exhaustion.
A group of friends visiting Hanh and Dung ( FB Bùi Thị Minh Hằng)
Do Thi Minh Hanh’s father also let us know that recently the prison officers are “proposing” Hanh and Dung to sign the “confession of guilt” in order to be “released early”. He also disclosed that he himself was advised by officers to push Hanh to “confess” to acquire her freedom…
At the visit Mr Ty could see Hanh was very thin, but her mind remains very strong and resolute in what she is fighting for. He said he is very pleased about what Hanh has done to help and protect poor exploited workers, the many farmers whose lands were unlawfully seized, and other social injustices. Before leaving, Mr Do Ty comforted Hanh and told her he has always known her to do right, all her family and friends love her and support her, and that he would stop her if he saw her doing the wrong thing. He said: “I am very proud of you, my daughter!”
Mr Do Ty – Do Thi Minh Hanh’s father
Source: http://danlambaovn.blogspot.com/2013/10/do-thi-minh-hanh-mai-thi-dung.html#more
 

Vietnam: Drop Politically Motivated Charges Against Critics

Tax Evasion Allegations Intended to Silence Le Quoc Quan
(New York, October 01, 2013) – The Vietnamese government should drop politically motivated charges against Le Quoc Quan, one of Vietnam’s most prominent and respected human rights defenders, Human Rights Watch said today. Vietnam’s donors should communicate serious concerns about Hanoi’s ongoing crackdown on rights defenders and bloggers, and publicly call for the unconditional release of Le Quoc Quan and other peaceful critics.
Le Quoc Quan’s trial was originally scheduled for July 9, 2013, but it was postponed at the last minute and has been rescheduled for October 2, at the People’s Court of Hanoi. Tax evasion carries a maximum of seven years’ imprisonment and a significant fine.
“Le Quoc Quan’s apparent crime is to be an effective public critic of the Vietnamese government,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “When will the Vietnamese government accept that freedom of expression includes the freedom to peacefully express opinions that differ from those of the ruling party?”
The Vietnamese government has previously used tax evasion charges to imprison prominent blogger Nguyen Van Hai (Dieu Cay) in 2008. At his trial he was sentenced to prison for 30 months. On the day Dieu Cay was supposed to be released, he was held on a new charge, “conducting propaganda,” and then sentenced to an additional 12 years in prison.
Le Quoc Quan, 41, is a lawyer and blogger, and a leading voice advocating human rights and democracy. He was arrested on December 27, 2012, nine days after the British Broadcasting Corporation published his article entitled, “Constitution or a contract for electricity and water service?” The article commented on discussions about amending Vietnam’s constitution. Le Quoc Quan’s piece criticized the retention of article 4 of the constitution, which makes the Communist Party preeminent in national life.
Before his current detention, Le Quoc Quan wrote prolifically on his popular blog about human rights, civil rights, political pluralism, religious freedom, and other issues. His website documented human rights violations against him, his family, and fellow activists. He was also involved in a series of peaceful protests in Hanoi over claims by China to sovereignty over parts of the South China Sea, which Vietnam says are within its maritime territory.
In 2006-2007, Le Quoc Quan spent five and a half months in Washington, D.C., as a fellow of the National Endowment for Democracy, which is funded by the US Congress. He used the prestigious fellowship to do research on civil society in connection with his interest in economic development that would benefit the nation’s poor. He was arrested in March 2007, days after returning to Vietnam following completion of his fellowship, for alleged subversion under the vague provisions of article 79 of Vietnam’s penal code. Following domestic and international criticism, the authorities released him in June 2007. He lived under constant police surveillance until his arrest in December 2012.
Le Quoc Quan attempted to run for a seat in the Vietnam National Assembly in 2011 but was blocked by the authorities. That year he was temporarily detained for “causing public disorder” when he attempted to observe the trial of the prominent dissident Cu Huy Ha Vu. On August 19, 2012, he was assaulted by two men, one of whom he recognized as a person who had been following him for months, and had to be treated in a hospital for his injuries. The police do not appear to have seriously investigated this crime.
“The Vietnamese government appears to be so nervous about its position in society that it is reflexively finding ways to silence and imprison dissident after dissident,” Adams said. “Hanoi should realize that government critics reflect a large and growing body of opinion in the country that it is time for Vietnam to become a genuine multi-party democracy in which free speech is tolerated. These voices will not be silenced by such heavy-handed tactics.”

In solidarity with Dr. Cu Huy Ha Vu, Pham Thanh Nghien continued her second hunger strike

Như Ngọc (Danlambao) – Dr. Cu Huy Ha Vu’s hunger strike to protest against the prison system of the communist regime has received waves of support around. Recently, Ms. Pham Thanh Nghien, a former prisoner of conscience and is an initiated member of the Citizen Declaration of Our Freedom group has started another hunger strike to express her admiration for, and solidarity with,  Dr. Cu Huy Ha Vu.

Reportedly, her first hunger strike lasted from June 16-19, and her second hunger strike starts today, 6/20/2013. Before starting the second hunger strike, Pham Thanh Nghien had experienced a severe stomach upset due to food poisoning.
As a former prisoner of conscience, she had also been detained at the No. 5 prison in Thanh Hoa province, where Dr. Vu is being jailed. Therefore, Pham Thanh Nghien knows very well what Dr. Vu is facing with in such a harsh, notorious prison of the communist regime. Her hunger strike is to confirm the message: No one has to travel alone in the journey seeking for Freedom and Justice even though he or she is in the dark valley of prison.
Participating in a prolonged hunger strike while still carrying many illnesses has degraded her health visibly. Pham Thanh Nghien refused to discuss her health issue for fearing it may cause troubles and worries to her family members. However, Dân Làm Báo has learned she currently weighs only 37 kg or 81 lbs.
Recently, the Vietnamese communist regime has fully utilized the power of its state-controlled media outlets to forecast video clips, pictures and other information to denigrate the ongoing hunger strike of Dr. Cu Huy Ha Vu. In this regard, Pham Thanh Nghien said she was not surprised with the nature of deceiving of the state-controlled media. While in No. 5 prison – Thanh Hoa, she had seen reporters from state-controlled media brought their cameras to the camp to stage propaganda with captured images of a camp warden fed a sick prisoner with rice congee. In fact, that prisoner was unexpectedly ordered to play the role of a sick inmate.
This is not the first time Pham Thanh Nghien participates in a hunger strike. Previously, she had been on hunger strike many times while detained in No. 5 prison to protest against the communist prison system.
It is expected that her second hunger strike in solidarity with Dr. Vu will end on 06/23/2013. Let’s hope that nothing wrong will happen to her.
Source: http://danlambaovn.blogspot.com/2013/06/in-solidarity-with-dr-cu-huy-ha-vu-pham.html#.UcviApyaYyc

Dinh Nhat Uy arrested for “failing to convince Dinh Kha to plead guilty?”

Vietnamese version: Trương Minh Đức / Translated by Như Ngọc (Danlambao) – Since the trial of two students, Dinh Nguyen Kha and Nguyen Phuong Uyen, on May 16, 2013 in Long An city, public opinion at home and abroad is impressed with the “fighting spirit” of two young patriotic students, which placed the communist regime in Vietnam in an awkward position for spreading the so-called “the confession of two young students” before the trial. The communist security office had broadcasted on national television such “confession program” for several days before the trial and claimed to achieve a victory over the propaganda war… suddenly, what had amazingly happened at the trial in Long An city on May 16 proved whatever the communist party had carefully staged were ridiculous. Dinh Nguyen Kha and Phuong Uyen Nguyen bravely stood upright. Looking straight at the faces of those who were appointed to act as judges, the two students took turn to say loudly “I am a patriot, I am not against my people, I resist the communist party and it is not a crime.”

The trial has passed for almost a month, then around 1:30 pm, June 15, 2013, the communist authorities dispatched more than 30 police personnel to surround the house of Mrs. Nguyen Thi Kim Lien, Nguyen Dinh Kha’s mother. While she and her husband were not home, police used power shears to cut the door locks, broke into the house and ransacked it, and took away many items they wanted. In the meantime, the search warrant was imposed on a different address, which is the private residence of Dinh Nhat Uy. Police served a 3-month-detention order to Dinh Nhat Uy on charges of “abusing democratic freedoms or infringe upon interests of the state, civil organizations,” Article 258 of the Penal Code.
The heartless regime wanted to eradicate the life of Mrs. Nguyen’s family!
Since the arrest of Dinh Nguyen Kha, local police have been harassing the family with many tricks; they had often made calls to the customers of Dinh Nhat Uy, those who came to his shop to repair their computer. Police threatened Uy’s customers if they do business with the family of “reactionary” people they would have to watch out for their safety! As a result, customers became afraid to do business with Dinh Nhat Uy. Suffering operating loss and taxes, Uy closed his shop to find other means to make a living. Graduated college as an Information Technology engineer, he finally had to give up his field to do the works of a farmer – growing vegetables, fishing, etc. to help his mother supply foods to his younger brother in prison.
One day before his arrest, Uy’s mother prepared foods for a visit to his younger brother, so his relatives (uncles, aunts, cousins…) came over to comfort his family. Uy told his relatives that the local authorities have isolated his family economically. His mother must sell family-grown bananas and vegetables at the local market to feed Kha in prison. Being unemployed, he made a trip to Saigon for a plan to republish about 400 units of two technical books on how to repair copy machines, of which he is a co-author. He hoped to generate some income from the proceeding to help his mother keep his younger brother survived in prison, but a publisher turned down his deal saying the books are not allowed to be republished for bearing his name, “NHAT UY,” as a co-writer.
 
From hostage to prisoner.
Since the communist authorities have found that Uyen and Kha’s family had filed the appeals on behalf of their children, Uy said that “someone” had repeatedly asked him to convince his younger brother to plead guilty in the upcoming appeal court in order to be pardoned. They also explained that, on one hand, if his brother would plead guilty, Uy could do his business as usual. On another hand, if his brother will continue to plead not guilty causing them to lose face with public opinion and the international community, then they will increase prison term by adding new charges resulted from the “ongoing investigation of possession of fireworks,” which can be accused as an act of “terrorism.” Uy turned a deaf ear to their honey promises, and a stone face to their intimidating threats. He has strongly supported his brother’s acts of patriotism by posting the slogan “China, get out of the Southeast Asia Sea” on his Facebook account. Now, Uy is facing the charge of violating Article 258 of the Penal Code, being detained for 3 months, and will possibly receive a sentence from 2 to 7 years in prison plus a few years of probation for:
“Abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon interests of the State and civil institutions,” with such accuses, the questions must be raised: “Has Uy harmed the interests of which State or citizens?” Or “Is the Vietnamese communist party just doing everything possible to protect the interests of the Chinese people and the Chinese communist regime?
Article 258 is now becoming a “tail” of Article 88 of the Penal Code because it provides the communist party a ridiculously powerful mean to arrest or detain anyone who dares to criticize the totalitarian dictatorship in Vietnam today.
Source: http://danlambaovn.blogspot.com/2013/06/dinh-nhat-uy-arrested-for-failing-to.html#.UcviBZyaYyc

Letter to my son

Phan, my dearest son,
I had not intended to carry you to the demonstration today. My short-legged man is just 3.5 years old, and I just wanted to take you to places like Unity Park, where you would enjoy ferris wheels and hobby-horse. Or I would like to take you to Yoyogi Park, where I could find you pick up petals of cherry blossoms, applying them on your cheeks rosy and softer than the blossoms themselves. So far I have kept trying to protect your sensitive soul from all things related to violence, even though it might be just a gun shown in a cartoon image.
Demonstration in Vietnam, however peaceful it is, is in many senses still a dangerous thing to do. And even if nothing serious enough may happen, I still don’t want you to see your mum and other protestors surrounded, pushed, hustled, chased away by bunches of policemen and quick reaction officers equipped with guns and clubs. All of them, with their murderous and vigilant look, have no bearing with the policemen you used to see on street posters.
When we lived in Japan, you once asked, “What does a policeman do on streets, mum?” I replied that his duty is to protect people, including you and me, and to control wicked guys. You then said, “Mum, I love policemen,” as innocently as when you said you love your grandparents, mum and dad, trees, birds and lions. If I took you to the demonstration today, I would have to make it clear to you that it’s not that anybody or anything suppressed by policemen is bad. In fact I’d like to tell you this later, when your pure and loving soul is capable of realising it is not true that everybody around you loves you back, and that there are often unjustifiable exceptions.
Moreover, I don’t want to carry you with me today because demonstration is when you voice your opinion, and you should not join it just because others (your mummy included) do.
That’s why I told you yesterday evening, “Tomorrow you’ll be with grandparents, for I’ll join the demonstration against Chinese invaders.” Though you were eager to visit grandparents’ where you can play geometric puzzles, painting pictures with sister Din and brother Tom, you asked, “What is demonstat, mom? Why do you demonstat against China, mom?”
So I took a map, showing you our country of Vietnam, and I said, “Chinese bullies invaded our land, hurting our Vietnamese people. China is bigger than us, but we have to raise our voice once China commits wrongdoings. Your uncles, your aunties, and I will demonstrate to speak this out.”
You said, “China is so bad, so ugly, mum. We won’t be their friend any more. We’ll make the sharks eat China.” “Oh, no, don’t be so aggressive, son. We’ll just demonstrate peacefully, we don’t use force.” You thought in a while, and you said, “I want to go demonstat with you, mum.” “Don’t you want to visit sister Din and brother Tom? Joining a demonstration gets you tired, and it is so dangerous as when you touch a knife or electrictity.” “Is it, mum? But I want to go demonstat with you.”
You woke me up this morning, and you declined to take breakfast because you wanted to go “demonstat” immediately. No, son. Before fufilling a citizen’s obligation, we would have to fulfill our personal duties. I should feed you, and you should eat up as a good child always does.
Going to demonstration today was more tiring than I had expected. The temperature reached up to 36-37 Celsius degrees and it was a sweltering, deadly hot day. At first you and I went around just to find a place to put our motorbike, and finally we found one which was quite far from the demonstration site, then we joined with the protestors, and meandered through tens of streets. I wondered why policemen loved to hustle protestors into the most parching streets so that they themselves had to perspire following them. The weather was too hot, streets too crowded, and I had to carry you in my arms, then on my back, for your safety. My casual shoes broke down last night, so I must take high-heel shoes this morning. I went bareheaded under the sun, you did not carry a flag or a banner. We both did not look professional, did us? But we succeeded in covering a three-hour walk under parching sun with “professional protestors.”
We should thank uncle Dino, who had to keep his hand off the beloved camera to carry you on his back on a long road. Thank miss Codet, who helped me take care of you. Thanks to a couple on Phung Hung Street who did not join the protest but gave you a bottle of cool water. Thanks to aunties and uncles whose names were unknown to us and who gave you drink when you were thirsty, handed you paper fan when you got hot, and smiled at us. Thanks to nearly one thousand people in Hanoi and around two thousand ones in Saigon, who went to the streets today for demonstration, holding aloft banners, slogans and the national flag, singing out loud the national anthem, shouting slogans, etc., despite potential trouble and danger they would have to face. Thanks also to the policeman who pushed us back with his club as part of his duty, and then acted on his instinct when he held my arm back to keep us from falling.
Uncle Tie Suc said today, “In 2007 you went for demonstration alone. This year, you have a boy with you.” When I joined the 2007 protest, you were less than one month old. This time, you are a man of 1.05 metre, a man aware that it is bad of a big country to bully smaller nations. And you yourself decided to go with me in the demonstration. Although you must have been very tired, you were one of the last people to leave the protest, rather than crying, insisting on going home halfway. That was what I often told you, “Once you do something, you must do it to the end. If it’s hard, you must try until you can’t do anymore try.” I respect you, and I’m so proud of you, my short-legged man!
During the demonstration you spoke very little. It seemed you were tired. Perhaps the crowd, the fists, the clubs and the guns… all such things were new to you and they shocked you. Or perhaps your naïve 3.5 year-old mind did not absorb today’s happenings, so you just wanted to be an “observer.”
But after the nap, you suddenly said, “Mum, I’ll never let China bully my brother Tom and you.”
My dear, still I don’t want you to go demonstrating. I hope when you grow up, no matter where you are living – Vietnam or any other country in this world – you are free to voice your opinions, your wishes, and you don’t have to launch street protests under severe weather, among suppressors equipped with guns and clubs. You’ll never have to hesitantly confront all kinds of pressures, never have to consider your security every time you decide to voice your opinions, as my generation always did. Because I hope that when that day comes, the society we’re now living in will evolve to the point that the human right to expression will be taken for granted, although the ideas expressed may differ from those of a community or a group.
I love you and respect you even when you don’t obey me. So, if what you really wish for is innocuous to your life and does not intrude into others’ legitimate rights, then you can do that even when I don’t want you to.
Will you, my dear?
Hanoi, June 5th, 2011
Your mum Phuong
Source: http://www.phamdoantrang.com/search/label/English%20articles?updated-max=2012-09-29T22:35:00%2B07:00&max-results=20&start=10&by-date=false

Police continued to stop and assault blogger Vi Hoang Nguyen

Như Ngọc (Danlambao) – Late evening on June 7, 2013, blogger Vi Hoang Nguyen and her friend, Mr. Cac Vuong Pham Le, were stopped and violently assaulted by police on To Ky street, district 12, Saigon.

Reportedly, the five police men involved in the attack are those who have recently monitored the blogger and her family members for days. One of them rides a motorcycle with the plate number 51V2 1009.
The blogger said, when her friend and she arrived at district 12 five police on three motorcycles suddenly stopped their motorcycles and brutally pounded their heads with motorcycle helmets.
She fell to the ground but the police continued to beat her. She rushed to her cell phone to call home for help and they immediately grabbed the phone and smashed it.
After breaking her phone, five police men continued to beat her with the helmets until she became unconscious.When local people appeared they left the crime scene.
Currently, the blogger was taken to a hospital for examination and treatment of the wounds.
This is not the first time blogger Vi Hoang Nguyen was stopped and assaulted by police on the street at night time. Since participating in patriotic activities and writing pro-democracy writings, she and her family members have been repeatedly assaulted by police.
On February 2, 2011, the police created a deadly motorcycle accident by hitting her motorcycle at night time; she fell on her face and broke 7 teeth.

On March 08, 2013, the International Freedom of Expression Exchange network (IFEX) named blogger Vi Hoang Nguyen one of seven women free expression champions for their efforts to fight for freedom of speech around the world.

Source: http://danlambaovn.blogspot.com/2013/06/police-continued-to-stop-and-assault.html#more

Vietnam hands lengthy jail sentences to two patriotic, anti-Chinese activist

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Awkward position for Vietnam as China is biggest trading partner

A Vietnamese court has sentenced two young activists to lengthy prison sentences for distributing anti-Chinese leaflets in Ho Chi Minh City.
The People’s Court of Long An province in southern Vietnam sentenced Nguyen Phuong Uyen, 21, to six years in jail and three years of house arrest and Dinh Nguyen Kha, 25, to 10 years in jail and two years of house arrest. Two of years of Kha’s sentence stem from an earlier, unknown verdict.
The two students had been accused of distorting “the party and the state’s policies related to religion and land, and exhibit[ing] a twisted viewpoint regarding the Spratly and Paracel islands and the border land between Vietnam and China”, according to the charges.
Vietnam and China both claim sovereignty of the Spratly and Paracel islands in the South China Sea. In recent years, Vietnam has been in the awkward position of having to regularly clamp down on patriotic, anti-Chinese protests for fear of antagonising its largest trading partner.
Uyen and Kha have been accused of distributing leaflets that called on their government to take a tougher stance against what they said where Chinese incursions on Vietnamese sovereignty and exploitation of the country’s natural resources.
“This has less to do with Beijing putting pressure on Hanoi,” said Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division. “But more with the fear of the authorities that China issues would be used as a common front for people with different grievances against the state to unite and raise demands for reform.”
Their lawyer had petitioned the prosecution to drop the charges, arguing that the two were only being patriotic, Radio Free Asia reported earlier.
Uyen and Kha were arrested in autumn in Ho Chi Minh City and were charged with “conducting propaganda against the state” under the controversial article 88 of the penal code. Kha faced an additional charge of “terrorism”.
Their leaflets had been signed by the Patriotic Youth League, an overseas advocacy group banned in the country. At least four people who attended the proceedings on Thursday to show support for the two defendants have been arrested.
“This is a continuing pattern we have seen,” said Robertson. “The government seems to have a systematic policy to try to keep well-known activists away from other activists’ trials.”
Source: http://nguyenphuonguyen.blogspot.com/2013/05/vietnam-hands-lengthy-jail-sentences-to.html