Vietnam Human Rights Defenders’ Weekly May 11-17: Hanoi-based Activist Nguyen Chi Tuyen Brutally Beaten by Thugs

Defenders’ Weekly | May 17, 2015


On May 11, Mr. Nguyen Chi Tuyen was severely attacked by a group of five thugs. Politicians and officials from many countries have voiced to condemn the assault.

On May 15, prisoner of conscience Le Thi Phuong Anh completed her one-year imprisonment.

Vietnam’s communist government continues its suppression against Catholic followers in the northernmost province of Cao Bang, injuring a number of people there.

On Monday, more than 20 novelists and poets declared to quit their membership of the state-controlled Vietnam Writers Association.

And other news.


Many Vietnamese Threaten to Self Immolate to Protest Gov’t Suppression

A number of Vietnamese have threatened to burn themselves in a bid to protest the on-going government suppression. Many of them are victims of the illegal land seizure of local authorities.

On May 6, two female residents of the southern province of Long An said they plan to self immolate at the front of the provincial People’s Procuracy building.

Mrs. Nguyen Kim Loan, the mother of death-row prisoner Ho Duy Hai, has been in Hanoi for months to demand justice for her son. She has declared that she will burn herself if her son is being executed for allegation which she thought is wrong.

RFA: Vì sao dân oan phải tự thiêu?


Vietnam Needs Legal Frameworks for Local Independent Civil Organizations

Numerous independent civil organizations have emerged and attracted domestic and international attention. However, they are not recognized by the communist government.

Despite government harassments, many independent civil organizations have actively promoted human rights and met foreign institutions to seek support for enhancing human rights situation in the one-party country.

On May 6, prior to the Vietnam-U.S. Human Rights Dialogue in Hanoi, the U.S.’s delegation met with 15 activists representing 10 independent civil societies to discuss human rights in the Southeast Asian nation.

Due to the lack of the legal frameworks, the Vietnamese independent civil organizations are facing the government suppression when it finds that their works cause troubles.

In addition, the effectiveness of the independent civil organizations is limited, especially regarding bringing information to the local public due to lack of mechanisms to protect them.

RFI: Việt Nam : Cần một khung pháp lý cho tổ chức xã hội dân sự độc lập


20 Vietnamese Novelists, Poets Declare to Quit Their Membership of Vietnam Writers Association

On May 11, more than 20 novelists and poets, including writers Nguyen Ngoc and Nguyen Quang Lap, poet Do Trung Quan, and Professor Nguyen Hue Chi have declared to leave the state-controlled Vietnam Writers Association.

The move came after the leadership of the Vietnam Writers Association said it will not allow many members to attend its national congress slated in September, accusing them of attempt to set up an independent association.

The move of the Vietnam Writers Association is illegal move, the intellectuals said in their public announcement.

In their interview to BBC, many Vietnamese writers said they will not regret to leave to Vietnam Writers Association.

BBC: 20 cây bút ‘từ bỏ Hội nhà văn VN’


Hanoi-based Activists Continue Demonstrations to Demand for End of Gov’t-support Assaults against Local Human Rights, Democracy Campaigners

Many Vietnamese activists gathered in Hanoi’s center on Friday [May 15] for the second consecutive day to protest the brutal government-support attacks against local human rights and democracy advocates, according to local media.

During the two consecutive days, nearly one hundreds of activists marched in Hoan Kiem Lake, with banners to demand the communist government to stop harassments and persecutions against those who bravely have expressed their opinions on socio-economic issues and criticized wrongdoings of state officials in different levels, from the top to the grassroots one.

The demonstrators say they will continue their protests until the Vietnamese government take specific measures to stop attacking against local political dissidents and human rights campaigners.

The demonstrations started several days after Mr. Nguyen Chi Tuyen, one of leading activists, was brutally beaten by plainclothes agents with iron bar near his private house in Long Bien district.

Mr. Tuyen, an officer of a Hanoi-based publishing house, is a famous social activist. He is a leading member of the No-U, a campaign that opposes China’s violations of Vietnam’s sovereignty in the East Sea, and one of the main figures of “For Green Hanoi,” a campaign protesting Hanoi’s plan to fell 6,700 healthy aged trees in city’s main streets.

The attack against Tuyen has drawn international attentions. Diplomats from the German, U.S. and Australian Embassies came to his private house to visit him while Vietnamese-American California-based Senator Janet Nguyen urged Ambassador Ted Osius and the New York-based Human Rights Watch to take specific measures to bring the attackers to court.

The attack against Tuyen was made several weeks of that against Nguyen Anh Tuan (aka Gio Lang Thang), another active member of the green campaign which forced Hanoi’s authorities to suspend its VND270 trillion ($12.5 billion) plan aiming to replace thousands of valuable aged trees with young seedlings in city’s main streets in the 2015-2020 period.

Along imprisoning local dissidents and human rights activists with fabricated allegations based on controversial articles such as Articles 79, 88, and 258 of the Penal Code, and barring them from meeting with foreign diplomats and going abroad, Vietnam’s communist government has sent plainclothes agents or hired thugs to attack government critics in a bid to silence them.

A number of social activists have become victims of the government-support assaults, including human rights lawyers Le Quoc Quan and Nguyen Bac Truyen, labor activist Tran Thi Nga and Nguyen Hoang Vi, independent journalist Truong Minh Duc, democracy advocate Nguyen Van Dai, social activists Ha Thanh and Son Nguyen.

Many victims have reported the attacks to police which pledged to conduct investigations on these cases, however, no progress has been recorded.

Ha Nam province-based Nga , whose legs were broken by thugs last May, and was kidnapped by policemen in March, said the real attackers will not be brought to the court since they are plainclothes policemen.

Many victims have recognized that policemen who have been following them for months, were involved in these attacks.

The Vietnamese communists have ruled the country for decades, and they have vowed to keep the country under one-party regime, so they have not tolerated criticisms which may challenge their political dominance in the Southeast Asian nation.

RFA: Từ nhà giam tới hành hung trên đường phố

VOA: Nhà hoạt động Nguyễn Chí Tuyến: Vi phạm nhân quyền ở VN ‘khủng khiếp và trắng trợn’


Viet Labor Le Thi Cong Nhan Urges U.S. Not to Allow Vietnam to Become TPP Member until Human Rights Improvement Recorded

Former political prisoner Le Thi Cong Nhan represents the Viet Labor to send a letter to the U.S.’s authorities to request the American country not to allow Vietnam to become a member of the Trans-Pacific Pact (TPP) if the communist nation show no progress in its human rights records.

The unsanctioned Viet Labor, which debuted in June 2014, proposed the U.S. and other countries pressure Vietnam, requesting the communist government to respect human rights commitments and release all prisoners of conscience.

The right to freely express opinions should be implemented effectively, said Mrs. Nhan, who was imprisoned to three years in jail and three years under house arrest for government criticism.

DTD: Lê Thị Công Nhân đại diện Liên đoàn Lao động Việt Tự do gửi thư về TPP tới đoàn đối thoại nhân quyền Mỹ


California Senator Janet Nguyen Urges U.S. Ambassador, HRW to Probe Brutal Attack against Vietnamese Activist Nguyen Chi Tuyen

In her open letter dated May 11, Senator Nguyen expressed her hope that the involvement of Ambassador Osius and the Human Rights Watch will help bring the individuals who assaulted Mr. Tuyen accountable.

Vietnam-origin Senator Janet Nguyen from California has called on U.S. Ambassador Ted Osius to Vietnam and the New York-based Human Rights Watch to conduct an investigation into a brutal attack against Hanoi-based activist Nguyen Chi Tuyen.

Mr. Tuyen, a famous political dissident and human rights activist in Hanoi, was severely beaten by a group of five plainclothes agents near his private house in Long Bien district on May 11. He was hospitalized with bleeding and numerous injuries in his head and body.

In her open letter dated May 11, Senator Nguyen expressed her hope that the involvement of Ambassador Osius and the Human Rights Watch will help bring the individuals who assaulted Mr. Tuyen accountable.

The assault is supposed to be an act of retaliation ordered by the Long Bien district police for Mr. Tuyen’s efforts to advocate for democracy in Vietnam as well as environmental protection in Hanoi.

Senator Nguyen, who fled Vietnam after the communists took over the Vietnam Republic in 1975, said “the unfortunate reality is that attacks like the one committed against Mr. Tuyen have become common in Vietnam. Time and time again the Vietnamese government resorts to these repressive tactics to silence the opinions of those who contradict the government.”

“We cannot allow the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to subdue its citizens in this shameful manner,” she said.

As an independent international organization, the Human Rights Watch should investigate the attack, said Senator Nguyen from Santa Ana where millions of Vietnamese reside after fleeing the communist nation after 1975.

Tuyen, an officer of a Hanoi-based publishing house, actively participated in anti-China protests in Hanoi in the 2011-2014 period when China repeatedly violated Vietnam’s sovereignty in the East Sea.

He is among leading figures in demonstrations in Hanoi in March-April to protest the city’s plan which aims to chop down 6,700 healthy aged trees in city’s main streets.

Due to his social activities, he was summoned several times by Hanoi police for interrogation about his role in these demonstrations.

Last month, Nguyen Anh Tuan, a very active democracy advocate in Hanoi, was also severely beaten by thugs in Long Bien district where his family resides.

Along with barring government critics from going abroad and meeting with foreign diplomats, Vietnam’s communist government has often hired thugs to attack local activists and bloggers who peacefully express their opinions on the government economic mismanagement, corruption and weak response to China’s violations of the country’s sovereignty in the East Sea.

Among victims of the government-supported attacks are human rights lawyers Le Quoc Quan and Nguyen Bac Truyen, democracy advocate Nguyen Van Dai, independent journalist Truong Minh Duc, social activist Nguyen Van Son, Truong Van Dung and labor activist Tran Thi Nga.

Last week, Senator Nguyen also called on President Barack Obama to take measures to ask Hanoi to release land right activist Bui Thi Minh Hang, who is serving a three-year imprisonment due to bogus traffic offences. Ms. Hang, an outspoken government critic, is in very bad health conditions due to the bad treatment of prison’s authorities and hunger strikes she has conducted to protest the prison’s inhumane handling against prisoners.

RFA: Thượng nghị sĩ bang California lên tiếng về trường hợp Nguyễn Chí Tuyến


Prisoner of Conscience Le Thi Phuong Anh Completes One-year Imprisonment

Well-known anti-China activist and government critic Le Thi Phuong Anh was released from a prison in Vietnam on Friday after serving a 12-month sentence for anti-state activity, she said, calling her experience in jail “the most horrible year of my life.”

“It was the most horrible year of my life—I don’t know how to describe it, other than truly horrible,” she said of her time in jail.

“I am touched by everybody’s warm welcome and I am happy now. Thank you so much to everyone.”

Phuong Anh was arrested in May 2014 along with two other activists and accused of disrupting traffic in southern Vietnam’s Dong Nai province after stopping to take pictures of anti-China protests sparked by Beijing’s deployment of an oil rig into contested waters in the South China Sea.

The trio was subsequently charged under Article 258 of the penal code for “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe on the interests of the state” and Phuong Anh was sentenced in early February to 12 months in prison, which included her time in detention awaiting trial.

The Vietnamese government has sought to silence criticism of how it has dealt with the issue of anti-China protests in Vietnam and arresting their organizers.

Scores of bloggers and dissidents have been charged under Article 258 in recent years, which rights groups say is deliberately vague and used to prosecute critics of Vietnam’s one-party communist government.

Prior to her arrest, Phuong Anh and her husband, Le Anh Hung, had repeatedly sent letters to members of the National Assembly accusing Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai of operating a drug smuggling ring.

Both Phuong Anh and her husband say they have been subjected to repeated harassment at the hands of undercover police, including beatings.

The U.S. has long criticized Vietnam for its abysmal human rights record, marked by the suppression of basic freedoms, media censorship, and repression of workers’ rights as well as its worsening record of arresting and imprisoning dissidents, bloggers and religious leaders.

According to New York-based Human Rights Watch, approximately 150 to 200 activists and bloggers are serving prison time in Vietnam simply for exercising their basic rights.

DTD: TNLT Lê Thị Phương Anh mãn hạn sau 1 năm tù


Vietnam Security Forces Suppress Followers of Duong Van Minh Sect in Northernmost Province of Cao Bang

Authorities in Vietnam’s northernmost province of Cao Bang on May 6 sent 130 policemen and militia to attack the local sect Duong Van Minh in Ly Bon commune in Bao Lam district. The attackers beat followers and destroyed the sect’s spiritual items.

When the funeral house was burned, many followers tried to rescue however the attackers beat them, causing severe injuries for 50 people who were later hospitalized for urgent treatment.

The local authorities have still blocked the areas. They even have not allowed severely-injured people to be being transferred to Hanoi for better treatment.

Duong Van Minh sect started its operation in 1989, mostly in the northernmost provinces such as Cao Bang, Lang Son and Ha Giang. It is not recognized by the Vietnamese government and its members are subjects of the police’s harassments.



U.S. Demands Vietnam to Improve Human Rights Records to Get TPP Membership

Vietnam needs to improve its human rights records if the communist nation wants to participate in the TPP agreement, said  U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Tom Malinowski at a press conference in Washington on May 15.

Mr. Malinowski emphasized the close connection between political freedom and human rights while the two countries are negotiating on TPP.

The TPP agreement is the best leverage to improve human rights in Vietnam, said Mr. Malinowski who led the U.S. delegation to attend the U.S.-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue in Hanoi in early May.

Currently, TPP is one of priorities of President Barack Obama’s economic policies. The president is persuading the Congress to support the pact.

RFI: Tham gia TPP : Mỹ đặt điều kiện nhân quyền với Hà Nội