One More Vietnamese Arrested for Facebook Posting, Charged with Conducting Anti-state Propaganda

Thanh Hoa police arrested Mr. Nguyen Van Quang

Defend the Defenders, June 20, 2018

 

On June 19, authorities in Vietnam’s central province of Thanh Hoa announced the arrest of Mr. Nguyen Van Quang for posting on his Facebook account with alleged anti-state content.

According to the provincial police’s announcement, Mr. Quang will be investigated on allegation of “Making, storing, spreading information, materials, items for the purpose of opposing the State of Socialist Republic of Vietnam” under Article 117 of the 2015 Penal Code.

Mr. Quang, 31, is likely will be held incommunicado for at least 3 months, a common practice applied in the cases related to national security. He will face imprisonment of up to 20 years in prison if is convicted, according to the current Vietnamese law.

According to the police, Mr. Quang, from Hoang Son commune, Hoang Hoa district, had posted many articles inciting people to participate in protest. He was arrested by police on June 12.

So far this year, Mr. Quang is the second individualarrested for postings madeon Facebook, the largestsocial network in Vietnam with around forty millions accounts.

On May 9, authorities in Thanh Hoa also arrested university official Nguyen Duy Son for his Facebook postings, which are considered harmful for the ruling communist party and its leaders.

Vietnam continues to use controversial articles, including Article 117 of the national security provisions in the Penal Code to silence government critics despite international callsfor removing them.

The Southeast Asian nation is among the world’s largestjailer ofbloggers, second only to China according to Reporters Without Borders. Vietnam has detainedaround 30 bloggers for their online activities in recent years. Among jailed activists is prominent human rights defender Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, who is famous with her posts under penname Mother Mushroom. She was honored with the International Press Freedom Award 2018 by the Committee to Protect Journalists for her writing on sensitive issues such as police brutality, environmental pollution and China’s violations of the country’s sovereignty in the South China Sea.

The government’s crackdown on online activists is expected to be expanded next year when the Cyber SecurityLawtakeseffect. The country’s parliament approved the law on June 12, paving the way for morepower to the Ministry of Public Security to tighten online control.

In recent weeks, thousands of Vietnamese have rallied on streets in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and other localities to protest the bill on Special Economic Zones and Cyber Security. Police have responded violently, arresting and brutally beating hundreds of protestors.