Dinh Huu Thoai

Current Status: At risk

Photo of Dinh Huu Thoai

Other Names: Đinh Hữu Thoại, Father Joseph Dinh Huu Thoai

Date of Birth:

Gender: M

Religion: Christian (Catholic)

Ethnicity: Kinh

Occupation: Religious leader

Areas of Activism:

  • Freedom of expression
  • Human rights
  • Religious freedom

September 2022:

The People’s Court of Quang Nam Province rejected the lawsuit of Father Dinh Huu Thoai, assistant pastor of the Tien Phuoc Parish in Quang Nam Province. Father Thoai sued the provincial government in March 2020 for fining him after he posted a comment about the government’s handling of COVID-19. The court concluded that the suit was meritless because Thoai’s post contained “misinformation that caused confusion and anxiety amongst the people and parishioners.”

Details - Background, History of Activism, Contact Information.

Dinh Huu Thoai is a Father of Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, Diocese of Da Nang.

Profile photo source: Facebook Đinh Hữu Thoại


Redemptorist Father Dinh Huu Thoai is an activist for freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and human rights. In addition to this, he has been supporting disabled veterans, who are not recognized as veterans by the authorities because of their service in the Republic of Vietnam before 1975. 

Due to his activism, Thoai was barred from leaving Vietnam without any reason at Tay Ninh border gate in 2011 when he was on the way to Cambodia.

October 2021:

Father Dinh Huu Thoai in Quang Nam Province was being attacked by state-run cyber agents for his posts critical of the government’s handling of the pandemic. His Facebook account has been suspended as he’s accused of “smearing the credibility of the State.” However, Fr Thoai said the postings that are alleged to be his are in fact posted on fake accounts pretending to be his.

May 14, 2018: barred from travelling abroad

Travel restriction
May 14, 2018
Bo Y border gate, Ngoc Hoi District, Kon Tum Province (map)

freedom of movement

On May 14, 2018, Dinh Huu Thoai was blocked by border soldiers at Bo Y boder gate, Ngoc Hoi District, Kon Tum Province while obtaining a legal visa to visit his family and friends in the United States. Just prior, in November 2017, Thoai was able to travel abroad right at this border gate

Officials gave no reason to explain their ban against him, but admitted to comply under the command of their superiors. However, after experiencing the same incident in 2011, Thoai supposed that it was his activism on human rights, democracy, and disabled veterans of former Republic of Vietnam that resulted in the authority’s travel restriction against him.

October 3, 2021: fined for criticizing the government’s COVID response

Administrative fines
October 03-14, 2021
Local administration
Tien Phuoc District (map)

freedom of expression

Father Dinh Huu Thoai in Tien Phuoc District, Quang Nam Province, has been under attack by state media since he condemned the so-called “Covid Vaccine Fund” - a state-run financial effort calling for donations from the entire population to support their vaccine campaign. Thoai allegedly commented that: “This fund is a fraud, where the fraudster deposits the money to the bank for interest, while the victims cannot do anything besides swallowing the bitter pill” on his Facebook account. 

Multiple state-owned newspapers, including “Báo Công an Nhân dân” (Public Security Newspaper) and Voice of Vietnam, proceeded to publicly shame Father Thoai and requested the authorities promptly address his “distorting and liberious tone.” The state media also accused him of avoiding an “invitation” to talk with the local Department of Information and Communications three times. We contend that Father Thoai's statement should be clearly protected as freedom of expression under international standards. 

Thoai has been fined 7.5 million VND (approximately US $350.00) and possibly will continue to be subjected to serious surveillance; it is common that activists in Vietnam are subject to a certain amount of surveillance by the local authoritues. 

Profile last updated: 2022-10-03 18:05:03

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