Pham Chi Thanh

Current Status: Pre-trial detention

Photo of Pham Chi Thanh

Other Names: Phạm Chí Thành

Date of Birth: August 2, 1952

Gender: M

Ethnicity: Kinh

Occupation: Journalist

Last Known Prison: Hoa Lo Prison

Areas of Activism:

  • Democracy
  • Human rights
  • Sovereignty

Known Affiliations:

Highlighted Human Rights Concerns:

  • Denial of Family Visit/Punitive Prison Transfer

December 2020:

Author and veteran journalist Pham Chi Thanh, who has been detained at Hoa Lo Prison since his arrest in May, was reportedly moved to a mental health facility in late November. Authorities reported he was moved to the Central Institute of Forensic Psychiatry for an evaluation but did not provide specific details about the transfer. Thanh’s wife said of the move: “I’ve been living with him for years, I know that his mental health is normal. He doesn’t have a problem.” She has not been allowed to see or speak with him since he was moved to the hospital.


Pham Thanh was suddenly moved from a medical facility back to Hoa Lo Prison on New Year’s Day without notice, his wife said.

Details - Background, History of Activism, Contact Information.

Pham Chi Thanh was born in Dinh Binh, Thieu Yen, Thanh Hoa Province, and now lives and works in the Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi. He was a reporter at the Voice of Vietnam Radio (VOV). Thanh briefly held the position of deputy director of The Voice of Vietnam newspaper.

Profile photo source: BBC Vietnamese

Thanh has shown a desire for democracy since he was working for Voice of Vietnam. His outspoken nature resulted in him being demoted from the position of deputy director of Voice of Vietnam newspaper to a content checker, as they accused him of defaming and distorting the state and Party policies. 

In 2012, he resigned from the position and has since actively been involved in the democratization movement in Vietnam. In the same year, Thanh created his blog - Ba Dam Xoe, which became one of his most important tools to communicate with the public and criticize the government. 

In 2014, Thanh and Pham Chi Dung established the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam. He has served as the vice president of the association and supported many other independent grassroots organizations in Vietnam, such as No - U, Duong Noi land petitioners, etc. 

Since 2016, Thanh has self-published several books criticizing conditions in Vietnam, including “Cò hồn Xã nghĩa” (The Hungry Ghost of Socialism), “Nền Kinh tế thị trường XHCN - Xuống hố cả lũ” (The Socialist Market Economy of Self-Gravediggers), and most notably a book published in 2019 directly criticizing General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, entitled “"Nguyễn Phú Trọng: Thế Thiên Hành Đạo Hay Đại Nghịch Bất Đạo.”

His blog named Ba Dam Xoe

Arrested May 21, 2020. Charged under Art. 117 (2015 Code).

May 21, 2020
  • Art. 117 (2015 Code)
Hanoi city public security, Hanoi
His apartment in Hanoi (map)
  • freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention
  • liberty and security of the person
  • freedom of expression
  • freedom of association

On the morning of May 21, 2020, around 40 officers of Hanoi public security forces raided Pham Chi Thanh’s apartment in Hanoi. They read an arrest warrant to the family and searched the home for an hour. The public security subsequently arrested Thanh and confiscated some of his personal items, including two computers, a printer, several manuscripts and documents. 

During the search, the officers temporarily confiscated the phones of his wife (Nguyen Thi Nghiem) and other members of the family. The public security forces also refused to give the family copies of the arrest warrant and search warrant.

September 2020:

Two members of the unsanctioned Independent Journalist Association of Vietnam (IJAVN) had their pre-trial detentions extended without their families being informed. Pham Chi Thanh, arrested in May, had his detention extended by four months on charges of engaging in “anti-state propaganda”. The organization’s vice-president, Nguyen Tuong Thuy, also arrested in May and similarly charged, may also have had his detention extended without notice.

Profile last updated: 2021-01-10 23:23:17

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