Timeline of Events in the Struggle for Freedom of Expression in Vietnam
Actions While Imprisoned
Activists at Risk
Please pardon our work while we add in our sources and more dates to the timeline; it is in a continuous state of improvement, and we welcome any contributions of information.
The struggle for freedom of expression in Vietnam is generally thought to have begun in the 1950s with the Nhan Van Giai Pham movement.
1976: Doan Viet Hoat was arrested, detained, and held without trial for twelve years; he shared a cell with 40 others.
1978-1988: Doctor Nguyen Dan Que was arrested and served ten years in prison for his criticism of the state and for the founding of a civil society organization.
May 1983-July 1992: Catholic priest, Father Nguyen Van Ly, was arrested and jailed for “destroying the people’s unity.” He also served a year in prison from 1977-1978.
May 1983: Nguyen Huu Cau was sentenced to life in prison for his poetry pertaining to abusive power and corruption.
February 1989: Doan Viet Hoat was released from his 12-year detention.
1990: Doan Viet Hoat was arrested and detained again.
June 14, 1990: Nguyen Dan Que was arrested again after forming a new, non-violent group and calling for people to sign a petition for change in Vietnam.
1991: Activist/writer Duong Thu Huong was arrested and spent eight months in prison after previously being kicked out of the Communist Party; her books are banned in Vietnam.
November 29, 1991: Nguyen Dan Que was sentenced to 20 years in prison at trial, accused of attempting to “overthrow” the government; he was also punished for his ties to Amnesty International.
April 25, 1992: Businessman and engineer Nguyen Si Binh was arrested, along with 16 others, for his supposed involvement in attempts to subvert the government.
March 1993: Doan Viet Hoat was sentenced to twenty years at trial and spent 4.5 of those years in solitary confinement.
September 1998: Nguyen Dan Que, Doan Viet Hoat, and others were released from prison under amnesty for Vietnam’s National Day— Doan Viet Hoat moved to the US, and Nguyen Dan Que was asked to leave Vietnam, but refused.
May 17, 2001: Father Nguyen Van Ly was arrested again after giving testimony to the US about freedom of religion in Vietnam.
October 19, 2001: Father Nguyen Van Ly was sentenced to 15 years in prison and five years of house arrest at trial.
March 17, 2003: Nguyen Dan Que was arrested again.
January 29, 2004: Nguyen Dan Que was sentenced to 30 months in prison, after a corrupt trial, for “abusing democratic rights to jeopardize the interests of the state.”
Early 2005: Nguyen Dan Que, Father Nguyen Van Ly, Nguyen Dinh Huy, and Huynh Van Ba were released on amnesty.
February 18, 2007: Father Nguyen Van Ly was arrested again for calling for an election boycott.
March 30, 2007: Father Nguyen Van Ly was sentenced to eight years in prison under Article 88 for trying to organize a boycott of the nearing election and for allegedly harming national security; he had three strokes while in prison and lacked access to proper medical care.
April 19, 2008: Nguyen Van Hai (Dieu Cay) was arrested; he is known for his association with the Independent Journalists’ Club (founded 2007) and for his anti-China protests.
September 18, 2008: Pham Thanh Nghien was arrested under Article 88 for her pro-democracy activities.
May 24, 2009: Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, businessman and economist, was arrested for his social and economic writings.
Summer 2009: Nguyen Tien Trung, Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, Le Cong Dinh, Tran Anh Kim, and Le Thang Long were all arrested.
December 2009: Former Vietnamese military officer Tran Anh Kim was convicted of subversion and sentenced to five and a half years in prison.
January 20, 2010: Tran Huynh Duy Thuc was sentenced to prison for 16 years (with five years of house arrest) under Articles 79 and 88 of Vietnam’s Penal Code. Nguyen Tien Trung was sentenced to seven years. Le Cong Dinh and Le Thang Long were sentenced to five years each.
February 2010: Labor rights activists Do Thi Minh Hanh, Doan Huy Chuong, and Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung were detained after organizing workers at a shoe factory.
March 17, 2010: Father Nguyen Van Ly was temporarily released from prison to receive medical care after a reported stroke(s) suffered in prison.
July 2010: Land rights activist Pham Van Thong was arrested (see entry for May 30, 2011 for more information).
August 2010: Land rights activists Duong Kim Khai and Tran Thi Thuy were arrested (see entry for May 30, 2011 for more information).
October 2010: Phan Thanh Hai (Anhbasg) was arrested on charges of distributing anti-state information.
October 2010: Do Thi Minh Hanh, Doan Huy Chuong, and Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung were indicted under Article 89 of Vietnam’s Penal Code for “disrupting national security” and were sentenced to seven, seven, and nine years in prison, respectively.
November 2010: Cu Huy Ha Vu was arrested.
January 29, 2011: Pham Thanh Nghien was sentenced to four years in prison, with three years of probation.
February 2011: Nguyen Dan Que once again was arrested, this time for having documents allegedly calling for an “overthrow” of the repressive regime.
February 2011: Land rights activists Cao Van Tinh was arrested (see entry for May 30, 2011 for more information).
April 4, 2011: Cu Huy Ha Vu was convicted of propaganda against the state and sentenced to seven years in prison and three years of house arrest.
May 30, 2011: Seven land rights activists were tried under Article 79 of Vietnam’s Penal Code for “activities aimed at overthrowing” the government. They were sentenced to prison terms ranging from four to eight years. Later in 2011, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention declared that their detentions were arbitrary.
Mid-2011: A string of arrests led to 17 activists charged under Articles 79 or 88 of the 1999 Criminal Code; the activists went to trial in September of 2012.
July 25, 2011: Father Nguyen Van Ly returned to prison after receiving medical parole in 2010.
September 5, 2011: Ta Phong Tan, former police officer, was arrested for her blog posts citing government corruption.
October 2011: Dinh Dang Dinh, teacher and former military officer, was arrested under Article 88 of Vietnam’s Penal Code.
February 2012: Twenty-two members of a peaceful, religious environmental group were arrested.
July 16, 2012: Three land rights activists were tried under Article 88 of Vietnam’s Penal Code for “propaganda against the state.” They had led peaceful protests, voiced concerns about corruption concerning land, and were accused of distributing information and encouraging people to participate in anti-China protests. Dinh Van Nhuong and Do Van Hoa were sentenced to four years each (and three years house arrest), and Nguyen Kim Nhan received 5.5 yeas (and four years house arrest).
July 30, 2012: Ta Phong Tan’s mother, Dang Thi Kim Lieng, died after setting herself on fire to protest her daughter’s unjust imprisonment.
August 2012: Tran Quoc Hien fled to Thailand looking for asylum after being released from a five-year sentence for organizing a farmers’ protest in 2006.
August 8, 2012: Dinh Dang Dinh was sentenced to six years in prison under Article 88 of the 1999 Criminal Code.
August 11, 2012: Blogger Le Thanh Tung was sentenced under Article 88 of the 1999 Criminal Code to five years in prison and four years of house arrest.
September 24, 2012: Nguyen Van Hai (Dieu Cay) was sentenced to 12 years in prison and five years of probation for “anti-state propaganda.” He was originally sentenced to 30 months on charges of tax evasion in 2009 before being charged with this new charge. Ta Phong Tan was sentenced to 10 years in prison with three years of probation. Phan Thanh Hai was sentenced to four years in prison with three years of probation.
September 26, 2012: Seventeen activists, mostly Catholics, arrested in 2011, faced trial. Three were tried under Article 88 for conducting propaganda against the state. Chu Manh Son, who participated in anti-China protests, received three years, reduced to 2.5 on appeal (and one year house arrest). Dau Van Duong and Tran Huu Duc, who also protested China, as well as supported dissident Cu Huy Ha Vu, receivd 3.5 years (and 18 months house arrest) and three years and three months (and one year house arrest), respectively. The other fourteen activists were tried under Article 79 and were accused of having ties with peaceful, pro-democracy organization Viet Tan. Dang Ngoc Minh, Dang Xuan Dieu, Ho Duc Hoa, Ho Van Oanh, Nguyen Dang Minh Man, Nguyen Dinh Cuong, Nguyen Van Duyet, Nguyen Van Oai, Nong Hung Anh, Paulus Le Van Son, Thai Van Dung, Tran Minh Nhat, Nguyen Vinh Phuc Dang, and Nguyen Xuan Anh received sentences ranging from three years to thirteen years.
November 8, 2012: Government Decree 92 made religious recognition requirements stricter for organizations in Vietnam.
November 24, 2012: First blog post posted on the88project.com.
December 27, 2012: Le Quoc Quan was arrested for tax evasion. He was also jailed for three months in 2007, disbarred in 2008, and attacked by police earlier in 2012.
December 28, 2012: Nguyen Van Hai (Dieu Cay), Ta Phong Tan, and Phan Thanh Hai’s appeal was denied at trial.
January 9, 2013: Fourteen bloggers, writers, and activists were convicted under Article 79 of Vietnam’s Penal Code and sentenced to between three and 13 years in prison (they were originally arrested in 2011); among those convicted were Ho Duc Hoa, Paulus Le Van Son, Dang Xuan Dieu, Nguyen Van Duyet, and Nong Hung Anh.
January 28, 2013: Twenty-two members of a religious environmental group, arrested in February of 2012, were tried under Article 79 of Vietnam’s Penal Code. They received sentences ranging from a minimum of 10 years to life in prison (for the founder).
February 18, 2013: 88: The Repression of Cyber Dissidents, the documentary, was released.
May 5, 2013: Peaceful, human rights picnics were met with violence and arrests in Vietnam.
May 16, 2013: Students Nguyen Kha and Phuong Uyen were sentenced to eight and six years in prison under Article 88 of Vietnam’s Penal Code for distributing information about the Vietnam-China South China Sea conflict.
May 26, 2013: Blogger Truong Duy Nhat was arrested under Article 258 of Vietnam’s Penal Code for “abusing democratic freedoms.”
May 27, 2013: Cu Huy Ha Vu started a hunger strike in prison that lasted until June 21, 2013. Dieu Cay also led a five-week hunger strike in the summer of 2013, protesting treatment and conditions in prison.
June 13, 2013: Blogger Pham Viet Dao was arrested under Article 258 of Vietnam’s 1999 Penal Code.
June 15, 2013: Dinh Nhat Uy was arrested (he is the brother of student Dinh Nguyen Kha, who was sentenced in May of 2013).
September 1, 2013: Decree 72 went into effect in Vietnam, further restricting Internet usage.
September 1, 2013: Phan Thanh Hai was released from prison and sent into house arrest.
October 29, 2013: Dinh Nhat Uy received a 15-month suspended sentence at trial.
November 12, 2013: Vietnam was elected to a seat on the UN Human Rights Council despite international protests.
December 10, 2013: Network of Vietnamese Bloggers was launched to coincide with the anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
December 10, 2013: Forty-seven members of the US Congress sent a letter to then-US Secretary of State John Kerry, urging him to consider human rights violations during his visit with the Vietnamese Prime Minister.
February 11, 2014: Bui Thi Minh Hang, Nguyen Van Minh, and Nguyen Thi Thuy Quynh were detained in a violent raid.
February 18, 2014: Le Quoc Quan’s two-and-a-half year sentence was upheld at his appeal trial.
March 2, 2014: Dinh Dang Dinh and Nguyen Huu Cau was released from prison due to health issues; Nguyen Huu Cau had served over three decades in prison (out of a life sentence given for the themes of his poetry).
March 4, 2014: Truong Duy Nhat was sentenced to two years in prison.
March 19, 2014: Pham Viet Dao was sentenced to fifteen months in prison.
Spring 2014: Blogger Anh Ba Sam (Nguyen Huu Vinh) and his assistant were detained without formal charges.
April 3, 2014: Dinh Dang Dinh, 50, died of stomach cancer just one month after his release from prison.
April 5, 2014: Cu Huy Ha Vu was released early from prison and arrived in the United States two days later.
April 12, 2014: Nguyen Tien Trung and Vu Duc Hoi were released early from prison.
May 5, 2014: Writers Nguyen Huu Vinh and Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy were arrested under Article 258 of Vietnam’s Penal Code.
June 20, 2014: The UN Human Rights Council upheld Vietnam’s appointment to the Council, despite Vietnam’s implementation of only 182 of 227 recommendations made by the Council to improve human rights in Vietnam.
June 26, 2014: Truong Duy Nhat’s appeal over his two-year sentence was denied at his appeal trial.
June 26, 2014: Labor rights activist Do Thi Minh Hanh was released from prison, while colleagues Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung and Doan Huy Chuong remained in prison.
July 4, 2014: Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam formed.
July 21-31, 2014: UN religious expert surveyed freedom of religion in Vietnam and was blocked from meeting with several groups and individuals.
July 29, 2014: Thirty-five members of the US Congress sent a letter to then-President Obama urging for human rights to be considered in any prospective trade agreement with Vietnam.
August 26, 2014: Bui Thi Minh Hang, Nguyen Van Minh, and Nguyen Thi Thuy Quynh were sentenced to 3.5, 2.5 and two years, respectively.
September 27, 2014: Former lawmaker Le Van Tinh was released from prison after completing most of a 20-year sentence, much of which was spent in solitary confinement.
October 2, 2014: US partially lifted ban on weapons sales to Vietnam.
October 2, 2014: Catholic activist Dau Van Duong was released from prison at the end of his three-year sentence; he nearly died from a beating while detained.
October 21, 2014: Blogger Nguyen Van Hai (Dieu Cay) was released from prison and sent immediately into exile to the United States.
October 21, 2014: US Senators urged President Obama to reconsider human rights ramifications of easing US weapons sales to Vietnam.
November 22, 2014: The 88 Project released “5844 Days in Prison,” a video in honor of Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, ahead of his birthday on November 29.
November 29, 2014: Blogger Hong Le Tho, 65, was detained for posting “bad content.”
December 4, 2014: Freedom House released its Freedom on the Net 2014 report, finding that Vietnam is “Not Free.”
December 6, 2014: Well-known writer Nguyen Quang Lap was detained for his blog posts.
December 10, 2014: Ted Osius was sworn in as US Ambassador to Vietnam.
December 12, 2014: The appeal of Bui Thi Minh Hang, Nguyen Van Minh, and Nguyen Thi Thuy Quynh was denied and their original sentences were upheld; the three human rights defenders were originally tried in August of 2014.
December 17, 2014: The Committee Protect Journalists named Vietnam as the country with the 5th highest amount of imprisoned journalists in the world.
December 27, 2014: Blogger Nguyen Dinh Ngoc (Nguyen Ngoc Gia) was arrested.
Late 2014: The US Commission on International Religious Freedom’s 2014 Annual Report found that Vietnam had not come close to guaranteeing religious freedom for all.
January 7, 2015: Newspaper Nguoi Cao Tuoi had its license taken away for its coverage of corruption; the editor, Kim Quoc Hoa, was targeted by authorities.
February 10, 2015: Nguyen Quang Lap was released due to his medical condition, remained under house arrest and under investigation.
February 11, 2015: Hong Le Tho was released and put under house arrest due to medical reasons; he remained under observation by the authorities.
February 12, 2015: Bloggers Le Thi Phuong Anh, Do Nam Trung, and Pham Vinh Vu were sentenced under Article 258 (“abusing democratic freedoms”) to 12, 14, and 18 months in prison, respectively, for their association with anti-China protests.
March 2015: Freedom House released “Freedom in the World 2015” report, rating Vietnam as “Not Free,” with a 6/7 freedom score (7 being the worst score), 5/7 score for civil liberties, and 7/7 for political rights.
March 2015: US Commission on International Religious Freedom released its 2014 Report on Vietnam, deeming it a “country of particular concern” in regards to religious freedom.
April 2015: Mai Thi was Dung released from prison after serving six and five-year sentences for her work towards freedom of religion in Vietnam.
April 2, 2015: Bui Thi Minh Hang started a hunger strike in prison, protesting her treatment, as other inmates were encouraged to harass her.
April 30, 2015: Bipartisan group of US representatives introduced a bill that would make certain assistance to Vietnam contingent on respect for human rights.
Mid-May 2015: Prisoner of conscience Pham Thi Loc, arrested in 2011, was released from prison. She reported back on the poor health of her cellmates, Ta Phong Tan, Can Thi Theu, and Nguyen Dang Minh Man.
May 13, 2015: Ta Phong Tan, imprisoned blogger, began a hunger strike, protesting the cruel treatment of prisoners. The strike lasted until June 4.
May 13, 2015: Kim Quoc Hoa, former editor of a newspaper, was charged under Article 258 for his work revealing corruption in one-party Vietnam.
May 28, 2015: Fifteen members of the U.S. Congress sent a letter to Vietnam’s President and Prime Minister calling on Vietnam to release 28 political prisoners, including Tran Huynh Duy Thuc.
June 2015: Former prisoner of conscience Pham Thanh Nghien was attacked by police.
July 1, 2015: Journalist Le Thanh Tung was released a year early from prison after serving time under Article 88 of the 11999 Criminal Code.
July 13, 2015: A 54-year-old woman suffered serious bulldozer injuries after partaking in a land rights protest.
July 20, 2015: A 45-year-old Vietnamese man died while in a detention center, allegedly beaten to death.
July 2015: Activists were beaten at a hunger strike protest calling for the release of political prisoners.
September 2015: Blogger and former police officer Ta Phong Tan was released early from her 10-year sentence, was immediately sent into exile in the U.S..
September 2015: Bui Thi Minh Hang was adopted under then-U.S. Ambassdor Power’s #Freethe20 initiative.
November 8, 2015: Two activists were beaten and detained while travelling.
December 14, 2015: Nguyen Viet Dung was sentenced to 15 months in prison.
December 16, 2015: Human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai was arrested.
December 25, 2015: Hoang Duc Binh, Do Thi Minh Hanh, and other labor rights activists were attacked by police in Ho Chi Minh City.
January 12, 2016: Thirty people were temporarily detained in a land rights protest in Hanoi.
January 15, 2016: Human rights activist Ho Thi Bich Khuong was released after a five-year sentence, only to find land and home taken away by the government.
February 2016: Bui Thi Minh Hang was denied medical care in prison.
March 11, 2016: A collective hunger strike was started by imprisoned activists.
March 23, 2016: Website blogger Nguyen Huu Vinh (Anh Ba Sam) and coworker Nguyen Thi Minh were sentenced to five and three years under Article 258 of the 1999 Criminal Code.
March 24, 2016: Dinh Tat Thang was sentenced to over seven months under Article 258 of the 1999 Criminal Code for speaking out against corruption.
March 30, 2016: Land rights activists Ngo Thi Minh Uoc, Nguyen Thi Be Hai, and Nguyen Thi Tri were sentenced to four, three, and three years with two-three years probation under Article 88 of the 1999 Criminal Code.
March 30, 2016: Blogger Nguyen Dinh Ngoc was sentenced to four years in prison, plus three years of probation.
April 28, 2016: Activist at risk Truong Minh Tam was jailed for six days for speaking out on mass fish dieoff caused by the Formosa environmental disaster.
May 20, 2016: Long-term, multiple times political prisoner Father Nguyen Van Ly was released from prison.
May 22, 2016: US President Obama visited Vietnam, ended the US-Vietnam weapons sale ban shortly thereafter.
May 24, 2016: Tran Huynh Duy Thuc began a hunger strike in prison.
June 5, 2016: Protesters who gathered over fish die-offs from the Formosa environmental disaster were removed from Hanoi by buses.
July 14, 2016: Ede minority were protesters violently treated, some detained.
August 17, 2016: A massive gathering of protesters concerned with fish deaths and the Formosa environmental disaster was attacked and their movement restricted.
October 10, 2016: Blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, a.k.a. Mother Mushroom, was arrested.
November 2, 2016: Blogger Ho Van Hai was arrested.
November 30, 2016: Authorities upheld a 20-month prison sentence for land rights activist Can Thi Theu at her appeal trial.
December 16, 2016: Tran Anh Kim and Le Thanh Tung were sentenced to 13 and 12 years in prison.
December 18, 2016: Blogger Nguyen Danh Dung was arrested under Article 258 of the 1999 Criminal Code.
December 20, 2016: Thugs attacked former political prisoner and activist at risk Pham Van Troi’s house.
December 26, 2016: Court upheld a three-year sentence for Nguyen Huu Quoc Du at his appeal trial.
December 26, 2016: Plainclothes police abducted and injured young organizer and activist at risk Nguyen Ho Nhat.
Early January 2017: Pham Dang Toan died after a police chase under unclear circumstances; coroner attributed death to “lack of oxygen.”
January 5, 2017: An at risk human rights lawyer’s home was vandalized.
January 12, 2017: Catholic activist Dang Xuan Dieu was released after six years, forced into exile in France.
January 13, 2017: Vietnam barred activists from meeting with US diplomat John Kerry during his visit to Vietnam.
Mid-January 2017: Former political prisoner and activist at risk Pham Thanh Nghien’s travel was restricted.
January 2017: Four activists, including former prisoner of conscience Nguyen Van Oai, were arrested. Tran Thi Nga (labor rights), Nguyen Van Hoa (Article 258, Formosa protests), and Nguyen Thi Mien were also arrested.
February 10, 2017: Bui Thi Minh Hang was released after three years in prison under charges of “causing public disorder.”
February 17, 2017: Police violently dispersed a mass, peaceful protest recognizing the anniversary of the Chinese invasion in northern Vietnam.
February 24, 2017: Blogger Me Nam (Mother Mushroom)’s detention was extended three months without written notice.
February 27, 2017: Pastor and activist at risk Nguyen Trung Ton and friend Nguyen Viet Tu were abducted and assaulted.
February 28, 2017: Former political prisoners and activists at risk Pham Thanh Nghien and Huynh Anh Tu were attacked while visiting another fellow former prisoner.
March 2017: News came that Me Nam (Mother Mushroom) had been held in solitary confinement and beaten, in a prison with notorious treatment of female political prisoners.
March 3, 2017: Vu Quang Thuan (Vo Phu Dong) and Nguyen Van Dien (Dien Ai Quoc) were arrested for production of YouTube videos.
March 6, 2017: The US State Department released its 2016 Country Report on Vietnam, highlighting continued human rights abuses.
March 2017: The US State Department named imprisoned blogger Me Nam (Mother Mushroom) one of 13 International Women of Courage, but she was unable to receive her recognition in person.
March 2017: Front Line Defenders announced former prisoner of conscience and blogger Pham Thanh Nghien as a finalist for the 2017 Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk.
March 15, 2017: Police clashed with community members remembering the anniversary of the Spratly massacre.
March 17, 2017: Blogger Bui Hieu Vo was arrested under Article 88 of the 1999 Criminal Code.
March 21, 2017: Blogger Phan Kim Khanh was arrested under Article 88 of the 1999 Criminal Code.
March 21, 2017: Police violently dispersed a Formosa compensation protest.
April 2017: The German Association of Judges awarded lawyer Nguyen Van Dai, then held in pre-trial detention under Article 88, their 2017 human rights award.
April 2017: The Vietnamese Security Ministry proposed a draft bill banning use of audio and video recording devices as a matter of “national security,” in a move questioned by activists.
April 6, 2017: The Vietnamese government announced that blogger Nguyen Van Hoa would be prosecuted under Article 258 of the 1999 Criminal Code (“abusing democratic freedoms”), after his arrest in January 2017.
April 6, 2017: This day marked the one year anniversary of the Formosa environmental disaster, a toxic spill that caused mass fish deaths and pollution, affecting thousands of peoples’ livelihoods. The day was met with protests and police resistance.
April 11, 2017: Amnesty International released “Death Sentences and Executions 2016,” revealing that 429 people were executed under the death penalty in Vietnam from August 2013-June 2016.
April 15, 2017: Land rights activists were attacked, and 15 deceived into unlawful arrests.
Late April 2017: Land rights disputes led to violence, protests, arrests, and a hostage situation in Dong Tam, Vietnam.
April 26, 2017: Reporters Without Borders released its 2017 World Press Freedom Index, with Vietnam’s position at 175/180, unchanged from 2016.
April 26, 2017: The US Committee on International Religious Freedom released its 2017 Annual Report, recommending Vietnam be designated as a Tier 1 Country of Particular Concern.
April 26, 2017: The Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security withdrew its controversial proposal to ban the use of hidden audio and video recording devices.
May 2, 2017: Female environmental activist Le My Hanh and friends were attacked in a filmed assault at private residence.
May 5, 2017: Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy was released from prison after serving a three-year sentence.
May 11, 2017: Activist Tran Thi Nga saw a lawyer for first time since her January 21, 2017 arrest. She was reportedly in poor health and had been charged under Article 88 of the 1999 Criminal Code.
May 12, 2017: Police issued a nationwide wanted notice for Bach Hong Quyen under Article 245 (“disturbing public order”) for his role in a recent protest.
May 15, 2017: Environmental and labor rights activist Hoang Duc Binh was arrested in a violent spectacle, charged under Articles 257 and 258 of the 1999 Criminal Code.
May 18, 2017: Buddhist follower Vuong Vuan Tha and his family were arrested in violent raid at their home.
May 21, 2017: Catholic singer Tran Vu Anh Binh was released from prison four months ahead of the end of a six-year sentence
May 26, 2017: Appeals court upheld 12 and 13-year sentences for ex-soldier Le Thanh Tung and retired Lt. Colonel Tran Anh Kim.
June 7, 2017: Vandals pelted rocks at a church with ties to anti-Formosa protest movement.
June 8, 2017: Thugs threatened activist and former political prisoner Le Quoc Quan and his family at their home.
June 8, 2017: Blogger and activist Nguyen Dang Vu was taken and held for 31 hours by police.
June 20, 2017: The Vietnamese National Assembly passed the Law amending the Criminal Code, broadening the scope of national security provisions by criminalizing the act of “preparation” for such “crimes,” and holding lawyers criminally accountable for failing to report on clients’s national security crimes.
June 25, 2017: Activist Huynh Anh Tuan was beaten after attempting to obtain information following a protest and detentions.
June 25, 2017: Professor, activist, and former political prisoner Pham Minh Hoang was deported to France after his Vietnamese citizenship was revoked.
June 29, 2017: Young activist Tran Hoang Phuc was kidnapped by police, later arrested under Article 88 of the 1999 Criminal Code. He had been kidnapped earlier in 2017 as well.
June 29, 2017: Blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh (also known as Me Nam, or Mother Mushroom) was sentenced to 10 years under Article 88 of the 1999 Criminal Code.
July 3, 2017: Thirty-two organizations released an open letter calling for independent investigation into suspicious death of Hoa Hao Buddhist Nguyen Huu Tan, who died while in custody on May 3, 2017 and detained under Article 88.
July 3, 2017: A group of 1,000 Catholic protesters from central Vietnam trekked to a local government office to petition for their fair compensation from the government after the Formosa toxic spill.
July 7, 2017: Land rights activists, political prisoners Nguyen Thi Tri and Nguyen Thi Be Hai were released from prison upon completion of three year sentences; co-defendant Ngo Thi Minh Uoc remained in prison.
July 22, 2017: Police “inspectors” interfered with activist singer Mai Khoi’s small show in Hanoi.
July 24, 2017: Nguyen Hieu, a blogger and activist, was beaten for the second time in two weeks, sustaining severe injuries, and also questioned in custody, while filming harassment of former prisoner of conscience Bui Thi Minh Hang.
July 24, 2017: Veteran Le Dinh Luong, 52, was arrested on charges of subversion.
July 25, 2017: Land and labor rights activist Tran Thi Nga was sentenced to nine years in prison and five years of probation at a one-day trial.
July 28, 2017: The son and daughter-in-law of recently-arrested activist Dinh Luong were targeted by police, beaten and held in custody.
July 30, 2017: Former political prisoners Nguyen Trung Ton, Truong Minh Duc, Nguyen Bac Truyen (assumed arrested, due to kidnapping), and Pham Van Troi were all arrested for ties to various organizations.
Early August 2017: Tran Tuan Kiet, who worked at a college, was arrested under Article 258 for “abusing democratic freedoms.” He had previously been singled out by school administration for commenting on school affairs, such as an unjust promotion.
August 2017: Political prisoners Le Thanh Tung and Tran Anh Kim were transferred to different prisons; their families were not notified of the transfers.
August 4, 2017: Former political prisoner Nguyen Trung Truc was arrested under Article 79 of the 1999 Criminal Code, just days after a mass arrest of other members of the Brotherhood for Democracy.
August 2017: Lawyer Nguyen Van Dai and colleague Le Thu Ha had their pre-trial detention extended and were charged under additional provision, Article 79 of the 1999 Criminal Code,
August 18, 2017: In a letter dated from this day, authorities extended the pre-trial detention of environmental activist Luu Van Vinh through October 31, 2017.
August 20, 2017: Authorities announceed postponement of Nguyen Van Oai’s trial for unknown reasons; it was originally scheduled for August 21.
September 1, 2017: Former political prisoner Nguyen Van Tuc was arrested under Article 79 for ties to the Brotherhood for Democracy.
September 4, 2017: Assailants backing the government attacked Catholic priest Nguyen Duy Tan and members of his community at their church, in the latest string of attacks on Catholic groups and activists for speaking out against the government.
September 6, 2017: A teacher named Pham Ngoc Lan was called in and questioned by police on the first day of her school year for alleged ties to the pro-democracy activist group the Brotherhood for Democracy.
September 18, 2017: Nguyen Van Oai was sentenced to five years in prison under Article 304 (“failing to execute probation”) in a closed-off trial.
September 20, 2017: VOICE delegate Dinh Thao gave a statement before the UN Human Rights Council. Watch the video, here. Alongside Dinh Thao was Le Thi Minh Ha, wife of the blogger Nguyen Huu Vinh (Anh Ba Sam) who was sentenced to 5 years for writing against the government.
September 25, 2017: Protesters at a textile factory in northern Vietnam were violently dispersed with electric batons, water cannons, and their tents burned, after months of protests against pollution.
September 27, 2017: Founder of the Republican Party in Vietnam, and former political prisoner, Nguyen Viet Dung, was kidnapped and arrested under Article 88.
October 5, 2017: Retired teacher Dao Quang Thuc was arrested under Article 79 for involvement in peaceful protests.
October 7, 2017: Activist Nguyen Dang Vu was kidnapped, questioned, and held by police for 20 hours.
October 17, 2017: Female environmental and social activist Tran Thi Xuan was arrested under Article 79 for unclear reasons.
October 25, 2017: Blogger Phan Kim Khanh, 24, was convicted in a four-hour trial of violating Article 88 and sentenced to six years in prison and four years of house arrest.
October 30, 2017: Environmental and labor activist Hoang Duc Bin’s investigation period ended; it was announced he would be tried for “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the state.”
November 1, 2017: Former political prisoner and land rights activist Bui Thi Minh Hang was taken for police interrogation for several hours for unknown reasons, her money and smartphone confiscated.
November 1, 2017: Attendees were met with police resistance and were openly attacked by pro-government thugs at the commemoration ceremony in southeast Vietnam for Ngo Dinh Diem, the former South Vietnamese President who was assassinated during a coup in 1963.
Early November 2017: Activists were summoned for questioning, harassed, intimidated, followed, surveilled, and their movement restricted leading up to and during the APEC Summit in Da Nang. Dissident artist Mai Khoi was locked in her home after protesting US President Trump; she was later visited by secret police and evicted from her home.
November 7, 2017: Seventeen international human rights organizations released a letter appealing for release of Vietnamese prisoners of conscience ahead of APEC Summit.
November 8, 2017: The Vietnamese, an independent magazine in English that covers Vietnamese politics and human rights, was launched.
Mid-November 2017: Fourteen nongovernmental organizations launched the NOW! Campaign to bring awareness to prisoners of conscience in Vietnam, including a database of the 165 prisoners at that time.
November 14, 2017: The Ministry of Information and Communication issued an order to prohibit the online magazine Nguoi Quan Ly (The Manager) from engaging in any and all publication activities for three months, due to an August 21, 2017 article it had published in relation to the anti-corruption campaign in Binh Phuoc Province.
November 15, 2017: Hanoi police kidnapped activist Truong Van Dung for a day-long interrogation about his connection with the Brotherhood for Democracy after he defied police summons. He had staged a protest calling on APEC leaders to remember human rights.
November 16, 2017: Three activists were detained after meeting with EU representatives in Hanoi ahead of the EU-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue in December. Nguyen Quang A, Bui Thi Minh Hang, and Pham Doan Trang were all detained and later released, but Trang was detained for several hours before being released in the evening, and her communications devices were confiscated.
Mid-November 2017: Vietnam ranked “Not Free,” with score of 76/100 (100 is least free score) on Freedom House’s Freedom of the Net 2017 report.
November 21, 2017: Vietnamese civil society activists were watched and intimidated following another series of meetings with foreign representatives to discuss the on-the-ground human rights situation in Vietnam.
November 24, 2017: Lawyer Ha Huy Son, Nguyen Van Dien’s defense counsel, met with Dien for the first time in Detention center No. 1 in Hanoi, and shared that Dien was in good health and spirit. Authorities finished the investigation into Dien and his video blogging partner, Vu Quang Thuan, charging them under Article 88.
November 26, 2017: Lawyer Vo An Don, one of Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh’s defense counsels, was disbarred from the Bar Federation of Phu Yen province.
November 27, 2017: Journalist Nguyen Van Hoa was sentenced to seven years in prison and three years of probation under Article 88 after an unannounced, brief trial in Ha Tinh, without legal representation. Hoa had reported on the toxic Formosa environmental disaster that began in April 2016, sometimes using a drone.
November 27, 2017: Activist Truong Van Dung’s home was attacked with a mess of offensive materials, the second time in recent days.
November 28, 2017: Nguyen Nam Phong was arrested after a May 2017 incident driving Hoang Duc Binh and charged with “resisting persons in the performance of their official duties” under Article 330 (new).
November 30, 2017: Mother Mushroom’s appeal was denied in a short, secretive trial. Supporters were attacked outside the courthouse and prohibited from entering.
December 1, 2017: The annual EU-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue in Vietnam followed trials of two high-profile dissidents; according to a press release after the dialogue, the delegation did discuss the “deterioration of civil and political rights” in Vietnam.
Early December 2017: Blogger Ho Van Hai (a.k.a Doctor Ho Hai) was transferred from Phan Dang Luu detention center to Chi Hoa prison.
December 5, 2017: Father Joan Luu Ngoc Quynh of Thai Ha Redemptorist Church in Hanoi was stopped at Noi Bai International Airport when he was on the way to go to Paris to participate in a religious event. On December 6, at Tan Son Nhat airport in HCMC, Father JB Nguyen Dinh Thuc of Song Ngoc parish, Nghe An province, was prevented from going to Australia to attend a hearing on Vietnam human rights by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights of the Australian Parliament. It is believe that they were targeted for their ties to the activist community.
December 10, 2017: Three Redemptorist priests and a Buddhist monk were restricted from traveling to attend a special mass for the feast of Immaculate Conception in Dong Nai province.
December 17, 2017: Tran Anh Kim’s wife visited him in prison, just over a year after he was sentenced to 13 years in prison, and shared with his friends that Kim is in poor health. The prison’s infirmary was unable to treat him, but the prison’s authorities had not yet permitted him to be sent to the province’s hospital to receive treatment, saying they were still waiting for their superiors’ order.
December 21, 2017: Five activists were sentenced to multiple years in prison under Article 88 in An Giang province for the creation of flags of the Republic of Vietnam and online postings (the activists were: Nguyen Tan An, Huynh Thi Kim Quyen, Nguyen Ngoc Quy, Pham Van Trong, and Nguyen Thanh Binh).
December 22, 2017: Tran Thia Nga’s appeal of her nine-year sentence was denied in Ha Nam.
December 24, 2017: Police arrested Protestant Pastor Doan Van Dien for unknown reasons; he was detained for over a month and later released. His son, labor activist Doan Huy Chuong, believed the arrest was a ploy to actually arrest him.
December 25, 2017: The Vietnamese government announced Force 47, a group of 10,000 workers aimed at clamping down on Internet dissent.
December 28, 2017: Nine people were sentenced to between three and fourteen years prison under Articles 88 and 79 of the 1999 Criminal Code in Binh Dinh for printing and distributing leaflets.
January 13, 2018: Authorities charged former political prisoner Vu Van Hung under Article 318 (new) (“causing public disorder”) after arresting him on January 4 and beating him in custody.
January 15, 2018: Nguyen Van Oai’s appeal was denied; his five-year sentence was upheld.
January 16, 2018: Activist at risk– Lawyer and former political prisoner Le Quoc Quan and family were evicted from their home.
January 23, 2018: Hoa Hao Buddhist Vuong Van Tha was sentenced to 12 years in prison under Article 88 in An Giang province. His son and two nephews (Vuong Van Thuan, Nguyen Nhat Truong, and Nguyen Nhat Thuong) were also sentenced to seven and six years each, respectively.
January 24, 2018: Citizen journalist Do Cong Duong was arrested. Active in covering land rights issues, he also hosted “Tieng Dan TV,” which included live-streamed video discussions on Facebook.
Late January 2018: One hundred fishermen gathered in Quang Binh to protest for three days over inadequate compensation from authorities following the Formosa toxic waste spill.
January 31, 2018: Tran Hoang Phuc, Nguyen Van Dien, and Vu Quang Thuan were sentenced to a total of 20.5 years in prison in Hanoi under Article 88, cl. 1, of the 1999 Criminal Code. Video blogging partners Thuan and Dien were sentenced to 8 and 6.5 years, respectively; Phuc received a 6-year sentence.
February 2018: Persecuted writer and activist Pham Doan Trang was announced as the winner of the 2017 Homo Homini Prize from People in Need.
February 1, 2018: Blogger Dr. Ho Van Hai was sentenced to four years in prison and two years of probation under Article 88 of the 1999 Criminal Code.
February 6, 2018: Hoang Duc Binh and Nguyen Nam Phong were sentenced to 14 and two years in prison, respectively, in a court in Nghe An province, under Articles 330 and 331 of the 2015 Criminal Code. The environmental activists were involved in Formosa protests.
February 9, 2018: Six Hoa Hao Buddhists: Bui Van Trung, Bui Van Tham, Nguyen Hoang Nam, Le Thi Hong Hanh, Le Thi Hen, and Bui Thi Bich Tuyen, were tried in An Giang province. Bui Van Tham was charged under Article 257 (“resisting persons in the performance of their official duties”) and Article 245 (“causing public disorder”), while the other five were charged under Article 245 of the 1999 Criminal Code. Trung and Tham were sentenced to six years in prison; Nam was sentenced to four; Hanh and Tuyen were sentenced to three; and Hen was given a two-year suspended sentence. According to supporters, this is a case of religious repression.
February 9, 2018: Nguyen Van Truong was arrested in Thai Nguyen province under Article 331 (new) for online postings about police corruption.
February 10, 2018: Land rights activist Can Thi Theu was released from prison after completing her sentence and arrived home to a group of supporters.
Mid-February 2018: Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh (Mother Mushroom) was transferred to a remote northern prison (Prison No. 5 in Thanh Hoa) without written notice to her family, despite her poor health.
Late February 2018: Nguyen Van Hoa was transferred to An Diem prison in Quang Nam, about 500 km from his home province.
February 23, 2018: Community at risk– Parents seeking to remedy a school fee dispute at a Catholic school were attacked outside the school by thugs believed to be related to the government.
Late Feb-Early March 2018: Tran Thi Nga was transferred to a new prison over 1200 km from her home province of Ha Nam. Her family only found out after attempting to visit Nga at her old prison on March 5.
Late Feb-Early March 2018: Vu Quang Thuan, Trang Hoang Phuc, and Nguyen Van Dien appealed their January 31, 2018 sentences of eight, six, and 6.5 years, respectively.
March 7, 2018: Blogger and activist Nguyen Tuong Thuy, vice president of the Independent Journalist Association of Vietnam, was blocked from meeting with UN representatives.
March 8, 2018: Dissident journalist and activist Pham Doan Trang was taken into custody on International Women’s Day and released after nine hours of interrogation. This was her second recent interrogation after also being forcefully detained on February 24 regarding her recently-published book, “Chính trị bình dân” (Politics for the Masses).
March 14, 2018: Activist Dung Truong was taken to the hospital after an attack from plainclothes agents left him bruised and missing two teeth. He was beaten after going to a local police station to try to get a friend released. She and other activists had been detained before and after a ceremony honoring the lives lost in a Chinese-Vietnamese naval conflict in 1988.
March 20, 2018: Activist Bui Minh Quoc, the vice president of the Independent Journalist Association of Vietnam, was prohibited from leaving Vietnam to visit his son in the U.S.
Late March 2018: Labor rights advocate Tran Thi Nga was transferred to Gia Trung prison, over 1,000 km away from her home province.
Late March 2018: Catholic activist Nguyen Van Oai was transferred without notice to Gia Trung prison.
Late March 2018: The People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City returned Luu Van Vinh’s case to the authorities for further investigation, refusing to prosecute him at the time.
March 27, 2018: Dissident singer and well-known activist Mai Khoi was detained by authorities for eight hours after arriving home from a European tour for her new album, “Dissent.”
April 2018: The US Commission on International Religious Freedom released its 2018 Annual Report, once again recommending classifying Vietnam as a Tier 1 Country of Particular Concern.
April 2018: Authorities have mistreated retired teacher and activist Dao Quang Thuc while in pre-trial detention, his family alleged. This includes denying him proper amounts of food at the beginning of his detention and subjecting him to harsh interrogations. He was hospitalized in April with several health issues.
April 5, 2018: In a one-day trial, six activists were sentenced to a combined 66 years in prison and 17 years of house arrest under Article 79 of the 1999 Criminal Code. Human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai was sentenced to fifteen years, and Pastor Nguyen Trung Ton and journalist Truong Minh Duc were sentenced to twelve years each. Religious freedom activist Nguyen Bac Truyen received eleven years, pro-democracy activist Le Thu Ha received nine years, and writer Pham Van Troi received seven years.
April 5, 2018: Do Cong Duong met with his lawyer, Ha Huy Son, for the first time since his January arrest. According to Ha Huy Son, Duong was charged with “disturbing public order” under Art. 318 of the 2015 Criminal Code, and he also shared that Duong was not in good health.
April 10, 2018: Brotherhood for Democracy member Nguyen Van Tuc was sentenced to 13 years under Article 79 of the 1999 Criminal Code.
April 12, 2018: Brotherhood for Democracy member Tran Thi Xuan was sentenced to nine years in prison under Article 79 for subversion. She has been detained since October 2017, and since her trial was unannounced to the public – including her own family – beforehand, she had to face trial without her attorney.
April 12, 2018: Brotherhood for Democracy member Vu Van Hung, a former political prisoner and teacher, was sentenced to one year in prison for “deliberately causing injury” after being arrested in January 2018.
April 12, 2018: Vietnam Republic Party founder Nguyen Viet Dung was sentenced to seven years in prison under Article 88 of the 1999 Criminal Code in a two-hour trial.
April 12, 2018: Following the trial of human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai and five other activists, in which they received sentences ranging from seven to 15 years in prison, and the trial of Nguyen Van Tuc mere days later, a group of UN experts released a statement questioning the Vietnamese government’s motives for jailing the activists, asking for clarifications regarding their detentions and trial, and urging the government to uphold international obligations to protect human rights and release political prisoners.
April 12, 2018: A lawyer submitted a petition to meet with Brotherhood for Democracy spokesperson Nguyen Trung Truc; Truc has not been able to meet with his lawyer since being detained in August 2017.
April 16, 2018: About 300 school-aged children and their parents in Nghe An province marched peacefully to and from their primary school to protest fees for “extra” classes.
April 16, 2018: Land rights and anti-corruption activist Do Cong Duong was charged with “abusing democratic freedoms.” Previously, he was charged with “disturbing public order.”
April 19, 2018: Ten years after his arrest, activist blogger Dieu Cay reflected on his long journey away from home in an article series with The 88 Project.
April 20, 2018: Locals in Binh Dinh province briefly detained government officials in an attempt to free local protesters who were detained after an environmental protest. Fourteen were detained for participating in the protest. In response, community members went to the local government office and detained five government officials, releasing them later that day once the 14 protesters had also been released.
April 22, 2018: Saigon-based female activist Tran Thu Nguyet was prohibited from attending the funeral of a well-known Catholic priest’s mother in Nghe An. The priest has been involved in seeking compensation for the community after the Formosa environmental disaster.
April 24, 2018: Environmental activist Hoang Duc Binh’s appeal of his 14-year sentence was denied.
May 5-11, 2018: Blogger and environmental activist Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, aka Mother Mushroom, was on a hunger strike in prison, refusing to eat food she said had been making her sick.
May 7, 2018: Community at risk– A group of Catholics in Nghe An province submitted a petition to the government to take action against local officials who allegedly allowed pro-government thugs to beat them during a land dispute in December 2017 and then tried to cover up the event.
May 8, 2018: Nuns in Hanoi were attacked by assailants after protesting the construction of a house on contested grounds next to their convent. The nuns were physically assaulted; police present did not intervene to stop the attack.
May 9, 2018: Bui Hieu Vo was sentenced to four and a half years in prison under Article 88 (“propaganda against the state”) of the 1999 Criminal Code for Facebook posts deemed to have “distorted the political situation” and “incited public disorder.”
May 9, 2018: Former university employee Nguyen Duy Son was arrested in Thanh Hoa province on charges of “abusing democratic freedoms” (Article 331 of the 2015 Criminal Code) for his online postings, which authorities claimed “distort, defame, and discredit leaders of the Party, State, and leaders of Thanh Hoa province.”
May 11, 2018: Several relatives of jailed members of the Brotherhood for Democracy were prohibited from meeting with foreign diplomats.
May 14, 2018: Father Joseph Dinh Huu Thoai was barred from leaving Vietnam for a trip to visit family and friends in the US. Authorities did not give him a clear reason for the decision; Father Thoai has been involved in human rights activism in Vietnam.
May 16, 2018: Labor rights activist and former political prisoner Do Thi Minh Hanh was blocked from leaving Vietnam to travel to Germany to visit her mother after previously receiving permission for the trip.
May 15, 2018: Several members of the US Congress joined together to pen a letter to the Vietnamese Prime Minister, calling on Vietnam to release its political prisoners. The letter specifically brought attention to the cases of imprisoned human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai and other imprisoned members of the group he founded, the Brotherhood for Democracy. Read the full letter, here.
May 17, 2018: The US State Department hosted its Human Rights Dialogue with Vietnam. According to its press release, topics included in the dialogue were “human rights issues, including the importance of continued progress on legal reform efforts, rule of law, freedom of expression and assembly, religious freedom, labor rights, rights of vulnerable populations, multilateral cooperation, as well as individual cases of concern.”
May 24, 2018: A Vietnamese Court in An Giang province denied six Hoa Hao Buddhists’ appeals of their February 2018 sentences. The six, Bui Van Trung, Bui Van Tham, Le Thi Hong Hanh, Nguyen Hoang Nam, Bui Thi Bich Tuyen, and Le Thi Hen, were sentenced to prison terms ranging from a two-year suspended sentence to six years in prison for disturbing public order; however, many believe that their case is one of religious persecution.
May 27, 2018: Pro-democracy activist Nguyen Trung Linh was detained in Hanoi following his attempt to rally peaceful protests in response to maritime sovereignty disputes with China.
May 30, 2018: Dissident folk singer Mai Khoi won the Vaclav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent.
June 4, 2018: Three Brotherhood for Democracy members – Nguyen Trung Ton, Truong Minh Duc, and Pham Van Troi – as well as religious freedom activist Nguyen Bac Truyen, had their appeals of their April 2018 sentences denied.
June 5, 2018: Tran Thi Nga was finally able to speak with her family. Her family believes her communications had been limited in recent months because she has maintained her innocence while imprisoned.
June 5, 2018: More than twenty community members in Hanoi protested evictions from their homes as authorities planned to move ahead with construction of a new park and parking lot.
June 7, 2018: Germany confirmed that human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai and activist Le Thu Ha arrived in the country after being released from prison and immediately forced into exile. They arrived along with Vu Minh Khanh, Dai’s wife, and had been sentenced to 15 and nine years in prison, respectively, in April 2018.
June 10, 2018: Protesters decried the draft cyber security law and draft legislation on special economic zones in mass demonstrations across several large Vietnamese cities. Some protesters were arrested or met with violence.
June 10, 2018: American graduate student Will Nguyen was arrested in protests in Vietnam (see above); he was later charged with “disturbing public order.”
June 11, 2018: Activist Father Joseph Nguyen Duy Tan was barred from leaving Vietnam to travel to Malaysia with a group of other priests.
June 12, 2018: Vietnam’s National Assembly passed its draft cyber security law, despite criticism from human rights groups, nationwide protests, and calls from international governments to delay the vote.
Mid-June 2018: Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh was announced as one of the winners of the Committee to Protect Journalists’s International Press Freedom Awards.
June 12, 2018: Authorities arrested Nguyen Van Quang of Thanh Hoa province, charging him under Article 117 of the 2015 Criminal Code (“making, storing, spreading information, materials, items for the purpose of opposing the State of Socialist Republic of Vietnam”) for Facebook postings encouraging people to protest.
June 16, 2018: Activist Do Cuong Dong was charged with “disturbing public order” by the police of Tu Son commune, who concluded their investigation.
June 19, 2018: Catholic priest Father Nguyen Duy Tan protested in front of a prison north of Ho Chi Minh City, demanding the release of one of his parishioners. The prisoner, a mother of five, was detained after protesting in nationwide demonstrations against legislation in June.
June 21, 2018: Nguyen Van Tuc’s wife visited him in prison and reported he is in poor health, with graying hair and difficulties eating and sleeping from his heart disease.
June 22, 2018: Religious activist Hua Phi was beaten by police and plainclothes agents in his home, just hours after receiving a summons from the local authorities.
June 22, 2018: Activist at risk– Plainclothes agents attacked former political prisoner Truong Van Kim, assaulting him from their motorbikes while he was driving.
June 22, 2018: Human Rights Foundation submitted an individual complaint to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention regarding the case of pro-democracy and social activist Tran Thi Xuan.
June 25, 2018: A delegation of the European Union and German Embassy in Vietnam visited Tran Huynh Duy Thuc for an hour in Prison No. 6, Nghe An province. The delegation asked about Thuc’s wishes, and he reiterated that he would not want to live abroad, and that he wanted to stay in Vietnam to serve his country, thus ruling out the possibility of him accepting to be exiled in exchange for an early release.
June 25, 2018: Female activist Cao Hoang Tram Anh was kidnapped and tortured by a group of men; she had participated in recent national protests against the new cyber security law and a draft law on special economic zones and had also posted social commentary on Facebook.
Late June 2018: Undercover police agents attacked the residence of labor activist and former political prisoner Do Thi Minh Hanh, throwing rocks and a homemade explosive at the home.
June 26, 2018: Two former political prisoners were blocked from meeting with activists in Ho Chi Minh City to commemorate the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.
Late June/Early July, 2018: Authorities transferred political prisoner Hoang Duc Binh to a prison far from home, and his family was not notified in advance of the move. Binh was moved to An Diem prison, Quang Nam province, in central Vietnam, over 500 km from his home province of Nghe An.
Late June/Early July, 2018: Authorities transferred political prisoner Truong Minh Duc to a prison far from home, and his family was not notified in advance of the move. Duc was transferred from detention center B14 in Hanoi to prison No. 6 in Thanh Chuong, Nghe An province.
Late June/Early July 2018: Pham Van Troi was transferred from B14 detention center in Hanoi to Sao prison camp.
Early and Mid-July 2018: Imprisoned blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh (Mother Mushroom) was once again on a hunger strike, protesting prison conditions.
July 2, 2018: A man set himself on fire in Hanoi after a court’s decision; witnesses say he suffered severe injuries, and he was reported to be in critical condition.
July 3, 2018: Unknown attackers launched bricks and toxic gas into activist Do Thi Minh Hanh’s private family residence, where she was staying with her father. Police have been unresponsive, with some believing they are directly involved in the recent string of attacks against Hanh.
July 4, 2018: A screening of a documentary in Thailand about Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh’s (Mother Mushroom’s) family was cancelled after local authorities received a request from the Vietnamese embassy to cancel the event.
July 5, 2018: Vietnamese blogger and journalist Le Anh Hung was arrested in Hanoi and charged with “abusing democratic freedoms” under Article 331 of the 2015 Criminal Code for posting a letter critical of the government and its proposed law on special economic zones.
July 6, 2018: Plainclothes agents broke activist Tran Van Chuc’s hand and caused him serious injury after storming into his home in retaliation for his participation in June 10 protests.
July 7, 2018: US citizen Michael Phuong Nguyen was detained while on vacation in Vietnam, and the circumstances around the detention were unclear.
July 10, 2018: An appeals court in Hanoi denied the appeals of three members of the National Movement to Revive Vietnam: Vu Quang Thuan, Nguyen Van Dien, and Tran Hoang Phuc, upholding their eight, six and a half, and six year sentences. Family members were not allowed to attend the appeal trial, and the court still refused to show the videos in question; the videos were also blocked at the first trial in January.
Mid-July 2018: After a visit, Hoang Duc Binh’s brother reported that the imprisoned environmental and labor activist is facing extremely difficult conditions in prison.
Date Unknown: Pro-democracy activist Nguyen Trung Linh was charged with “making, storing, spreading information, materials, items for the purpose of opposing the State of Socialist Republic of Vietnam,” under Article 117 of the 2015 Criminal Code after being detained in late May 2018.
Mid-July 2018: Authorities transferred female activist and political prisoner Tran Thi Xuan from the Ha Tinh province police detention center to prison no. 5, Thanh Hoa province.
Mid-July 2018: Authorities transferred Brotherhood for Democracy member Pastor Nguyen Trung Ton from the B14 detention center in Hanoi to Dak Trung prison camp in Dak Lak province, about 1,000 km from his home.
Mid-July 2018: Authorities transferred religious freedom activist Nguyen Bac Truyen. Truyen was moved from the B14 detention center in Hanoi to An Diem prison camp in Quang Nam province, over 800 km from his family.
Mid-July 2018: Several organizations sent comments and recommendations to the UN ahead of Vietnam’s Universal Periodic Review in January 2019. Read some of the comments, here.
Late July 2018: The online component of the popular Vietnamese publication Tuổi Trẻ announced it would stop publishing and obey a three-month restriction and a fine from Vietnamese authorities, which were imposed after the publication allegedly allowed posting of inaccurate content in regards to the state.
July 20, 2018: American graduate student Will Nguyen was tried and convicted for participating in a June 10 protest but was ordered to be immediately deported from Vietnam.
July 21, 2018: Female activist Le My Hanh was forced out of Hue after police came to her apartment and told her that she was to be exiled from the city due to a business matter. Many believe, though, that this is a reprisal for her activism.
July 23, 2018: Imprisoned blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, Mother Mushroom, ended her hunger strike after sixteen days. From July 6-July 23, Quynh was striking against inhuman prison conditions. She ended her strike after a visit from a US embassy representative.
July 27, 2018: Police detained activist blogger and member of the Brotherhood for Democracy Bui Quang Thuan and questioned him for several hours.
July 27, 2018: Le Dinh Luong’s lawyer, Ha Huy Son, announced that Luong’s trial, which was previously set for July 30, had been postponed; reasons were unclear, however Luong’s other lawyer, Dang Dinh Manh, was travelling outside of Vietnam at the time. A new trial date has not been announced.
July 28, 2018: Huynh Thi Ut, mother of imprisoned student activist Tran Hoang Phuc , wrote a letter to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights with details about Phuc’s conditions in prison and to thank the Office for its support of Phuc’s case, noting that Phuc had not been given supplies to write letters from prison, nor was he being treated for his hepatitis C.
Late July 2018: Authorities harassed children attempting to attend a Buddhist Youth Movement summer camp in Hue. Police threatened parents and children to prevent their participation in the camp and prohibited children from arriving by interfering with buses.
July 30, 2018: Vietnam jailed fifteen more people in connection with nationwide protests that occurred in June 2018 over proposed legislation on special economic zones and cybersecurity. The fifteen were sentenced by a court in Bien Hoa city to periods ranging from eight to up to 18 months in prison for participating in the protests. Others were given probationary periods. Female prisoners who have sought to appeal their sentences have been threatened against doing so.
August 2, 2018: Hua Hoang Anh, a farmer from Kien Giang province, was found dead in custody after he was brought in for questioning regarding his participation in the nationwide June 10 protests. Police announced his death as a suicide, but many questioned this, as Anh had sustained injuries on his neck and head.
August 3, 2018: Political prisoners Nguyen Van Dien and Vu Quang Thuan were transferred to new prison facilities. Dien was transferred to Prison no. 5 in Thanh Hoa province from Hanoi Police Detention Center No. 1, 400 km from his family, and Thuan was transferred from Hanoi Police Detention Center No. 1 to Ba Sao prison in Ha Nam province.
August 5, 2018: A Catholic church in Nghe An province screened a documentary about imprisoned blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh (Mother Mushroom) and her family. The event in drew a crowd of 1,000.
August 6, 2018: Pro-democracy activist Vu Van Hung was transferred to a new prison. He was moved to Prison No. 3 in Nghe An province, about 300 km away from where his wife lives.
August 8, 2018: A rowdy group surrounded blogger and No-U FC member Nguyen Lan Thang’s home, insisting Thang speak with them about his activism, but he was not home at the time. Police were informed but did not investigate at the scene. The group eventually dispersed, but vowed to return.
August 9, 2018: Female activist blogger and co-founder of Vietnamese Women for Human Rights, Huynh Thuc Vy, was detained for 15 hours. Police came to her home in Dak Lak province to confiscate items and bring her in for questioning her after Vy had ignored previous summons. Authorities placed her under investigation and a travel ban for allegedly defacing the Vietnamese flag, a charge which carries up to three years in prison.
August 10, 2018: Land rights activist Tran Thi Thuy was released from prison after completing her eight-year sentence. She taken to her hometown in Dong Thap province.
August 14, 2018: Tran Huynh Duy Thuc started a hunger strike in prison. The reason for the hunger strike is that the authorities had been pressing him to admit guilt in order to receive clemency, which Thuc refuses to do.
August 15, 2018: Dissident writer Pham Doan Trang was among a group of activists and community members interrogated and beaten after attending a music show in Ho Chi Minh City. She suffered from a concussion of the brain and had to be hospitalized because of the injuries. Over one week the show, Pham Doan Trang remained in serious condition.
August 15, 2018: Authorities only reduced Nguyen Viet Dung’s sentence by one-year during his appeal trial in Nghe An. There was no lawyer present to defend him.
August 15-27, 2018: Police kidnapped and held former political prisoner Nguyen An for twelve days, refusing to give his family information about his location. He was imprisoned from 1979-1983 and had participated in June 2018’s widespread national protests.
August 16, 2018: Political activist Le Dinh Luong was tried in Nghe An province and sentenced to an astounding 20 years in prison.
August 16, 2018: After visiting him in his new prison, An Phuoc prison camp, Tran Hoang Phuc’s mother feared that the young activist is facing unsafe prison conditions. He asked his mother for items for “detoxification,” and she reported that his behavior has been strange recently. The prison camp is notorious for its poor health conditions, which some have implicated in the deaths of prisoners after their release.
Mid-August 2018: Imprisoned land and labor rights activist Tran Thi Nga was facing unsafe conditions in prison. Her cellmate had been physically attacking her and making death threats.
August 20, 2018: In response to Tran Thi Nga facing unsafe conditions in prison, including beatings and death threats, her husband, Phan Van Phong, sent an appeal to the prison in Gia Trung. Phong wrote in his letter that the actions against Nga are in violation of the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT), which Vietnam has ratified.
August 24, 2018: Hoang Tuan Long, a restaurant owner, died after being in police custody. His family received competing explanations as to his cause of death and claim he was healthy before being detained. Police agents also later interrupted his funeral.
Late August 2018: The Committee to Protect Journalists reported that imprisoned journalist Nguyen Van Hoa was beaten and forced into giving testimony used against environmental activist Le Dinh Luong in court. Hoa later recanted on the witness stand, saying the statements were made under duress of the assault. There was also a report that imprisoned founder of the Vietnam Republic Party, Nguyen Viet Dung, was coerced into giving false testimony as well, which he also later recanted, separately from Hoa.
Late August 2018: In just the two months of July and August 2018, Vietnam imprisoned 40 people for their connections to the nationwide protest on June 10, 2018 over proposed laws on special economic zones and cyber security. There were reports of some violent protest methods used, but these reports remain largely unconfirmed by independent media, and the majority of all protests were peaceful.
August 30, 2018: Police arrested engineer Nguyen Ngoc Anh in Ben Tre province. He was charged with “making, storing, spreading information, materials, items for the purpose of opposing the State of Socialist Republic of Vietnam,” under Article 117 of the 2015 Criminal Code, for reportedly posting items on Facebook and making videos critical of the government’s handling of human rights, corruption, and maritime sovereignty issues.
August 30-31, 2018: Police held and interrogated blogger and prominent Facebook user Ngo Thanh Tu for over 24 hours, using force against him which he claimed amounted to torture.
Early September 2018: Police in Hanoi were also ordered to break up large social gatherings and protests ahead of National Day on September 2, in anticipation of public demonstrations, and detained numerous activists, some of whom remained detained and arrested with formal charges.
September 1, 2018: Two men were arrested in Can Tho province. Doanh Khanh Vinh Quang and Bui Manh Dong were arrested for their Facebook postings criticizing the government and calling for protests.
September 1, 2018: Đỗ Thế Hoá (Facebooker Bang Lĩnh), member of constitutional rights group, was arrested.
September 2, 2018: Facebook users Xuan Hong and Pham Vu Phong were allegedly detained in Ho Chi Minh City.
September 3, 2018: Police violently dispersed protesters gathered with the aim to release 31 demonstrators who were detained after a protest against a pollution-producing waste management plant that recently resumed operations, despite previous pledges to relocate.
September 4, 2018: Blogger and active Facebook user Ngo Van Dung was taken into custody. His situation remained unclear, and many fear he was formally arrested. He was still missing as of September 24.
September 4, 2018: Online activist Huynh Truong Ca was arrested and later possibly charged with “making, storing, spreading information, materials, items for the purpose of opposing the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam” under Article 117 of the 2015 Penal Code.
September 4, 2018: Tran Huu Dao, a teacher, was kidnapped and assaulted, his phone destroyed. He had been vocal about human rights issues and believed he was kidnapped by plainclothes police.
September 6, 2018: Undercover police agents attacked a relative of Michael Nguyen, a US citizen of Vietnamese descent, after she visited Nguyen in detention.
September 9, 2018: Imprisoned blogger and entrepreneur Tran Huynh Duy Thuc remained on hunger strike after almost one month. On September 8, Thuc’s family issued this letter requesting that the prison authorities inform the family about Thuc’s current condition, as well as allow Thuc to make a phone call home.
September 9, 2018: Former political prisoner and land rights activist Truong Van Kim was once again attacked by plainclothes police, who beat him while he was in transit between his farm and home. He had to be hospitalized afterwards.
September 9, 2018: FIDH announced that Vietnam had denied entry of its Secretary General, Debbie Stothard, into the country. She was an invited participant of the World Economic Forum on ASEAN in Hanoi from September 11-13.
September 10, 2018: Amnesty International’s Senior Director of Global Operations, Minar Pimple, was denied entry into Vietnam to speak at the World Economic Forum.
September 12, 2018: Pro-democracy activist Nguyen Trung Truc was sentenced to 12 years in prison in Quang Binh province.
September 14, 2018: Authorities denied Brotherhood for Democracy member Nguyen Van Tuc’s appeal of his 13-year sentence. Tuc’s wife said that he saw the trial as an opportunity to voice his continued support for peaceful activism, and she noted that his health situation has been more stable recently.
September 15, 2018: The 90 year-old Venerable Thich Quang Do, the Patriarch of the banned Unified Buddhist Church of Viet Nam (UBCV), was forced to leave the monastery where he had been confined to house arrest since October 2003. A superior monk, Thích Thanh Minh, initiated the exit, saying that Thich Quang Do had brought problems upon the monastery, likely referring to his human rights, democracy, and religious freedom advocacy.
Mid-September 2018: Environmental activist Hoang Duc Binh was suffering from ear pain in prison, he told his brother at a visit. He said the pain stems from his assault when he was arrested in May 2017.
September 16, 2018: Imprisoned blogger and entrepreneur Tran Huynh Duy Thuc ended his hunger strike after 34 days, after a visit from family.
September 17, 2018: Land rights activist and citizen journalist Do Cong Duong was tried and sentenced to four years in prison, alongside three others.
September 17, 2018: Thirty-two members of the European Parliament sent a letter to top EU officials asking them to demand human rights improvements in Vietnam before voting on the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement.
September 18, 2018: Dr. Nguyen Quang A, a leading voice in Vietnam’s pro-democracy movement, was barred from leaving the country to travel to Australia. In a separate trip, planned for early October, he hoped to travel to Brussels, to attend an EU hearing about human rights. He was stopped, searched, and questioned by security officers, and held for six hours total — even though his destination for this trip was not related to the EU hearing.
September 19, 2018: Former teacher Dao Quang Thuc was tried in Hoa Binh province and sentenced to 14 years in prison under Article 79 of the 1999 Criminal Code for subversion.
September 20, 2018: Bui Thi Re, wife of political prisoner Nguyen Van Tuc, and their son, visited Tuc in Thai Binh detention center. They reported that Nguyen Van Tuc’s health is in bad condition after the appellate trial, with his cardiovascular disease worsening, a degenerative spine, and hemorrhoids. However, his spirit of courage remains.
September 22, 2018: Two more Facebook users were handed prison sentences in Vietnam: Nguyen Hong Nguyen and Truong Dinh Khang were under Article 331 of the 2015 Criminal Code for “abusing democratic freedoms” in separate trials in the People’s Court of Cai Rang district, Can Tho City. Nguyen was sentenced to two years in prison and Khang to one year.
September 24, 2018: Doan Khanh Vinh Quang, 42, was sentenced to two years and three months in prison. According to his indictment, Quang posted Facebook comments that were offensive to the Party and the authorities and provoked others to protest in national demonstrations in June 2018.
September 26, 2018: Nguyen Thi Tuyet Lan, the mother of imprisoned blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh (Mother Mushroom), visited her at Detention Centre 5, Yen Dinh District, Thanh Hoa province and updated Quynh’s supporters that she has not recovered from her 16-day hunger strike, which ended on July 23.
September 27, 2018: The People’s court of Thot Not district, in Can Tho province, sentenced Bui Manh Dong, 40, to two years and six months in prison. According to the indictment, Mr. Dong was accused of creating many documents with distorted content during the period of 2017 to July of 2018, which were meant to defame the Party, state, and other leaders.
September 29, 2018: Imprisoned human rights advocate Tran Thi Nga had been facing death threats from a cellmate. Some activists feared for her safety, and were concerned because Nga’s family was denied a visit with her on this day.
September 29, 2018: Police at Cao Lanh District, Dong Thap province temporarily detained five residents protesting a toll at Cai Nho river bridge, Cao Lanh District.
September 30, 2018: Phan Kim Khanh’s father visited him and said that Khanh’s health and spirit were good. However, he asked his father to contact his lawyer with an appeal issue. He wants to file a complaint towards detention center of Thai Nguyen province for refusing to transfer his appeal petition, which was written and sent right after the first instance court hearing on October 25, 2017.
Early October 2018: Ngo Van Dung (Facebooker Biển Mặn)’s family received an announcement about his temporary detention and prosecution, after his location and status were previously unknown for many days. He was prosecuted by Ho Chi Minh city’s Investigation Security Agency and Police under Article 118 of 2015 Criminal Code for “disturbing security” and is now detained at a temporary detention house by the Investigation Security Agency of the Ho Chi Minh City police.
October 2, 2018: Family received notice that female activist Hoang Thi Thu Vang (Facebook name Hoàng Thu Vang) was arrested and charged with “disruption of security” under Article 118 of the 2015 Criminal Code after she was arrested on September 3 in Ho Chi Minh City.
October 5, 2018: Family received notice that constitutional rights group (Hien Phap) member Ho Dinh Cuong (Facebook user Văn Cương Hồ) was officially been charged with “disruption of security” under Article 118 of the 2015 Criminal Code after his arrest in early September.
October 5, 2018: Luu Van Vinh was sentenced to 15 years in prison on October 5. His co-defendants were also sentenced to prison terms: Nguyen Quoc Hoan, 13 years; Nguyen Van Duc Do, 11 years; Tu Cong Nghia, 10 years; and Phan Van Trung, 8 years. The five had been detained since November 2016, and all were charged under Article 79 of the 1999 Criminal Code for subversion for their alleged affiliation with a political group.
October 5, 2018: Tran Hoang Phuc’s family visited him at An Phuoc detention center for the third time, where they spoke about his nutrition and his September letter home, which had been rejected by prison authorities.
October 7, 2018: Tran Thi Xuan’s family visited her and noted that her health was not good because of her beriberi (a lack of vitamin B1/thiamin), but she was in good spirits.
October 8, 2018: The People’s Court of District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, sentenced four young people who had participated in demonstrations against two draft laws on Special Economic Zones and Cybersecurity on June 10. They were all accused of “disturbing public order” and sentenced from suspended sentences up to three years in prison.
October 10, 2018: Can Tho province’s police arrested Le Minh The, 53, when he was in his private house. He was prosecuted for “abusing democratic freedoms,” for his online postings.
October 11, 2018: After six years in prison, political prisoner Dinh Nguyen Kha was released, following the completion of his sentence. In prison, he was denied medical care and often participated in collective hunger strikes.
October 11, 2018: Lawyer Nguyen Van Mieng was able to meet Le Anh Hung in prison. Lawyer Mieng said that Hung was in good health and spirit. On September 12, Hung’s mother, Mrs. Niem was also able to see him and also said that he looks thinner but his spirit has remained strong. His investigation period was extended for two more months.
October 12, 2018: The People’s Court of Bac Ninh province sentenced citizen journalist Do Cong Duong to another five years in prison on charges of “abusing democratic freedoms” under Article 331 of the 2015 Criminal Code; he was sentenced to four years on separate charges in September.
March 8: International Women’s Day
April 6: Anniversary of Formosa environmental disaster in Central Vietnam
May 3: World Press Freedom Day
May 11: Vietnam Human Rights Day
September 2: Vietnam National Day (independence day; prisoners are sometimes granted amnesty on this day)
December 10: Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights