Vietnam Free Expression Newsletter No. 27/2017 – Week of August 28-September 3

Greetings from The 88 Project! We are bringing you news, analysis, and actions regarding human rights and civil society in Vietnam during the week of August 28-September 3. Another activist with ties to the Brotherhood for Democracy, Nguyen Van Tuc, has been arrested under Article 79, the sixth in a matter of weeks. There is news about Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh – Me Nam after her mother’s visit on August 28.  Le Thanh Tung and Tran Anh Kim have been transferred to another prison; their families found out only when attempting to visit. A leaked e-mail shows that Cambodia plans to return 29 Montagnard refugees to Vietnam, denying their asylum applications. If you haven’t already, please take action for Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh and for Nguyen Bac Truyen, an activist who is also part of the Brotherhood for Democracy, who was arrested July 30 and has not been seen since then.

Read the full newsletter here.

And please subscribe!


Prisoners of Conscience

Nguyen Van Tuc, a former prisoner of conscience and a member of the Brotherhood for Democracy, was arrested under Article 79 on September 1State-owned media has confirmed the arrest. He had previously served four years in prison under Article 88 for “propaganda against the state,” from 2008 to 2012. He is at least the sixth member of the Brotherhood for Democracy, a group co-founded by lawyer and political prisoner Nguyen Van Dai, to be arrested in recent weeks.
Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh’s mother visited her on August 28 but was only allowed to see Quynh for a brief 15 minutes. They had to talk loudly through a thick glass screen with small holes in order to hear each other, under the close supervision of prison staff, who followed the conversation from beginning to end. Quynh’s fingers are still curled up. As we reported in our newsletter No. 22/2017, Quynh has been in poor health. Quynh was sick, and since then, her fingers have been curled up and cramped often. The prison authorities did not provide her with enough medication for her illness, nor do they allow the family to send her medical supplies. Quynh does not have access to newspapers or any other reading materials.

Political prisoners Tran Anh Kim and Le Thanh Tung have been moved to another prison. Their families were not informed of this transfer. Authorities often move prisoners and withhold that information, making it harder for families to stay in touch with their loved ones, receive news of them, and send supplies. Kim is serving a 13 year sentence, and Tung, a 12 year sentence, for planning to establish a pro-democracy organization.

Internet Freedom
Global Voice’s Netizen Report this week highlighted Vietnam’s renewed calls for stricter Internet security, which many fear will target already vulnerable bloggers and activists. Vietnam is working on a draft Law of Cybersecurity, which claims to crack down on “illegal Internet information” – “information on cyberspace that incites any mass gatherings that disturb security and order, and anti government activities on cyberspace.”
Refugees & Asylum Seekers
A leaked email shows that Cambodia plans to return nearly all of the remaining Montagnard asylum-seekers to Vietnam, despite U.N. attempts to find a third country for relocation. Twenty-nine of the 36 refugees who are currently undergoing the asylum process in Cambodia will be deported. International observers have scrutinized Cambodia’s process for too heavily considering the preferences of Vietnam and coercing refugees to return home. Over 200 Montagnards have sought asylum in Cambodia since 2015, claiming religious persecution and discrimination in Vietnam.


Vietnam’s Facebook dissidents test the limits of Communist state: “But dozens of activists still post critical comment every day. Several have more than 100,000 followers and at least one has over 400,000 – more than double that for the government’s own Facebook page and nearly a 10th the size of the Communist Party’s national membership.”

The band plays on for one-time Vietnamese political prisoner: “With Vietnamese totalitarianism becoming more lax, songs previously shunned as yellow were rebranded as “pre-war” music, to be celebrated as cultural artefacts. But Loc’s status as a former political prisoner continues to haunt him and his bandmates. One of them died homeless in 2004, while another gave up singing and lives anonymously in Hanoi.”

Asia’s Five Most Corrupt Countries: No. 2 is Vietnam. “Vietnamese view corruption as endemic. Of all 16 countries surveyed, people in Vietnam (and Malaysia) were the most negative about the situation in their country. About 60% felt their government is doing a poor job of combatting corruption.”

Vietnam President Appears in Public for First Time in More Than a Month: “Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang appeared in public for the first time in more than a month on Monday, ending an absence from the political scene that triggered online speculation about his health and position.”


Followers of political prisoner Tran Huynh Duy Thuc have started a petition calling for free elections in Vietnam at (keep scrolling down for the English version of the petition). The petition states: “VietNam is going against the development trend of the world. Freedom is restricted, liberal views are discouraged and human rights are disregarded severely. One of the most obvious reasons preventing us from choosing talented persons to lead and to develop the country seriously is the lack of free and fair elections. Therefore, giving Vietnamese people a chance for free elections and self-determination rights will open a new bright era for the country.”
Thuc-Followers is an online community of thousands Vietnamese who agree with and follow Tran Huynh Duy Thuc’s vision for a peaceful political change in Vietnam.


Please take Amnesty International’s Urgent Action for Nguyen Bac Truyen, whose location has been unknown since he was reported arrested over one month ago.
Please also take Amnesty International’s Urgent Action for Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh to call on the Vietnamese authorities to ensure that she has access to adequate medical care.

© 2017 The 88 Project