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 January 15-21. Catholic activist and blogger Nguyen Van Oai will serve the rest of his five year sentence; his appeal was denied on January 15. Vu Hung, who was arrested two weeks ago, has been subjected to new charges. We remember Tran Huynh Duy Thuc on the eighth anniversary of his trial on January 20. Former political prisoner Le Quoc Quan has been evicted from his family home. Human Rights Watch released a comprehensive summary of human rights abuses in Vietnam in 2017. In the news, read about the high profile corruption trials in Vietnam, Internet controls, and the decline of press freedom in Southeast Asia. Coming up on January 25, Hoang Duc Binh and Nguyen Nam Phong face trial under Articles 330 and 331 of the 2015 Criminal Code. Please take action for Tran Huynh Duy Thuc.
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HUMAN RIGHTS & CIVIL SOCIETY
Activists are collecting funds to assist Nguyen Ngoc Gia until February 14, 2018. Please contact us if you can help.
NEWS & ANALYSIS
Vietnam Seeks Upper Hand on Dissent with Rules On Foreign Internet Services: “Legislation on normally free-wheeling foreign internet firms such as Facebook and Google, both popular among Vietnamese, extend the Communist country’s tightening of control over online dissent after initial moves over the past two years, analysts say. ‘In recent years Vietnam has witnessed a boom on the Internet and social media plays a very important role in Vietnamese citizens’ lives, and so I think that the government is aware of the importance of social media,’ said Trung Nguyen, international relations dean at Ho Chi Minh University of Social Sciences and Humanities. ‘That’s the reason why they want to establish their presence, because they want to control social media,’ he said.”
The Press Is Under Attack In Southeast Asia And It’s Only Going To Get Worse: “In addition, reporters across the region are facing years in prison over their work. In Vietnam, citizen journalist Nguyen Van Hoa was sentenced to seven years in prison for using a camera mounted on a drone to film protesters demonstrating against a toxic steel plant spill. In Myanmar, two Reuters reporters, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, face up to 14 years in prison under a colonial-era law called the Official Secrets Act. ‘Laws and legislation is abused, often by governments and fundamentalist groups, to prosecute the media and restrict freedom of expression,’ said Marte Hellema of the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development. ‘Combined with the culture of impunity across the region, it results in the repression of the freedom of press on a daily basis.'”
Please take Amnesty International’s Urgent Action for Tran Huynh Duy Thuc. The Action was originally released in 2016, but Thuc continues to suffer from poor health conditions and mistreatment in prison. Please send an appeal on his behalf.