Vietnam Free Expression Newsletter No. 39/2017 – Week of November 20-26
Greetings! The 88 Project was founded five years ago, on November 24, 2012. Please read our Letter of appeal and support us in our work.
Onto the news, analysis, and actions regarding human rights and civil society in Vietnam during the week of November 20-26. Mother Mushroom’s appeal trial is set for November 30. She has lost one of her lawyers, Vo An Don, after he was disbarred just days before the trial. Authorities have announced that video bloggers Vu Quang Thuan and Nguyen Van Dien will be prosecuted under Article 88, facing up to 12 years in prison. Activists were harassed after a meeting with EU delegates this week, mirroring an incident last week in which three activists were detained also following a meeting with EU representatives. Read two eye-opening pieces, one investigating the different types of blogging in Vietnam, and one outlining labor abuses of female workers at a Samsung plant, in the analysis section. We remember blogger and entrepreneur Tran Huynh Duy Thuc as his birthday, November 29, is approaching. Please take action for Mother Mushroom ahead of her appeal trial.
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HUMAN RIGHTS & CIVIL SOCIETY
NEWS & ANALYSIS
Blogging Three Ways in Vietnam’s Political Blogosphere: “The existence of different kinds of blog groups reveals the disingenuous policy of Vietnamese officials in managing the blogosphere. On the one hand, the CPV refuses to recognize blogs as a journalistic activity and continues to crack down on activist bloggers. On the other hand, blogs have been used by government officials to influence public opinion, expose political scandals and publicize sensationalist news. On the surface, the three kinds of blogging activities in Vietnam illustrate the beginning of online freedom of expression where bloggers can express their political viewpoints for or against the authorities. However, the rise of pro-CPV and anonymous bloggers — who seem to have had their safety guaranteed in contrast to the risks facing activist bloggers — proves that this kind of freedom is limited. Instead, online freedom has been distorted and used by Vietnamese leaders for their own political purposes. The politics of blogging is particularly risky for known activist bloggers who criticize the CPV.”
Stories of Women Workers in Vietnam’s Electronics Industry: “Female workers reported exhausting working conditions include alternating day and night shifts for periods of 4 days; standing for the entire 9 – 12-hour shift; and high noise levels regularly exceeding Vietnamese legal limits (MOH, 2016) (MONRE, 2010). Pregnant workers stand for the entire shift but are permitted to take breaks. However, most of them try to not take breaks because if Samsung thinks they are taking too much time off, the company deducts money from their wages. Time is controlled to such an extent that workers have to request ‘toilet cards’ to be able to go to the bathroom in order to maximize time on the production line.”
Vietnam – Deputy PM’s Flip-Flopped Position Signaled Government Will Take Tough Measures on Cybersecurity Law?: “Deputy PM Dam’s recent defense of the government’s use of technical measures to censor and control the Internet and social media – to some people – adds worries that Vietnam would – by all means – pass the proposed Cybersecurity Draft Law. To defend the government’s legitimacy and absolute power, the control over the media had never slipped off the Party’s grips. Deputy PM Dam’s stand on the issue of Cybersecurity could give glimpses of the Party’s unanimity on maintaining that control by expanding and strengthening Internet censorship in the country, regardless of how many factions within the Politburo we may think there are.”
November 29 is Tran Huynh Duy Thuc‘s birthday. It is the ninth birthday he has spent in prison since his arrest in May 2009. An entrepreneur and social and political blogger, he was sentenced to sixteen years in prison on January 20, 2010 — one of the longest sentences for a current prisoner of conscience in Vietnam. In 2014, we released a video about Thuc with a message from his father in honor of his birthday. Thuc’s family and many followers remain committed to his release, despite pressure from authorities.
Take PEN International’s action for Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh (Me Nam), calling for her immediate release ahead of her appeal trial on November 30.
© 2017 The 88 Project