Blogging Politics in Vietnam 2003-2015

A timeline of Vietnam's blogging movement and related political events.

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Blogger Ta Phong Tan released from jail and arrives safely in U.S

In a surprise move that may be linked to closer US-Vietnam diplomatic ties, well-known prisoner of conscience Ta Phong Tan was released from prison and exiled to the US on 20 September 2015. Tan arrived in Los Angeles to a welcome committee headed by former colleague Nguyen Van Hai (Dieu Cay)

Recently Freed Vietnamese Blogger Re-Launches Website, Dismisses ‘Quiet Life’

A prominent blogger and rights campaigner in Vietnam who served two years in prison for “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the state” has re-launched his website and vowed to continue his scrutiny of the country’s one-party communist government. Truong Duy Nhat, 51, was arrested in May 2013 and sentenced in March the following year under Article 258 of Vietnam’s penal code - a clause which rights groups say is deliberately vague and used to prosecute critics of the country’s leadership. (RFA)

Two young men arrested for creating anti-corruption Facebook fanpage

Two young men got arrested in Hai Phong city after creating a Facebook fanpage which gives advice on how to avoid traffic police.

Vietnam Foreign Affairs Ministry meets social media campaigners

"Embassy and me" is a social campaign created to report bad services and overcharging at Vietnamese embassies around the world. Launched in May 2015, the campaign succeeded in forcing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to review embassy operations and tighten controls. On July 27, representatives of the campaign met with Ministry officials to submit a report, and the Ministry promised to address the issues raised and respond within ten days.

Youth Activist Nguyen Phi Detained by Security Police

Phước, who also goes by Nguyễn Phi, is a 23-year-old rapper and organizer for the zombie movement, a group mobilizing around dissenting rap lyrics and a logo of defiance. On July 11, Phuoc and his group prepared to attend an open meetup in Saigon. Outfitted in zombie t-shirts, they made their way to the meeting location on Nguyễn Huệ Boulevard in the middle of District 1, only to unexpectedly encountered security police. Phuoc was among the group of attendees escorted into waiting police vehicles and into custody. After 48 hours in custody, five police officers took Phuoc home and raided for zombie t-shirts. In the process, authorities confiscated his computer. (New America Media)

Tree campaign generates a response

The campaign to protest the planned cutting of 6,700 trees in Hanoi not only succeeded in halting the cull, but resulted in official warnings and demotions for several top Hanoi municipal officials, with one official asked to resign.

Activist Le Quoc Quan released

U.S.-trained lawyer Le Quoc Quan, one of the most famous political dissidents in Vietnam, on June 27 completed his two-and-half imprisonment on the fabricated tax evasion charge. Mr. Quan, who is an owner of a Hanoi-headquartered consultant company, was arrested in late 2012 with accusation of tax evasion. His younger brother and one female assistant were also held. Local and foreign observers said he was targeted due to numerous articles criticizing Vietnam’s government on human rights and religious freedom violations, bad economic management and weak response to China’s aggressiveness in the East Sea.(Vietnam Right Now)

Facebooker arrested for allegedly circulating gossip about celebrities

A facebooker, arising late last year and becoming famous for her entries revealing private life of celebrities, has been “urgently arrested” and had her residence searched, the Ministry of Public Security confirmed on June 12. She is the newest case being accused of violating Article 258 of the Vietnamese Penal Code. (Vietnam Right Now)

Vietnamese province overturns ban on Facebook use amid rebuke

Officials in a province in southern Vietnam have ordered the removal of a ban on the use of certain Facebook features, which some claimed was meant to prevent violations of the law and enhance work productivity, following public protests (Tuoi Tre News)

Nguyen Van Dai detained on propaganda charge

Vietnamese police have detained one of Vietnam’s most prominent human rights campaigners, Nguyen Van Dai, as he prepared to meet European Union representatives who are in Hanoi for a human rights dialogue with the government. The Ministry of Public Security said he had been arrested for spreading propaganda against the state under article 88 of the penal code. The former political prisoner is still suffering from injuries sustained in a severe beating by masked men on December 6; an attack thought to have been ordered by the authorities. (Vietnam Right Now

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