Vietnam: blogger arrested, charged for online criticising government response to COVID-19Event
- Viet Nam
- Initial Date
- Aug 10, 2021
- Event Description
Authorities in Vietnam have arrested a Facebook user for posting mild criticism of government COVID-19 policies, while a university fired a lecturer after a student shared on her comments faulting Hanoi’s pandemic response on the social media platform.
The Tien Giang People’s Procuracy announced Tuesday that it would prosecute Tran Hoang Huan, 33, on charges of making, storing and spreading or propagandizing information or documents against the state under in accordance with the Article 117 of the Penal Code, according state media.
Huan, a resident of My Tho city in the far southern province of Tien Giang, had used a Facebook account under the name Huan Tran to post content against the Vietnamese Communist Party and the state on 186 occasions.
His Facebook account remains active and many of his recent posts opposed the use of Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines, which many Vietnamese oppose because of their perceived low quality and because of longstanding animosity toward China over history and territorial issues.
Huan had earlier called on the government to provide relief to citizens by waiving electricity and water bills during the pandemic.
“The arrest and detention of Tran Hoang Huan marks yet another chapter in the grim tale of Vietnam’s crackdown on freedom of expression online,” Ming Yu Hah, the deputy regional director for campaigns at Amnesty International, told RFA.
“Huan had used his Facebook page to share information about COVID-19 vaccines, lockdowns and to call on the Vietnam government to subsidize electricity and water fees while many Vietnamese are facing economic hardships due to the pandemic. The Vietnamese authorities should listen to these calls, not repress them,” she said.
Ming Yu Hah said authorities had used Article 117 to detain Huan on “vague accusations” of causing public confusion or defaming the government so they could prevent dissent.
“Huan’s name now joins an ever-expanding list of Vietnamese activists detained merely for sharing peaceful criticism,” she said, and called for the release of Huan and other detainees.
“It is imperative that Vietnam’s leadership starts taking a radically different approach to human rights, and freedom of expression in particular,” she said.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- (Arbitrary) Arrest and Detention
- Enactment of repressive legislation and policies
- Judicial Harassment
- Rights Concerned
- Right to liberty and security
- Blogger/ Social Media Activist
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 10 August 2021, Tran Hoang Huan, blogger, was arrested and charged under a repressive law for criticising the government handling of the pandemic by a court in My Tho, Viet Nam.