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Authorities free last of three bloggers held for criticising China relations

Published on Monday 14 September 2009. Updated on Friday 22 October 2010.
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Reporters Without Borders welcomes the release of blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh on 12 September, one week after the release of fellow bloggers Bui Thanh Hieu and Pham Doan Trang. The authorities said her case was not important enough to prosecute, but they pressured her into closing her blog (http://menam0.multiply.com/journal/item/156/156).

While pleased that Quynh, 30, the mother of a three-year-old girl, has been freed, Reporters Without Borders fears that the sequence of arrests and releases during the past six weeks will deter other bloggers from expressing their views about Vietnam’s relations with China. “This policy of intimidation must stop,” the press freedom organisation said. A blogger better known by the blog name of Dieu Cay has been held since April 2008, when he was arrested after criticising China’s claim to sovereignty over the Spratly and Paracel Islands.


4th of september 2009

Another blogger arrested for writing about China

The Vietnamese authorities have arrested another blogger, Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, who follows Bui Thanh Hieu (a blogger arrested on 27 August), Pham Doan Trang (28 August), Nguyen Tien Trung (July) and Dien Cay (April 2008). She was arrested at around midnight on 1 September on charges of violating national security laws and “interfering in state interests.”

“We deplore the arrests of one blogger after another and the systematic suppression of online free speech,” Reporters Without Borders said, calling for Quynh’s immediate release. “The Vietnamese authorities are so sensitive about relations with China that one wonders what role the Chinese government is playing in this crackdown on bloggers writing about China and Vietnam.”

Quynh was arrested by a dozen officers who burst into her home as she was sleeping with her three-year-old daughter, her mother said. Another blogger, who uses the name “Sphinx,” was questioned about the case.

Quynh, who blogs under the name of “Me Nam,” made several criticisms of the ruling Communist party in entries posted in her blog (http://menam0.multiply.com/) on 26 August. She criticised a bauxite mine project that is being managed in large part by a Chinese company and she referred to Vietnam’s dispute with China over the Spratly and Paracel Islands in the South China Sea (http://menam0.multiply.com/journal/item/149/149).

The young blogger was arrested for the same reason as Bui Thanh Hieu, the blogger arrested on 27 August, and Pham Doan Trang, the online journalist arrested on 28 August, namely the Communist Party’s desired to suppress all criticism of its relations with China in the runup to the 2011 congress, at which the country’s top posts will be decided.

The Vietnamese authorities announced at the start of the year that bloggers would henceforth be restricted to blogging about personal matters. This is one of the reasons why the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is ranked 168th out of 173 countries in the latest Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

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