FVPoC | 07.03.2017
Along with the proliferation of the global internet network, forms of access and space of expression of Vietnam’s social issues have been expanded. It is increasingly difficult for the authoritarian communist government to conceal information concerning shortcomings, corruption, interest groups, etc. To maintain the one-party regime, the Vietnamese communist party, on one hand, strictly punishes any journalists, any presses posting news that is disadvantageous for them, on the other hand, attacks, by any possible means and mechanisms, participants of the social network Facebook who lead public opinions not to follow the will of the party.
First of all, the government attacks members of social networks, including dissidents, human rights defenders, civilians who are victims of shortcomings from the state’s management policies. The system of network police and local police indentify “resistant objects” then implements harassment methods. The methods include: detentions and summons to the police stations, pressure on their families, house search, the facto under house arrest (for the objects not to leave the house), administrative procedures difficulties, limited freedom of movement, slandering, defamation, verbal or behavioral humiliation, etc. Once police aim to harass some person, they have numerous manners to harm activities of the person they are focusing on.
When harassment methods are insufficient to upset human rights defenders, they use more brutal methods. One method is violence. They beat activists in police stations, on streets or at their houses. Perpetrators are often in plainclothes agents while uniformed police use their blows in buildings. The violent methods also include causing traffic accidents targeting activists.
Almost beaten people expressed their confidence to continue their ways to fight for freedom, justice that they choose, so next method used by the authoritarian regime is arbitrary detentions and arrest. The Penal Code 1999 with controversial articles such as Articles 79, 88, 258, 257, 245 were generated to imprison people who are harmful for the party’s rule. Those who advocate political pluralism and multi-party regime, forming political parties to directly challenge the party’s policical monopoly shall be convicted with Article 79 “Carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration”. Those who use media systematically to propagate information, opinion in contrary with the state’s policies shall be convicted of Article 88 “Conducting propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam”. Those who express their own opinion on social networks to make people no longer believe in the party shall be convicted of Article 258 “Abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State, the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and/or citizens”. Article 257 “Resisting persons in the performance of their official duties” shall be imposed on those who dare to resist suppressive force.
Detetion is a method that isolates dissidents from the society. So cases in which activists were forced to be in mental hospitals (such as Le Anh Hung, Nguyen Trung Linh), rehabilitation centers (such as Bui Thi Minh Hang), or under house arrest (such as Buddhist monk Thich Quang Do, Catholic priest Phan Van Loi) all are manners invading human dignity most severely. Encouraging strugglers, political dissidents to migrate or seek for alyssum (maybe directly from prison) in foreign countries is one among these manners of isolation.
More brutally, harassment, beatings and detentions subtly have factors of economic sabotage, such as creating obstacles in jobs, pressuring employers to fire activists, demanding customers not to buy their products, confiscing production tools used by human rights activists, obstructing financial support, etc. Especially, acts of robbery and destruction of property of dissidents in cheeky ways have been prevailed increasingly.
The Vietnamese government is almost accomplishing the engine for the strategy of harassment-beating-detention. It has been deploying public security forces in plainclothes and thugs to assault activists nationwide. This is a strategy to ensure that no significant opposition forces can survive in Vietnam to compete with the ruling communist party. The statistical figures of three recent years show this fact.
Different from human rights report 2014 (Vietnam: Member of the United Nations Human Rights Council and Human Rights Violation 2014), this report by the Former Vietnamese Prisons of Conscience focuses on the relationship between the government and dissidents, human rights defenders. The figures in this statistics do not fully reflect the relationship, were collected via media systems inside and outside the country and the network of the Former Vietnamese Prisons of Conscience.
The chart comparing harassment-violence-arrest of the three years show that violent victims increased remarkably (65-157-202) and the brutality also increased, while arrests decreased from 46 (2014) to 9 and 11 in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
The arrow line of the two parameters of beating and detainment shows that the situation of human rights violation in 2017 would be even worse with a series of bloody beatings and detainments of three activists (Nguyen Van Hoa, Nguyen Van Oai and Tran Thi Nga) in the first two month of this 2017.
The Former Vietnamese Prisons of Conscience appeal to the Vietnamese government having to:
- Terminate using violence to attack dissidents;
- Respect dignity and human rights of the people when they use their rights, especially the right to peaceful expression in public places;
- Recognize and facilitate civil society organizations to develop independently;
- Release unconditionally all of 66 prisoners of conscience who are still detained.
Dr.Nguyễn Đan Quế, Catholic Priest Phan Văn Lợi, Buddhist Venerable Thích Không Tánh,
Phạm Bá Hải (MBE), Lawyer Lê Công Định, Phạm Chí Dũng (PhD.),
Engineer Lê Thăng Long, Engineer Phạm Văn Trội.
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