Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is extremely concerned about the Vietnamese government’s declared intention to expel Pham Minh Hoang, an outspoken blogger who has French as well as Vietnamese nationality. RSF condemns this persecution of Hoang and urges the French authorities to give him their support.
The French consulate in Ho Chi Minh City notified Huang on 1 June that he will probably be expelled in the next few days. This sudden move is the result of President Tran Dai Quang’s decision to strip Hoang of his Vietnamese nationality.
A university lecturer who acquired French citizenship during many years in France, where he joined the Vietnamese pro-democracy party, Viet Tan, Hoang has been the target of both psychological and judicial harassment since his return to Vietnam.
His blog posts about education, the environment and the threats to Vietnamese sovereignty from China led to his being sentenced to 17 months in prison and three years of house arrest in 2011 – a sentence that was reduced thanks to support from human rights defenders and the French government. His family has also been the target of threats.
Hoang, who is deeply attached to Vietnam, has posted a “Letter from the bottom of my heart” on Facebook professing his desire to remain with his family in Vietnam and continue to work peacefully to address his country’s problems. He hopes to be backed by the international community, including the French government.
RSF is appalled by this latest Vietnamese Communist Party attempt to intimidate and silence dissidents. Hoang’s announced expulsion is unjustified and out of all proportion. The authorities must reverse this decision, which is typical of the blatant way they harass all those who raise controversial issues.
Vietnam continues to be a one-party state that clamps down on freedom of expression. Recent victims include Nguyen Van Dai, a human rights lawyer and blogger who has been held arbitrarily for more than a year on a charge of anti-state propaganda. Neither he nor his family have been told anything about the investigation to which he is being subjected or any eventual trial.
The party also sometimes resorts to waves of “preventive” arrests. Three bloggers and citizen-journalists were arrested on the eve of the Vietnamese New Year in January.
Vietnam has one of the worst scores of any country in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index, in which it is ranked 175th out of 180.
Source: Reporters Without Borders