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Published On: Mon, Aug 20th, 2012

Vietnam brings the hammer down on free speech

The Vietnamese government’s recent actions of jailing two dissident bloggers has many, including the United States concerned about the lack of free speech and of  human rights in the Southeast Asian country.

keyboard, blogging

Public domain photo/Bilboq

About two weeks ago, a high school chemistry teacher named Dinh Dang Dinh was sentenced to six years in prison on charges that he produced anti-government propaganda.

The 49-year-old Dinh was arrested last October for anti-state rhetoric, namely, Dinh questioned  the government-supported development of a Chinese-led bauxite mine in an environmentally sensitive area of the Central Highlands.

According to the Voices of America, Dinh was questioned by authorities and his laptop computer was found to have hundreds of pages of what authorities labeled “anti-state” content. The articles allegedly rejected the communist party of Vietnam and the ethics of the state’s founder, Ho Chi Minh.

The crackdown on anti-government dissidents didn’t end with Dinh. A few days later, a second blogger, Le Thanh Tung was imprisoned for writing “propaganda against the state” by a Hanoi court.

The Communist Party’s paper,  Nhan Dan newspaper said Le blogged for the banned Vietnam Freedom and Democracy Movement. On his blog, the 44-year-old Le called for pluralism, multi-party democracy and constitutional amendments in the online posts.

New York-based Human Rights Watch is called on  United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last month to publicly press Vietnam to respect freedom of expression and Internet freedom, and release the prominent Internet bloggers.

They report  that restrictions on Internet freedom have been a serious problem in Vietnam since May 2004, when the government began to firewall critical websites.

The group says at least 11 activists have been convicted and given long prison terms so far this year, with at least a further seven bloggers and activists awaiting trial.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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