Vietnam’s Imprisoned Bloggers


Though the country is seen as a trailblazer for gay rights in Asia, its government is getting increasingly Orwellian:

In the last month or so, three bloggers have been arrested for criticizing the communist government, or—as Vietnamese authorities deftly put it—”abusing democratic freedoms” by posting their opinions online. While that charge might seem like a bit of a paradox, their prospects post-arrest aren’t looking great. On May the 16th, another blogger, Dinh Nguyen Kha, was sentenced to ten years in jail for “distributing anti-State propaganda” and “deliberately causing injuries.”  …

Alongside all that intimidation, there’s also the side issue of relentless propaganda to put up with as you go about your day. Whether you’re watching TV, surfing the internet, or simply walking down the street, Vietnam’s propaganda push is ubiquitous. In the capital city of Hanoi, the government rhetoric starts at around 6:45 AM, blasted out of loudspeakers once used to warn locals about impending American airstrikes. Today, messages range from the humdrum—”Don’t forget to pay your taxes,” for example—to the deification of the government and its leaders. It’s not quite 1984, but it’s not exactly normal, either—imagine being woken up every day with lectures on socialism and warnings of “social evils” rather than building work that seems designed specifically to fuck with you.

Previous Dish on Vietnam’s mixed record on human rights here and here. The above report from Al Jazeera was produced early this year.