Wave of Attacks in Vietnam to Silence Government Critics

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A wave of violent attacks on government critics is leading Vietnam into a state of lawlessness and chaos, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch.

The New York based group said a pattern of often brutal assaults on bloggers and activists was clearly intended to silence critics.


In a 65 page report, “No Country for Human Rights Activists: Assaults on Bloggers and Democracy Campaigners in Vietnam,” HRW investigated 36 incidents in which plainclothes thugs attacked rights campaigners and independent bloggers.

It said the assaults often resulted in serious injuries and that uniformed police did nothing to intervene, even when the assaults happened in front of their eyes.

“These brave activists and bloggers suffer persecution on a daily basis, yet they do not give up their cause,” said Brad Adams, the Asia director for HRW.

“International donors and trade partners with Vietnam should support their struggle by urging the Vietnamese government to stop the beatings and to hold these violent assailants accountable.”

Fractured skull

The report says that activists already risk prison for speaking out – now they have to put their physical safety in jeopardy on a daily basis merely for exercising their rights.

It says that many of the assaults occurred in broad daylight in full public view on the streets of Vietnam.

One of the cases highlighted is that of La Viet Dung, an environmental activist, who suffered a fractured skull after being hit with a brick in July 2016.

The report underlines the acquiescence and sometimes open collusion of the police in such attacks.

“In June 2016, an unknown man punched democracy campaigner Nguyen Van Thanh in the face in a cafe in Da Nang. When police arrived, instead of investigating the assault they detained Nguyen Van Thanh for several hours and questioned him about his political writings.”

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