The Socialist Republic of Vietnam has yet again jailed three more of its citizens for criticizing the government on the social media platform Facebook.
For a long time now, Vietnam has been known for its intolerance towards criticism; the country’s leader Nguyen Phu Trong has intensified the country’s crackdown against criticism after being re-elected in 2016.
According to the latest sources from The Vietnamese News Agency, it was revealed that Vietnam has taken three people into custody for “defaming” the ruling Communist Party.
Taking this arrest into consideration, the total number of people jailed for criticizing the country on social media this month now becomes five.
Pham Van Diep was one among the aforementioned five people to get arrested; the 54-year-old activist from the northern province of Thanh Hoa was accused of spreading “distorted information defaming the Communist Party and the Vietnamese government” based on what the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) says.
The VNA further added that Diep “spread fake and baseless news about the country’s policies, which caused Facebook users and residents to misunderstand the party and the government.”
It is worth noting that Diep was previously arrested in 2016 and jailed for nearly two years on the charge of spreading anti-Vietnamese regime literature.
Much like the case of Diep, a brother and sister were also jailed in the province of Dong Nai for up to 14 years for spreading “anti-regime” posts on Facebook. It was further revealed that 12 more political prisoners are still behind bars on similar charges.
Accounts of arrests over social media posts in Vietnam are almost never-ending as a drawing teacher and a 38-year-old man was also arrested for anti-state posts and for broadcasting live video sessions, respectively.
Courts said that the 38-year-old individual’s broadcasts were encouraging “people to participate in protests during national holidays.”
Ironically, Facebook is one of the most widely used social media platforms across Vietnam for both e-commerce and expression against political conditions.
Human rights organizations such as Amnesty International have highlighted the fact that Vietnam was curbing freedom of expression and arresting citizens expressing political dissent.
“This crackdown has further exacerbated the prevailing climate of fear in Vietnam,” said the human rights groups in a joint statement this week.