The Vietnamese government has been arresting several pro-democracy activists and critics of the country’s government. As of now, at least 11 people have been convicted and imprisoned for simply voicing out their concerns against the country’s suppressive regime on online platforms.
It was revealed that Nguyen Quoc Duc Vuong, a Vietnamese pro-democracy activist, was taken into custody on 23rd September based on his postings on Facebook.
Vuong was arrested under article 117 of the Vietnamese penal code, and articles 173 and 74 of the country’s Criminal Procedure Code, which could potentially lead to indefinite detention and denial of any legal counsel throughout the period of police investigation.
The Vietnamese police have said that they have arrested Vuong on the grounds of “making, storing, disseminating or propagandizing information, materials, and products that aim to oppose the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.”
Based on the Human Rights Watch’s review of Vuong’s Facebook page, it was revealed that he did not post anything that amounted to crime, violence, or even anything that could be determined as “hate speech”. Nonetheless, it was revealed that Vuong was quite vocal about his views with regards to the Vietnam Communist Party, which may very well be the reason behind his current conviction.
Vuong has been an outspoken supporter of democracy and highlighted the fact that the country’s Communist Party of Vietnam was a corrupt monopoly. During one of his live streams, he said: “I am not certain that the entire state apparatus is corrupt, but I am 100 percent certain that those who have been involved in corruption are Communist Party members; Vietnam only allows one single party and does not allow any competing opposition.”
He has also spoken in favor of the change of government in Venezuela, about the land confiscation scandals in Vietnam, and also about how Vietnam held political prisoners such as Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, Phan Kim Khanh, and Nguyen Viet Dung.
The Vietnamese government’s crackdown against critics and pro-democracy activists can be attributed to the controversial cybersecurity law, launched in January 2019. This new cybersecurity law was known to be vague and broad, forcing internet companies to take down any content that the country deems unfit within 24 hours of official notice.