Country Spotlight: Vietnam
Despite widespread access to the internet, Vietnamese citizens face harsh restrictions on what they are allowed to post online. For years, activists have been defying these restrictions to protest the corruption, lack of transparencey, and lack of democracy in the nation. Vietnam is a one-party state. The Communist Party of Vietnam controls thenation politically and many important sectors of the economy are state owned, although independant businesses are gaining influence. The government has agressively limited the ability of activists to use the internet effectively through a combination of arrests, DDoS attacks, and content filtering.
Bloc 8406 This is a coalition that supports democracy in Vietnam. The group's manifesto lays the goals of many pro-democracy movements, and other essays provide a broad vision for social change in vietnam. The government has cracked down on the group and has imprisoned some members.
Viet Tan This pro-democracy party is banned in Vietnam. The organization has used nonviolent methods to advocate for increased freedom of speech, the release of political prisoners, and transitioning Vietnam towards democracy. The Vietnamese government has arrested members of Viet Tan and attempted to block their wesbsite and jam their radio station. They maintain an english version of their website.
Vietnamese Communist Party Vietnam only has one political party, the Communist party. Every five years the party meets to elect new leaders and lay out a plan for the next five years of the country. The current party was inagurated in January 2011 and the prime minister, Nguyen Tan Dung was re-elected.
Timeline of Recent Activist Oppression
October 2008 Nguyen Viet Chien and Nguyen Van Hai are found guilty of “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the state” after the two journalists revealed major corruption within the government. Their expose revealde that the Vietnamese government officials were laundering foreign aid.
December 2008 The government harshly tightens restrictions on bloggers, banning all "inappropriate" topics.
January 2009 The editors of two papers which had been continuing to cover the corruption scandal are both fired due to government pressure.
October 2009 Nine pro-democracy activists are accused of being part of Bloc 8406 and are sent to prison as part of a broader crackdown on free speech.
January 2010 Four activists are imprisoned for "subversion". One of the charges was posting pro democracy articles online. Internet entrepreneur Tran Huynh Duy Thuc got the longest sentence, 14 years.