Vietnam cracks down on dissident bloggers

Updated On: Sep 02, 2009

A Vietnamese blogger who criticized the Communist Party's policies has been detained by police, his close friend said Monday.

Bui Thanh Hieu, 37, who writes his blog under the pen name "Wind Trader," was taken into police custody in Hanoi on Thursday.

Police seized three laptops and documents from his home in Hanoi and also searched his parents' house, the friend said.

Police declined to comment.

Hieu's postings have been critical of the Communist Party's handling of its relations with neighboring China and land disputes with the Roman Catholic Church. Hieu has also criticized a controversial bauxite mining project in Vietnam's central highlands.

The detention of Hieu came several days after one of Vietnam's most popular and boldest bloggers, Huy Duc, was fired by the Saigon Thiep Thi newspaper after the Communist Party complained about writings on his blog "Osin."

Hieu was interrogated by police repeatedly in 2008 and 2009 about his political activities, his friend said, beginning after his participation in an anti-China demonstration. In addition, police pressure on his business partner caused him to lose his job and his investment.

Hieu's detention is the latest in a string of arrests in Vietnam's latest crackdown on dissent. On Friday, journalist Doan Trang of the news website Vietnamnet was arrested. Trang had written columns criticizing Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea, a diplomatically sensitive subject.

In June, human rights lawyer and pro-democracy activist Le Cong Dinh and four others were arrested for working with "hostile forces" against the state.

The government has tightened its rules for bloggers, requiring that they must restrict their writings to personal matters.

Earlier this week, Vietnam announced that it will release more than 5,000 prisoners as part of an annual prison amnesty. However, the list does not include a Catholic priest whom US senators have campaigned to have freed, an official said on Monday.


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Vietnam bloggers under pressure, 31 August 2009, 


Vietnam police detain dissident blogger, 30 August 2009, 


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