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Vietnam arrests blogger as crackdown widens

Latest arrest brings total close to 50 this year

Vietnam arrests blogger as crackdown widens

Pham Viet Dao, 61, was arrested in Hanoi reporter, Ho Chi Minh City

June 14, 2013

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A prominent Vietnamese dissident blogger and former soldier has been arrested by police in Hanoi for criticizing the government, amid concern that the crackdown on political dissidents shows no sign of abating.

Pham Viet Dao, 61, is currently being held by police in the capital. The Vietnam News Agency yesterday reported that he was arrested "for abusing democratic freedom to infringe on the state’s interests, and rights and legal interests of organizations and citizens.”

Nearly 50 bloggers and activists have been jailed this year already and many more arrested.

Dao, who fought for the communists in the Vietnam War and then worked in a senior position with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, had given an interview to the BBC last Saturday in which he questioned the structure of government in Vietnam and raised questions about how Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, who is growing increasingly unpopular, survived a recent confidence vote.

He described the confidence votes as unfair and added that he had no hope for a breakthrough in the political reform process.

Dao’s arrest comes three weeks after the arrest of outspoken blogger Truong Duy Nhat. In early May, two young activists were handed sentences of six and eight years respectively for distributing leaflets critical of the government and China’s influence in the country.

Many bloggers have become increasingly outspoken over the past year as Vietnam’s economy worsens, with some claiming that government corruption played a major role in the downturn. 

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