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Vietnam expels Catholic activist to France

After being detained, Peter Pham Minh Hoang was put on a plane to Paris without being allowed to say goodbye to his family

ucanews.com reporter, Hanoi

ucanews.com reporter, Hanoi

Published: June 26, 2017 08:37 AM GMT

Updated: June 26, 2017 08:39 AM GMT

Vietnam expels Catholic activist to France

Catholic activist Pham Minh Hoang beside a poster of new French President Emmanuel Macron in Ho Chi Minh City in a photo taken before Hoang's expulsion to France. (Photo supplied)

A Catholic activist arrived in Paris June 25 after being expelled from Vietnam because of his political views.  

Peter Pham Minh Hoang — a French-Vietnamese professor — was arrested June 23, held for a day in a detention center, and then put on a plane for France. He was not allowed to say farewell to his wife Le Thi Kieu Oanh or their daughter.

Oanh said via Facebook that the head of the French consulate in Ho Chi Minh City met with her 62-year-old husband on June 24 and gave him clothes before his flight.

Oanh said Emmanuel Ly-Batallan told her that her husband's expulsion was "unavoidable" because Hoang no longer had Vietnamese citizenship and "France must receive its citizen."

In her Facebook post, Oanh wrote that the consul-general said the French government "has no right to criticize or intervene in Vietnam's internal issues."

Hoang, an active blogger and member of the U.S.-based political party Viet Tan which works to end the communist government in Vietnam, received a copy of the decision to strip him of his citizenship 13 days before his expulsion.

Vietnam's Foreign Affairs Ministry spokeswoman, Le Thi Thu Hang, said on June 15 that Hoang "violated laws and undermined national security. The removal of his citizenship was carried out according to Vietnamese laws."

In a statement, Viet Tan said Hoang is the first Vietnamese who has had his citizenship revoked because of their political views.

"We strongly condemn the communist government of Vietnam for compelling Professor Peter Pham Minh Hoang to leave Vietnam because of his efforts to struggle for freedom and human rights," Viet Tan said.

Meanwhile, Hoang's family remains in Vietnam.

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"Hoang is an excellent husband," said Oanh, his wife. "I love him because he dedicates himself to the country. He accepts imprisonment and poverty to work for the nation," she said.

Oanh said she believes her husband will continue his struggle for democracy and human rights in Vietnam.

"I trust completely in God. God chooses us to carry His cross on our shoulders, He will open other doors for us," she said.

As a teacher, Hoang taught five different mathematics disciplines at the University of Technology in Ho Chi Minh City until his arrest in 2010 for "undermining national security" and "ruining the nation's image," through his blogging. He was imprisoned for 17 months.

Born in South Vietnam in 1955, Hoang went to study in France in 1973. After communist forces from the North took control of the South in 1975, he was not able to return to Vietnam until 2000.

The communist government controls all media and bans private media in Vietnam. Bloggers and activists use social media to voice criticism publicly and many of them have been imprisoned for anti-government activities.

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