Vietnam arrests blogger for ‘opposing the state’ after US-Vietnam human rights meeting


Vietnamese blogger and dissident Pham Doan Trang has been arrested on anti-state propaganda charges just hours after an annual US -Vietnam human rights talks, government officials said.

Ms. Trang, who has written widely on human rights and alleged police brutality, was arrested late on Tuesday in Ho Chi Minh City.

Rights groups Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have condemned the apprehension and demanded her immediate release.

The country’s public security ministry said she was detained for “making, storing, disseminating or propagandising information, materials and products that aim to oppose the State”.

Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party has recently stepped up its crackdown on activists ahead of a key party congress in January.

Ms. Trang’s arrest came hours after annual US-Vietnam human rights dialogue concluded on Tuesday.

In a statement, the US embassy in Hanoi said it was concerned by reports of Ms. Trang’s detention, which “could impact freedom of expression”.

“We urge the Vietnamese government to ensure its actions and laws are consistent with Vietnam’s international obligations and commitments,” a spokesperson, Rachael Chen, said.

In 2014, Ms. Trang was among several activists apprehended by the authorities ahead of a meeting with the former US president, Barack Obama, during his landmark visit to Vietnam. (Source: Independent UK)