"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Communists target Bloggers at protest

Protesters shout anti-China slogans as they march toward
the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi

Communism in Action
Vietnamese Bloggers are targeted by police at anti-China rally
  • Bloggers dare to use the Internet to tell the people about the news.

Police in Vietnam attempted to prevent bloggers from participating in two anti-China demonstrations over the weekend, prompting rights groups to criticize the government for its heavy-handed tactics in obstructing peaceful protests in the country.

The rare demonstrations, which came in response to growing tensions over a territorial dispute in the South China Sea, saw protesters on Sunday march to the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi and to the Chinese Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City reports Radio Free Asia.

More than 100 protesters attended each rally, waving Vietnamese flags and shouting “Down with China.”

Police largely stood by and watched the demonstrations, but in some cases bloggers in both cities reported being harassed by police and even detained to prevent them from spreading information about the event.

In Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City, protesters marched on the Chinese Consulate, but police prevented them from accessing the area, according to witnesses.

Bloggers and other participants also complained of police harassment and detentions before and during the rally in the southern city.  Blogger Huynh Cong Thuan said he was under police surveillance ahead of the rally.

“The police are watching me closely,” he said. “However, I will try my best to evade them and go to [the city center] where the demonstration will take place.”

And another participant, Le Hieu Dang, said authorities only allowed the protest to proceed after protesters convinced them of their goal and promised to remain civil.

“At first, the police and security forces tried to prevent us from demonstrating,” he said.  “But we argued with them convincingly, so they let us go.”

Blogger Nguyen Hoang Vi said she and a number of her friends were briefly detained by police after the protest.

“A group of five or six of us was stopped by the police after the protest in [Ho Chi Minh City] and then taken to a station,” she told RFA’s Vietnamese service during a call from her cell phone while being held by the police.  

China and Vietnam have a long-running dispute in the South China Sea over potentially valuable oil deposits, fishing rights, and the Paracel and Spratly island chains.  China also has competing claims with the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan for territories in the sea.     (Radio Free Asia)

Protesters hold anti-China banners while marching during an anti-China protest along a street in Hanoi

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