Vietnam Convicts Second Person This Week for Anti-Government Facebook Posts
On Thursday, police in Vietnam reported that a court had jailed a 40-year-old man for two and a half years due to the comments included in his Facebook posts. This is the second Facebook-related imprisonment in the country in the past week.
According to the countryâs Ministry of Public Security, Manh Dong allegedly âdistorted the guidelines and policies of the party and the state, and defamed party and state leaders,â Reuters reported.
The conviction is reflective of Vietnamâs efforts to repress speech critical of the government. According to the ministry, Dong was guilty of âabusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the state,â according to Reuters, and that, according to police, his posts âhurt the prestige and leading role of the party and the state.â
Dongâs imprisonment comes just days after a similar sentence for Facebook posts. On Monday, 42-year-old Doan Khanh Vinh Quang, an activist, was sentenced to 27 months in jail for âabusing democratic and freedom rights,â police said, stating that he had admitted to posting and sharing posts on Facebook over the past few years that authorities said criticized the countryâs Communist Party. And in May of this year, 56-year-old Vui Hieu Vo was sentenced to four and a half years in jail for Facebook posts that allegedly âdistortedâ the countryâs political state of affairs.
The countryâs punishments for anti-government sentiment comes amid a greater crackdown on citizensâ online activity. A cybersecurity law approved by Vietnam lawmakers this year, which will go into effect in January, requires internet companies to store usersâ personal information and data. It specifically states that tech companies are required to store this user data locally within data cent ers in the country.
âWith the sweeping powers it grants the government to monitor online activity,â Clare Algar, Amnestyâs director of global operations, said in a statement, Reuters reported, âthis vote means there is now no safe place left in Vietnam for people to speak freely.â