Legal Initiatives for Vietnam's (LIV) mission is to build a democratic society in Vietnam through independent journalism, research, and education.

LIV was founded by Trịnh Hữu Long, Trần Quỳnh-Vi, Phạm Đoan Trang and Trương Tự Minh in 2014 as a small legal publication, which has now become its core project called Luật Khoa. Later, it was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan organization in California, United States in January 2017. In November 2021, LIV opened its representative office in Taipei, Taiwan.

The building where LIV's office is located in the NCCU campus, Taipei, Taiwan.

What We Do

Independent journalism

We believe that independent journalism and an informed citizenry are vital parts of the democratic future we envision for Vietnam. Thus, we invest in building independent media outlets and institutions that are free of censorship and self-censorship. However, these are not enough; we must also invest in quality journalism. These are our main projects:

  • Luật Khoa Magazine: Our first and core project aims to inform Vietnamese audiences about law, politics, human rights, democracy, rule of law, and environment protection. Since 2014, the Luật Khoa Magazine has become one of the leading independent news outlets in the Vietnamese media environment.
  • The Vietnamese Magazine: an English publication that aims to raise awareness about Vietnam’s political and legal affairs among the international community. Since 2017, The Vietnamese Magazine has published news and updates about the state of democracy, human rights, politics, and religion, as well as translations of Vietnamese language articles for the benefit of foreign readers. The Vietnamese Magazine is also in collaboration with the Asia Democracy Chronicles.


LIV aims to provide quality resources for journalists, researchers, policy makers, and advocacy groups. Over the years, we have worked on various research projects in internet freedom, religious freedom. Our research interests also go beyond these areas to include democratization, press freedom, and criminal justice.

Some data that we have collected is released here.


LIV’s publications and research educates and informs its audience not only on contemporary issues, but also in the fields of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. However, other forms of education remain crucial to achieve our goals. We provide:

  • Training and paid internships for journalists;
  • Translation and compilation services for books;
  • Access to a physical and virtual library.

Meet Our Team

Trần Quỳnh-Vi

Co-founder and Executive Director, based in Taipei, Taiwan

Trần Quỳnh Vi. Photo credit: Trịnh Hữu Long/ LIV.

She was a litigation lawyer in Menlo Park and San Jose, California before becoming a democracy advocate and journalist in 2015. Apart from being a member of LIV's leadership, she is in charge of The Vietnamese Magazine, an English publication covering Vietnam’s law and politics, and advocacy.

She specializes in Vietnam's freedom of expression and criminal justice, and is also a strong advocate for the abolition of the death penalty. In 2021, Vi was accepted as a Democracy and Human Rights Service Fellow at the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD). She graduated from the master's program in journalism at Columbia University in 2023.

Trịnh Hữu Long

Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Luật Khoa Magazine, based in Taipei, Taiwan

Trịnh Hữu Long. Photo credit:

Aside from being a member of LIV's leadership, he is in charge of Luat Khoa Magazine, a Vietnamese publication covering Vietnam’s law and politics. He began his career in 2008 as a legal counsel for some companies in Hanoi and became a democracy advocate and journalist in 2011. He has worked for various media and human rights organizations such as Tia Sáng magazine (2011-2012), Tuổi Trẻ newspaper (2012), and VOICE (2013-2016).

He has a background in law and Asia-Pacific studies, specializing in Vietnam's constitutional law, freedom of expression, internet freedom, and criminal justice, as well as Taiwan's democratization. He has written and translated several books in politics and has been an author of the Vietnam Chapter of Freedom House’s Freedom on the Net reports since 2021.

Phạm Đoan Trang

Co-founder and editor, based in Vietnam

Phạm Đoan Trang. Photo credit: Adam Bemma/ Al Jazeera.

She is one of the most prominent journalists in Vietnam and has worked for various media outlets such as VnExpress, VietNamNet, and Phap luat TP. Ho Chi Minh since 2000. She became a democracy activist in the early 2010s and has been involved in various social movements and educational activities. Aside from working as an editor for LIV, she was also the leading author of the Liberal Publishing House and has written many books on political and legal affairs in Vietnam.

As a result of her excellence and contribution, she has been awarded by People In Need, Reporters Without Borders, Martin Ennals Foundation, US Department of State, the Canadian and the United Kingdom governments, and Committee to Protect Journalists. She was arrested by Vietnamese authorities in October 2020 and was sentenced to nine years of imprisonment for “spreading propaganda against the state.”

She currently serves her sentence in An Phuoc Prison, Binh Duong province, Vietnam.

And 12 other team members who are editors, staff writers, administrators, and volunteers.

Our history

May 2014

Trinh Huu Long, Pham Doan Trang, Tran Quynh Vi, and Truong Tu Minh establish Luat Khoa Magazine. 

Jul 2014

Luat Khoa establishes its book project.

Nov 5, 2014

Luat Khoa magazine debuts at

Oct 17, 2015

The Program to Provide Funding for Legal Research debuts. The program lasts from 2015-2016.

End of 2015

Luat Khoa launches a donation channel via Paypal.

Dec 24, 2016 

Luat Khoa establishes an office in Taiwan.

Jan 2017

  • Luat Khoa registers as a non-profit organization in California, United States, under the name Legal Initiatives for Vietnam (LIV).

  • Facebook debuts its Instant Article feature, helping readers behind Vietnam’s firewall access LIV’s articles.

  • LIV launches its newsletter.

Aug 31, 2017

Luat Khoa magazine encounters a domain name issue, temporarily switching over to until October 5.

Nov 8, 2017

The Vietnamese, an English-language magazine project, launches at

Dec 2017

Vietnam begins to block access to Luat Khoa magazine and The Vietnamese.

Jun 2017

  • Luat Khoa and The Vietnamese suffer DDoS attacks over 10 days, interrupting operations.

  • LIV creates backup pages at (unblocked in Vietnam).

Jan 2019

The group “Luat Khoa Community” debuts on Facebook.

Sept 12, 2019

Co-founder and editor Pham Doan Trang receives the Press Freedom Prize for Impact, from the organization Reporters Without Borders in Berlin, Germany.

Feb 2020

LIV upgrades its management software, automating many parts of our work process.

Apr 2020

LIV experiments with daily news updates, which we scrapped after more than a month due to a lack of manpower; the project concluded with a case of plagiarism committed by a reporter.

May 2020

For the first time, LIV was able to live-report events, covering the cassation trial of the Ho Duy Hai case.

Jun 2020

LIV begins to provide scholarships for journalism training.

Jul 2020

LIV becomes involved in a case of financial mishandling at Liberal Publishing House after serving as an intermediary; the issue is resolved at the beginning of 2021. 

Oct 6, 2020

Vietnamese police arrested Pham Doan Trang.

Jan 2021

LIV launches a new fundraising channel at

Feb 2021

Telegram debuts the Instant View feature, helping readers behind Vietnam’s firewall access LIV’s articles.

Jul 2021

LIV debuts Luat Khoa’s newsletter channel (

Aug 21, 2021

LIV begins operating its official library in Taipei.

Oct 30, 2021

LIV debuts its data project at

Nov 2021

LIV completes the registration of its representative office in Taiwan.

Dec 14, 2021

Pham Doan Trang is sentenced to nine years in prison.

Jan 31, 2022

Luat Khoa issues its first PDF issue on the occasion of the Lunar New Year, marking the beginning of a new product.

Mar 1, 2022

Luat Khoa relaunches its YouTube channel.

Mar 2022

LIV launches its new main office at the National Chengchi University campus in Taipei, Taiwan.

Jun 2, 2022

Pham Doan Trang is awarded the Martin Ennals Award. LIV's delegation accompanies Mrs. Bui Thi Thien Can - Trang's mother - at the ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland.

Jan 3, 2023

Luat Khoa launches its membership program with two tiers: $2/month and $5/month.

Apr 11, 2023

Luat Khoa is selected for the media business coaching Amplify Asia by Media Development and Investment Fund.

Jun 1, 2023

LIV launches its virtual library at

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