The New York Times cited LIV co-founder and co-director, Trinh Huu Long, in their June 17, 2022 feature article, “She Spoke Out Against Vietnam’s Plans for Coal. Then She Was Arrested.” regarding the imprisonment of prominent Vietnamese environmental activist Nguy Thi Khanh.
Ms. Khanh, recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize, was sentenced to two years in jail by the Hanoi People’s Court on June 17, 2022 for tax evasion. Her supporters claim that this tax evasion charge is bogus and that the real reason behind her arrest is due to her campaign against the use of coal in Vietnam.
In 2016, Ms. Khanh was successful in making the Vietnamese government cut down their coal-fired power by 20, 000 megawatts and this was seen as a significant victory for Vietnam’s environmentalists. Her efforts made Vietnam the “country with the largest installed capacity of solar and wind power in Southeast Asia.” However, several government officials pushed back against the use of renewable energy and wanted to return to the usage of coal for energy production.
In response to her arrest, Trinh Huu Long states, “This is a very strong signal from the Communist Party that they are now willing to go much further to control civil society.” He adds that “[the Vietnamese government] will not tolerate even slight criticism.”
Vietnam was the 9th largest consumer of coal in the world. Due to Ms. Khanh’s efforts, the country is currently ranked as the 16th.