The Vietnamese Communist Party has been arresting dissidents, including independent journalists, religious figures, land rights activists and environmentalists- generally, anyone who can mobilize and influence their fellow citizens.  


The political activist Pham Doan Trang, who was arrested in October 2020, was a particular headache for the Vietnamese government as she was not philosophically inclined in her writing. Instead, she communicated Vietnamese laws, constitutional rights, and procedures in ways that ordinary people could understand. She exposed how the government violated its own laws, garnering her a large following. She’s now serving a nine-year sentence for spreading “propaganda against the state.”

That Mother Mushroom and Pham Doan Trang had won multiple foreign awards and had deep international networks of support only amplified their voices at home. International recognition raised concerns of foreign interference amongst the conservative party elite.