Following the conviction of prominent journalist and human rights defender, Pham Doan Trang, an anonymous student argues that the West cannot turn a blind eye to human rights abuses in Vietnam.

Title: The West cannot ignore human rights abuses in Vietnam
Publish Date: January 4, 2022
Publisher: Varsity


The latest round of crackdowns on dissent carried out by the Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP) has seen scores of independent journalists and activists imprisoned, including perhaps its most famous critic, Pham Doan Trang. Trang was sentenced to nine years in prison by the Hanoi’s People Court, one more than even prosecutors had recommended, under the infamous 88th Article of the 1999 Criminal Code, criminalising “carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration”. A prolific writer on issues of women empowerment and environmental justice, she also founded Luật Khoa, an online magazine providing legal advice to individuals detained arbitrarily by the Hanoian regime. Her trial demonstrates, again, the disregard for the rule of law by the Hanoian regime, yet her arrest in October last year also coincided with the day that Vietnamese and American officials met to discuss issues of democracy and human rights. The irony should not be lost. Despite the West’s ramped up rhetoric in defense of free speech, exemplified by American President Joe Biden’s pledges on World Press Freedom Day, I argue little is being done to support those whose voices are smothered by the Vietnamese government.