Why is the Party afraid of Pham Doan Trang? VOA Tiếng Việt breaks down the reasons why Vietnam's prominent human rights defender is a threat to the state, and was handed a nine-year prison sentence.

Title: Tại sao Đảng sợ Phạm Đoan Trang
Publish Date: December 16, 2021
Publisher: VOA Tiếng Việt


Note: original texts in Vietnamese

Ms. Pham Doan Trang, 43, was sentenced to 9 years in prison for "Propaganda against the State" under the Communist Party's Criminal Law. Lawyer Dang Dinh Manh said, when the court paused, Ms. Doan Trang turned to look at the mother sitting about 5 meters behind. Mrs. Bui Thi Thien Can, more than 80 years old, held hands and raised a thumb: "You are Number One!"

Pham Doan Trang founded the magazine " Law Khoa " to help Vietnamese people understand the law to protect their rights. She worked as a journalist from 2000 to 2013, collaborated with nearly ten domestic press agencies, such as VnExpress, Vietnamnet, Ho Chi Minh City Law Newspaper, VTC Television, etc.

Why is it that after the prosecutor recommended a sentence of 7 to 8 years in prison, the judge increased it to 9 years?

Because the Communist Party is afraid. That was the comment of a newspaper in Berlin, Germany, immediately when it announced the verdict.

Mr. Duong Hong An in Germany introduced the TAZ daily newspaper reporting the trial, under the headline " Pressefreiheit in Vietnam ". The newspaper wrote the title: "Nine years in prison for female journalists" ( Neun Jahre Haft für Journalistin ). TAZ explained, “The dictatorship gave the sentence too harshly, probably because they were afraid…” Thanks to this newsletter, readers learned that “Vietnam ranks 175th out of 180 countries, in the ranking of “self-sustaining” by the press” of Reporters Without Borders.”

Why is the Party afraid of Pham Doan Trang? TAZ wrote that they were “afraid of the villagers” that they would continue to fight harder. A month before her arrest last year, Ms. Trang and Will Nguyen (in the US) published a file about the village of Dong Tam, a suburb of Hanoi, where villagers protested against the communist regime's confiscation of their land and then being harassed. ruthless pressure. TAZ noted that “Two people from Dong Tam commune were sentenced to death, the others were sentenced to many years in prison.”

TAZ newspaper also published news that the Vietnamese people in the country did not know, because no newspaper or radio station mentioned it: On the Monday before the trial, the international organization Human Rights Watch asked the Communists to Vietnam released Pham Doan Trang immediately. HRW accused the communists of violating the International Covenant on Freedoms that they signed in 1982. TAZ newspaper also recalled, in 2017 the human rights organization "People in Need" in the Czech Republic (Czech) had awarded her with the Homo-Homini Preis (Homo-Homini Preis) award, and in 2019 Reporters Without Borders awarded her the "Press Freedom" award. PEN Center in Germany honored Pham Doan Trang as an honorary member; asked the communist state to release her.

Professor Nguyen Quang A shows another reason why the Party is afraid of Pham Doan Trang: Because the very crime of "anti-state" they accuse her of is absurd. He wrote, “…in principle no one can oppose a state…but everyone has the right to oppose a government…when it does wrong…”

Journalist Tuan Khanh also saw the Party's weakness. Because of the lack of reason, "obscenity." The Party is afraid of Pham Doan Trang because she "advocates to fight with reason and words." And the Party does not think of reasons! Secretly, the Party has to use violent actions, language, and degrading. Tuan Khanh recounted that in 2017, after Doan Trang published the book Politics of the People abroad and was arrested, she was taken to a cell. After she asked again and again why she was imprisoned, no one could answer one question. Instead of saying “I just followed the order above,” a young police officer pointed his finger at her face, shouting, “Fuck your face…!” That is the familiar logic and words of the Party.

The 9-year prison sentence is the language "D.M." of the uneducated when they lose reason. Nguyen Quang A sees the same 9-year sentence: “…only the weak resort to such brutal repressive measures…” But he also sees the result as “just making more people more determined!” Moreover, “many people see the illegal actions of the government, and that are really harmful to the government.”

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