Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, 37, is a leading Vietnamese blogger known as “Mother Mushroom” has been writing for years to expose the torture and oppression of the one-party state. This week Vietnam showed the world that, despite its portrayal as one of the world’s emerging economies, it remains an authoritarian warmed-over Communist regime. It convicted Quynh and sentenced her to 10 years in jail. For telling people the truth about their government.
Quynh was arrested in October 2016 and charged with anti-state propaganda over her Facebook posts about politics and the environment. She was charged under Article 88 of Vietnam’s criminal code. She was denied counsel and the trial was of course an utter sham.
The “judge” ruled that Quynh had defamed the government, harmed national unity, eroded popular trust of the government and undermined national security. What is always chilling is how authoritarian governments use these faux judges and courts to carry out these measures.
Quynh has shown incredible courage in the face of such oppression. For those of us who criticized the awarding of the Nobel Prize to Barack Obama (who had achieved nothing at the start of his first term beyond defeating John McCain), the frustration was knowing that there were people like Quynh who put their very lives in danger to fight for civil liberties and freedom.
For the many businesses investing in Vietnam, the incarceration of Quynh should be wake up call that Vietnam is no modern or stable democratic society. It was and remains a one-party state that is threatened by even on blogger willing to tell the truth.