Vietnamese journalist and blogger dieu cay released from prison into exile

     

The 88 Project, April 26, 2018: This is the second & final part of Blogger Dieu Cay/Nguyen Van Hai’s reflection on his ten-year journey – from the activities that resulted in his arrests in 2008 and 2012 khổng lồ the current state of the democratic movement at home and in the diaspora. Dieu Cay was released early on October 21, 2014, but the price he had lớn pay for his freedom was life in exile; he was taken khổng lồ the airport immediately upon release & was boarded onto a flight lớn the United States without being able to see his family. In California, U.S., he reactivated the Freelance Journalist Club & has continued lớn be active in journalism & advocacy. Once an activist, always an activist. As his conclusion says: he has never regretted taking this path.

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TEN YEARS – A JOURNEYby Nguyen Van nhì (a.k.a blogger Dieu Cay)(part II)

On December 23, 2007, as members of the FJC entered the diamond Plaza area near the Chinese consulate, they were surrounded and I was taken into custody at the kim cương Plaza shopping center. However, Nguyen Tien Trung managed to take a series of pictures và shared them with the BBC.

January 9, 2008 was Vietnamese Students’ Day. We gathered at đưa ra Lang Park lớn prepare slogans and banners for the coming days. It was the most memorable day. On that day, with all members in đen uniforms in front of the city’s Opera House, the FJC raised banners that showed the Beijing Olympics symbol altered into five handcuffs (by Reporters Without Borders) và the motto “Hoang Sa – Truong Sa forever belong khổng lồ Vietnam.”

Although all protesters were arrested & taken khổng lồ Ben Nghe ward police, everyone’s spirit was optimistic.

Since then, hundreds of summons have been sent repeatedly to lớn members of the FJC lớn limit their movement, communication, and contact with other groups to lớn organize demonstrations.

In those unforgettable days, Vietnamese social media was filled with the news & images of the protesters. Phan Thanh Hai và I traveled khổng lồ Manila for a conference & met with friends overseas to lớn discuss the development and support for FJC activities và the domestic movement. Thanks lớn our overseas supporters, we were known by many international organizations và newspapers.

On my trip to vương quốc nụ cười to learn about “Nonviolent struggle,” I realized that in Vietnam there would not be demonstrations with millions of participants any time soon. In fact, we are at the assembly stage, so the tool for connecting the people who want khổng lồ change the Vietnamese society is to form và develop a không lấy phí media network, and through this network, gather people…

From there, the FJC launched the “People Journalism” movement so that everyone can participate in the network and contribute khổng lồ building and developing a strong không tính tiền media network.

We also advised each victim of unlawful land seizures in District 9 to xuất hiện a blog lớn tell their story of injustice & connect with famous bloggers who could help khổng lồ convey the information lớn the community at trang chủ and abroad.

Shortly after my trip lớn Thailand, I was wanted everywhere và arrested in da Lat. Then the authorities sentenced me to 2.5 years in prison và immediately re-arrested me right after the completion of the first sentence.

I was forced khổng lồ go through a grim & unlawful investigation process for two years. Then I was sentenced, this second time, to 12 years in prison và 5 years of probation, along with two other members of the FJC.

I served the sentence in over twenty prison camps, “around the world of the Vietnamese communist prisons” with 11 different locations in nearly 7 years in prison. From Ca Mau khổng lồ western Nghe An.

In our difficult years in the camps, we political prisoners always followed what was going on outside. We were happy to lớn hear that the number of people joining the internet was increasing, along with the number of people participating in social media.

We understood that the increasing use of the Internet & social media was making it more & more difficult for the communist authorities khổng lồ cover up and shape the information, và getting more people to awaken và participate in the movement. The stronger the miễn phí media network is, the more developed the movement becomes.

The internet is a real revolution. Now with Facebook with the live-stream feature, Twitter, and Instagram, etc., nothing can stop the freedom of information.

RELEASE FROM PRISON

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Dieu Cay at LAX in October 2014, greeted by the Vietnamese community in California (source: AFP)

On October 21, 2014, I left the communist prison & came khổng lồ the United States.

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On the first night of my arrival in the United States, I was eager to connect lớn the mạng internet to read, to lớn see that the movement had grown dramatically, with the number of participants multiplied several times compared khổng lồ the 2006-2007 period.

The Facebook site has many functionalities and allows up khổng lồ 5000 friends, far exceeding the number 300 allowed years ago by Yahoo 360. & it was very moving khổng lồ see the images of tens of thousands of protesters in Saigon, Binh Duong in 2011.

The growing movement of Catholics in the Central region against the Formosa company for polluting the environment included protests by 20,000 Catholics, prompting Formosa to lớn fall.

Prayers of communion for prisoners of conscience và images of the activist community mobilizing for the release of prisoners of conscience is touching. Those activities encourage people who are miễn phí to follow those who were arrested và continue lớn fight on their behalf.

The past two years, many brothers and sisters have been arrested, brutally beaten, và sentenced khổng lồ heavy prison sentences, which has made the human rights situation in Vietnam worse. The pro-Chinese communist leadership is sabotaging the country, quelling the democratic movement with fierce repression. The pressure of the international community & of the United States seems not khổng lồ be enough khổng lồ deter the Hanoi government.

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Dieu Cay met with President Obama in May 2015 and called on the President to lớn help release prisoners of conscience in Vietnam (source: AP)

On the truyền thông front, the communist authorities are throwing money into filtering and manipulating the overseas press. Some of their infiltrators have come out & teamed up khổng lồ attack the prominent activists of the overseas community and back home. They seek to completely crush the democratic movement while the activists are being severely oppressed.

However, other people have become stronger, the means of struggle are becoming more flexible than before, and activists have really overcome the fear. The truyền thông media activities of the activists in recent years have brought about positive effects.

The communist authorities have lost control of the truyền thông front. They can no longer hinder or shape the information, and it has become much harder for them khổng lồ handle the cybercommunity’s truyền thông interventions. Any untruthful propaganda is exposed immediately và makes people thua trận faith in a group of ignorant and inhuman communist leaders, whose nature of “coward against the enemy, evil against the people” has been revealed.

Nostagically, I recall the early days when I first joined the movement. We were a small group with spontaneous activities, lacking the extensive coordination inside & outside the country that now exists. Nonetheless, we worked quite effectively with all the expenses voluntarily covered by our members. We often joked that we were not the Freelance (Tu do), but Self-sufficient (Tu lo) Journalists Club.

We are also delighted that we have inspired the creation of today’s powerful people journalism movement, with many pages with a high number of readers like Dan Lam Bao (The People Making Newspaper), Anh ba Sam, etc.

The movement has had its ups & downs. The communist authorities have also realized the dangers it creates, so they fiercely oppress activists in the country & divide those in the diaspora in order to lớn prolong the survival of a regime that has entered into decadence.

Let’s figure out together the difficulties and find ways to adapt, to lớn develop the movement in unity. Vì chưng not be discouraged!

Let’s identify and paralyze the infiltrators who have hindered the advancement of the movement, so that we have a stronger overseas community that will support the domestic movement!

Ten years is a long time in a person’s life. It was a journey full of bitter và harsh suffering. But those who have chosen this path never regret.

Me neither…

Dieu Cay – Nguyen Van Hai

Read also: Dieu Cay on solitary confinement, hunger strikes, và his fight for press freedom, Committee khổng lồ Protect Journalists blog, June 16, 2015.