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Vietnamese blogger has his citizenship revoked for promoting democracy

(wikipedia commons)
June 27, 2017

A Vietnamese political blogger was stripped of his citizenship and forced to leave his home in Vietnam for what the government considered dissent.

Pham Minh Hoang, a former mathematics lecturer who retains dual French citizenship, arrived in Paris on Sunday after police officers surrounded his house in Vietnam on the night of June 23 and detained him for causing political dissent through his publications.

Hoang recently spoke at a support rally in Paris, where he addressed his exile and what he intends to do moving forward.

“I’m still in shock, very sad,” said Hoang. “They accuse me of seeking to overthrow the regime because of the texts I write. I write to promote democracy, to criticize corruption, to denounce the Chinese invasion, economically, politically and also militarily.”

Hoang said that he will continue his political activism from Europe, but he has not given up hope that he will some day be allowed to return to Vietnam. He was forced to leave his wife, Le Thi Kieu Oanh, behind.

Steven Butler, the Asia coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), said in a statement that “[stripping] Pham Minh Hoang of his Vietnamese citizenship and forcing him to leave the country are exceptionally cruel responses to dissent. Vietnam should allow Hoang to return home to his family and should cease trying to silence voices it does not want heard.”

Hoang is the first Vietnam-based political dissident to have his citizenship revoked in recent history. He received a letter from Vietnam’s president in May. He appealed but was ultimately unsuccessful.

The exile will not leave Hoang in an unknown place. He moved to France in 1973 and lived there for 27 years before he returned to Vietnam to work as a mathematics lecturer at the Polytechnic University of Ho Chi Minh City.