Vietnam in fresh crackdown as political tensions rise

A fresh crackdown is under way against bloggers and activists in Vietnam.

Hanoi: A fresh crackdown is under way against bloggers and activists in Vietnam as political tensions rise before a Communist Party Congress in January, observers say.

In the latest arrest, Cu Huy Ha Vu, a prominent government critic, was held for "propaganda against the state", official television said yesterday.

It quoted the Ministry of Public Security as saying investigators found anti-state documents in Vu`s laptop and that he had advocated a multi-party system.

Last year, Vu filed an unsuccessful court complaint against Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung over a controversial bauxite mine.

Authorities also rejected a bid by Vu`s law firm to represent at trial several Catholic parishioners convicted last month in connection with a dispute over a cemetery.

The Catholics, and now Vu, are among at least 17 community activists, dissidents and bloggers reported to have been convicted, arrested or charged since October 01.

While critics outside the ruling Communist Party have been targeted, observers say there has also been criticism from within, over a scandal at state-run Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group (Vinashin).

Vinashin has been driven to the brink of bankruptcy and lawmakers in the communist-dominated National Assembly last week demanded answers.

One deputy, Nguyen Minh Thuyet, called for a vote of no confidence in the prime minister, who appointed the firm`s former chairman Pham Thanh Binh.


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