Pham Doan Trang Club in Vietnamese Police’s sights

Activist Pham Doan Trang

Many social activists and relatives of journalist Pham Doan Trang said that Cong An Nhan Dan newspaper is trying to discourage and distort the truth about an “object” that unfortunately falls into their sights in the new article about Pham Doan Trang Club. They told RFA that they were not even aware of the club’s existence.

On November 3, 2020, the People’s Public Security website online had an article titled “Against the Evolution of Peace, the farce of calling for the establishment of Pham Doan Trang Club.”

At the beginning of the article, the author wrote “The so-called ‘Pham Doan Trang Club’ is just a trick aimed at attracting and gathering those who are against the interests of the nation and the state, and destroy the stable development of the country that the whole nation is building and cultivating every day and every hour.”

With 3 main questions, one is the truth behind the calls to release Pham Doan Trang, the second is to know who Pham Doan Trang is, and the third is the law of Vietnam for the establishment of associations, the People’s Public Security website continued to say that “After Pham Thi Doan Trang with another name Pham Doan Trang, was arrested on charges of ‘conducting anti-state propaganda’ under Article 88 of the Penal Code 1999 and the crime of ‘Making, possessing, distributing or disseminating information and materials against the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam” under Article 117 of the 2015 Criminal Code, certain individuals shouted on cyberspace, demanding the establishment of the so-called ‘Pham Doan Trang Club’ also known as the “Club for Women claiming human rights” headed by Pham Le Thuy.”

Radio Free Asia has attempted to reach out to a person named Pham Le Thuy as well as the Women’s Rights Club. Unfortunately, there is no sign of the connection being able to connect to the right person for the right job.

The special thing to admit is that any dissident when arrested, apart from the proceedings, the press agencies of communist Vietnam are all involved, they put the whole political system in to attack Vietnamese fighters for freedom and democracy,” said former prisoner of conscience Pham Thanh Nghien.

Even a source seemed closest to the incident refused to answer, saying he was afraid of police harassment and arrest when the incident was not clear.

Fear like this is understandable, is former political prisoner, blogger Pham Thanh Nghien:

It is unclear who has established Pham Doan Trang Club. A few months ago, there was also a group calling for the establishment of the Vietnam Independent Union. Someone asked me, I affirm that given the severity of the on-going crackdown on the local dissent, no groups or individuals want to call for the establishment of civil groups. After Pham Doan Trang was arrested, I and a few friends who like Pham Doan Trang have not thought about forming group associations like Pham Doan Trang Club.”

And it is not strange if Pham Doan Trang Club is considered a trick, a hostile attempt to destroy in the eyes of Cong An Nhan Dan newspaper, a powerful media agency in the right-hand village. The next opinion of blogger Pham Thanh Nghien:

Any group association or an independent civil society organization whose purpose is to promote human rights is severely criticized, slandered, and persecuted by the police and the state.”

For me, this is nothing special. The special thing to admit is that any dissident when arrested, apart from the proceedings, the press agencies of the communist Vietnam are all involved, they put the whole political system in to attack Vietnamese fighters for freedom and democracy. Even though the person himself has been arrested, that means there is no chance and the ability to protect himself. This story is very familiar, which means it is not strange, it is not that we accept it like that.”

Former reporter of Communist Magazine, now independent journalist Nguyen Vu Binh, explained why the call to set up Pham Doan Trang Club is being targeted by the police forces.

This information is quite new, but if it does, it is also what every civil society establish clubs and groups on its own. That is the right of the people.”

The authorities are always vigilant about this, reporting to the People’s Police about Pham Doan Trang Club, then treating the calling for Pham Doan Trang’s release as a trick. Defaming Pham Doan Trang could be the first attack in a series of acts being carried out by the police forces and the state-controlled media.”

While most of the activists do not know but the police article mentioned about Pham Doan Trang Club, people will go to find out who Pham Doan Trang is, accidentally stimulating the curiosity of the bystander. It also has one side or another.”

With the question “First of all, it is necessary to find out who Pham Doan Trang is, Pham Doan Trang is a person, an event or an event, that Cong An Nhan Dan online newspaper raises and then answers itself that“ Pham Doan Trang is not in the list of ‘contributing to the socio-economic development of the country’.”

Journalist Pham Doan Trang and books written by her FB Pham Doan Trang

Still, according to Cong An Nhan Dan newspaper, Pham Doan Trang, 42 years old, was arrested for activities that violated national security, who used to go abroad illegally and was forced to resign by a news agency, then “changed color,” joined, established, and ran many illegal associations and groups, wrote for the websites of the deep enemies, fought against the country. She was the representative face of the so-called “Liberal Publishing House” which distributed many documents with contents propagating and distorting the situation of democracy and human rights in Vietnam, opposing the Party, The State, the regime and defames the leadership of the Party and State, inciting the overthrow of the political regime in our country.

The police newspaper wrote: From the position that “many people dream” means being born in a basic family, graduated from prestigious high school Hanoi – Amsterdam School and Faculty of Economics, Hanoi Foreign Trade University, Pham Doan Trang becomes a lawbreaker. Acts that the subjects have performed must be strictly dealt with according to the laws of Vietnam.

Reviewer, former political prisoner and blogger Pham Thanh Nghien argues:

I don’t want to be the person who praises my friend too much. Pham Doan Trang, like some other women, dreams of having a normal life in a country with a good political background.”

In terms of fighting, I affirm that Pham Doan Trang is very brave. Trang is a person with aspirations, honesty, frankness, simplicity, and affection. Trang can have a well-off economically and mentally well at her level. If she hadn’t become a democracy activist in a society without freedom of expression like in Vietnam, Trang would have lived differently. But if so, there wouldn’t be a Pham Doan Trang today.”

The government’s unsuccessful thing is to arrest someone who has foreseen the worst path along the way. Whether or not she was arrested, for Pham Doan Trang, first of all, this is a victory in self, victory over fear, a symbol of Vietnam’s aspiration for freedom.”

The decision of Vietnamese law on the establishment of the Association is the third article against the peaceful evolution through the call to establish Pham Doan Trang Club. The article affirms that “Vietnam has Decree 45/2010 / ND-CP, Decree 33/2012 / ND-CP, and Circular 03/2013 / TT-BNV, which are all legal and regulatory documents for the establishment of the association.

The establishment of an association is voluntary, the article emphasizes but must contribute to the socio-economic development of the country, is organized and operated in accordance with the Constitution, laws, and association charters.

To independent researcher Nguyen Quang A, who knows a lot about Pham Doan Trang, citing each of these rules to justify each prohibition against the establishment of Pham Doan Trang Club is an old way of propaganda by the State which is afraid of opposing voices:

I did not know there was a call to set up the Pham Doan Trang Club, I did not read the Cong An Nhan Dan newspaper and was not a bit surprised about the allegation that it was boring in Vietnam.

Anyone who doesn’t shut their mouth doesn’t say what they want, they all consider a peaceful evolution, the allegation has been chewing over and over for decades. Sometimes they raise it up and later attack it.”

Speaking against peaceful developments, criticizing the call to set up Pham Doan Trang Club is a farce, demonstrating the poor professional level of a newspaper that often blows down to the Communist Party. This is the statement of former journalist Le Phu Khai of the state-controlled The Voice of Vietnam, the author of the book Loi Ai Dieu which is considered as opposing the ruling party. He met many difficulties like Pham Doan Trang faces today.

Mr. Khai said “Ms. Doan Trang is not guilty at all. The Vietnamese Constitution clearly states the right to freedom of publication, freedom of thought, and freedom of the press. She only writes books in a peaceful manner, speaking out her opinions, her thoughts, and imprisoning her like that is a violation of human rights.”

The Vietnamese Constitution recognizes the right to form associations, but the people who propagate the Constitution are imprisoned.”

According to the Cong An Nhan Dan newspaper, the so-called “Pham Doan Trang Club ” absolutely does not guarantee all factors and does not comply with the law of Vietnam.

This conclusion of Cong An Nhan Dan newspaper was heavy on the performance but its meaning was empty, according to the local independent journalists. (Translated)