Vietnam launches probe into American detained for 'public disorder'

Vietnam launches probe into American detained for 'public disorder'Vietnam police have launched a formal criminal investigation into an American man who was among dozens arrested last week during rare protests that erupted across the authoritarian state. American citizen William Anh Nguyen, 32, was detained in Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday during a massive rally protesting a government proposal to grant lengthy land leases in new special economic zones. Many protesters expressed fear the land would be handed to China, and thousands gathered in several cities across the country to demand the government not lease land to Beijing for “even one day”.

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US citizen detained during violent Vietnam protests

US citizen detained during violent Vietnam protestsThe US has urged the Vietnamese authorities to release one of its citizens who was among dozens of people arrested during violent protests last week.  Will Nguyen, 32, a Yale graduate who comes from Houston, Texas, was visiting Ho Chi Minh City, en route from the US to Singapore, where he was due to graduate from a master’s programme in July.  According to a statement released on Thursday on behalf of Mr Nguyen’s family and friends, he was “beaten over the head and dragged into a police truck” after joining a rare demonstration on June 9 against proposed special economic zones that have raised fears of Chinese encroachment.  A video linked to the statement allegedly shows Mr Nguyen being dragged along the street with blood streaming from his face. He is later shown standing on the back of a police pickup truck.  This is #democracy in— Will Nguyen (阮英惟) (@will_nguyen_) June 10, 2018 Vietnam’s Communist government bans anti-government protests and public gatherings must be approved by the authorities.  However, demonstrations erupted over the weekend over planned special economic zones that would give leases to foreign investors with less red tape, stoking fears that national security would be undermined by giving China control over Vietnamese territory.  Before he was arrested, Mr Nguyen was live-tweeting from the protest, revealing that events had taken a nasty turn after police had allegedly struck a man, who was seen in lying motionless on the ground. The statement released on Thursday said that he had been taken to a police station and accused of “causing a scene and destroying public property.” Police struck a protestor and chaos has broken out— Will Nguyen (阮英惟) (@will_nguyen_) June 10, 2018 It said the authorities had confiscated his laptop, passport and credit cards from the AirBnB property where he had been lodging, and that he had been falsely accused of being a member of the reform-focussed Viet Tan political party, which is banned in Vietnam.  This was “not plausible” said the statement. “The diplomatic protocol is that the Vietnamese have 48 hours in which to notify the US embassy that one of its citizens has been detained, but this has not been adhered to in the current situation,” it alleged.  “The state of his health and his whereabouts are currently unknown.” Pope Thrower, a US embassy spokesman told the New York Times that the embassy was “aware of media reports that a US citizen was arrested.”  He added: “When a US citizen is detained overseas, the US Department of State works to provide all appropriate consular assistance.” 

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Vietnam legislators back cyber law clamping down on tech firms, dissent

HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnamese legislators approved a cybersecurity law on Tuesday that tightens control of the internet and global tech companies operating in the Communist-led country, raising fears of economic harm and a further crackdown on dissent. The cyber law, approved by 91 percent of attending legislators, requires Facebook , Google and other global technology firms to store locally “important” personal data on users in Vietnam and open offices in the country.

Source: Reuters

China warns citizens in Vietnam after protests over economic zones

China warns citizens in Vietnam after protests over economic zonesChina has warned its citizens in Vietnam after protesters clashed with police over a government plan to create new economic zones for foreign investment that has fueled anti-Chinese sentiment in the country. More than 100 protesters were arrested and dozens of police injured at a protest in central Vietnam on Sunday, one of several demonstrations nationwide against the special economic zones opponents fear will be dominated by Chinese investors. The Chinese embassy in Hanoi posted a notice on its website referring to the protests as “illegal gatherings” that had included some “anti-China content”.

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