News / Asia

China Rights Group Honors Prominent Jailed Vietnamese Writer

FILE - Six democracy activists stand at dock in Hai Phong City's People's Court in Hai Phong, about 100 kilometers east of Hanoi, Oct. 2009. From L-R: Nguyen Van Tuc, Nguyen Van Tinh, Nguyen Manh Son, Nguyen Kim Nhan, Nguyen Xuan Nghia (2nd R), Ngo Quynh.
FILE - Six democracy activists stand at dock in Hai Phong City's People's Court in Hai Phong, about 100 kilometers east of Hanoi, Oct. 2009. From L-R: Nguyen Van Tuc, Nguyen Van Tinh, Nguyen Manh Son, Nguyen Kim Nhan, Nguyen Xuan Nghia (2nd R), Ngo Quynh.
A Chinese media rights group has granted an award to a prominent Vietnamese writer detained in Vietnam since 2008 on charges of subverting the ruling Communist Party.

The Sweden-based Independent Chinese PEN Center [ICPC] said it decided to honor Nguyen Xuan Nghia with its 2013 'Liu Xiaobo Courage to Write Award' which is named after Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo.

In a statement issued this week, ICPC also named a second honoree for the award, Chinese environmentalist and writer Tan Zuoren, detained in China since 2009.

Nguyen Xuan Nghia is a Vietnamese poet, journalist and novelist and a founding member of a banned democracy movement known as Bloc 8406. Vietnamese authorities arrested him in 2008 and later convicted him of violating laws against spreading anti-Communist propaganda and undermining national security.

Nguyen Xuan Nghia was sentenced to six years in prison in 2009.

Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang has defended his record on human rights, saying his government has made "sustained efforts to protect and promote" them. He made the comment in a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House in July.

ICPC said Nguyen Xuan Nghia's family tried to visit him in Ha Dong province last year, but discovered that he had been moved to a prison more than 400 kilometers from his home, near the border with Laos. It said his wife Nguyen Thi Nga also learned that he was suffering health problems and had contemplated suicide.

Nguyen Thi Nga, wife of jailed Vietnamese writer Nguyen Xuan Nghia. Photo: Nguyen Thi Nga, date unknownNguyen Thi Nga, wife of jailed Vietnamese writer Nguyen Xuan Nghia. Photo: Nguyen Thi Nga, date unknown
x
Nguyen Thi Nga, wife of jailed Vietnamese writer Nguyen Xuan Nghia. Photo: Nguyen Thi Nga, date unknown
Nguyen Thi Nga, wife of jailed Vietnamese writer Nguyen Xuan Nghia. Photo: Nguyen Thi Nga, date unknown
Speaking to VOA by phone, Nguyen Thi Nga welcomed the Chinese media rights group's recognition of her husband. "We are very glad and proud to learn that Nghia is granted an international award named after Liu Xiaobo, a courageous writer recognized by the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. This has helped to confirm that the path my husband has been pursuing for a multi-party, democratic Vietnam is legitimate," she said.

Nguyen Thi Nga said Vietnamese authorities transferred her husband to the distant prison in central Vietnam in retaliation for him leaking news that a fellow inmate and blogger was on a hunger strike. ICPC said the blogger, Nguyen Van Hai, also known as Dieu Cay, went on a hunger strike to protest adverse prison conditions.

ICPC is an affiliate of International PEN, a global association of writers dedicated to freedom of expression and the defense of writers suffering governmental repression.

Last year, ICPC granted the Liu Xiaobo award to ethnic Tibetan writer Dolma Kyab and Chinese writer and rights activist Wu Yilong, both of whom have been jailed in China in recent years.

Liu was detained in 2008 when he co-authored Charter 08, a declaration calling for political reform, greater human rights and an end to one-party rule in China. A court sentenced him to 11 years in prison in 2009 for "subversion" of China's Communist leadership.

Liu has been unable to collect his Nobel Peace Prize because of his detention.

Tra Mi of VOA's Vietnamese service contributed to this report.

Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid