Three Vietnamese bloggers were injured last week when a group of government agents smashed the window of their vehicle after following them home from a birthday party, a rights group said.
The incident was part of an ongoing trend of harassment reflecting Vietnam’s crackdown on dissident bloggers, media watchdog Reporters Without Borders said in a statement this week.
Bloggers Vi Hoang Nguyen, Hang Minh Bui, and Lee Nguyen were injured by government agents while they were driving back after a birthday party in Ho Chi Minh City on July 13, Reporters Without Borders said.
"After the party, [Vi Hoang] Nguyen and Bui left in the same car with three other people," the statement said.
The three were identified as Lee Nguyen, Quyet Le and Tan Thi Duong, the wife of the well-known detained blogger Nguyen Van Hai, known professionally as Dieu Cay.
"Eight government agents followed them in their own vehicle and, at one point, drove close to the bloggers’ car and smashed its rear window."
"The shattered glass cut [Vi Hoang] Nguyen’s face, arms and legs. Bui and Lee Nguyen also sustained cuts."
Vi Hoang Nguyen has been under extensive surveillance since her arrest and interrogation following participation in an anti-China demonstration on July 1 in Ho Chi Minh City, according to Reporters Without Borders.
“The authorities are stopping at nothing to silence dissidents, following them, assaulting them, subjecting them to heavy-handed interrogation and holding them illegally,” the group said.
“They are acting like thugs with peaceful bloggers because they fear that a wave of anti-Chinese demonstrations could pose a threat to internal stability.”
On Monday, three activists were sentenced to over five years in prison for allegedly spreading anti-government propaganda.
The three were arrested in June of last year for accusing the ruling Vietnamese Communist Party of human rights violations and for inciting anti-Chinese protests, according to Reporters Without Borders.
The country has been home to a crackdown on bloggers, protestors, and dissidents after a wave of demonstrations against China’s aggressive territorial claims in the South China Sea.
China and Vietnam have several maritime and territorial disputes in the South China Sea, where oil extraction and fishing rights are becoming hot-button issues.
Reported by James Bourne.