A Vietnamese activist blogger now under house arrest in Hanoi says she will not travel outside the country to receive a human rights award in March, vowing instead to remain in Vietnam to work for change in the one-party communist state.
Pham Doang Trang, author of a recently published book on political engagement that has angered Vietnamese authorities, wrote on Wednesday on her Facebook page that she will not attempt to go abroad to receive her prize.
“I haven’t gone abroad and don’t plan to, not even for a few days to receive the Homo Homini Prize in the Czech Republic on March 5,” Trang said.
“I will never leave Vietnam until Vietnam has changed.”
“When one is like a fish that has been born in a dirty and polluted pond, one can either find one’s way to a nicer and cleaner pond nearby or to the vast ocean, or one can try to change one’s own pond to make it beautiful, breathable, and worth living in,” Trang said.
“I choose this second option,” she said.
"She will never surrender'
Speaking on Wednesday to RFA’s Vietnamese Service, Trang’s mother Bui Thi Thien Can praised her daughter for her “beautiful ideals,” saying Trang “cannot and will never surrender or betray the path she has begun.”
Trang wrote her book, Politics for Everyone, to equip the Vietnamese public with basic knowledge about politics “so they won’t be afraid of politics or try to avoid it, especially youth and students who are afraid of the security forces,” Can said.
“I am very proud of having a daughter as smart and brave as Trang,” she said.
Security officers apprehended Trang on Feb. 24 to ask about her book and other activities and held her for 23 hours before returning her to her home under house arrest, fellow activists said at the weekend.
Copies of Trang’s book, which is considered politically sensitive in Vietnam, were seized by customs agents in the central coastal city of Danang on Feb. 9, when they were shipped into the country from abroad.
Trang recently received the Homo Homini Award from People in Need, an international human rights organization based in the Czech Republic that recognizes individuals dedicated to the development of human rights, democracy, and nonviolent solutions to political conflict.
Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by Emily Peyman. Written in English by Richard Finney.