Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, one of the best-known of her country’s nearly 100 political prisoners and also known as Mother Mushroom, has ended a hunger strike begun earlier this month in the prison where she is being held, and though tired is “in good spirits,” a Vietnam-based activist group says.
Quynh, now serving a 10-year prison term following her June 2017 conviction for her online writings criticizing Vietnam’s government, said she would again take food following a July 23 visit by a U.S. embassy representative, the Vietnam Bloggers Network said on Wednesday.
Quynh began her hunger strike on July 6, citing authorities’ refusal to transfer her to a cell away from a hostile and threatening cellmate. She then continued to refuse food despite being moved to another cell, saying her new cell lacks privacy, with even the toilet visible to guards.
After 16 days without food, Quynh appeared tired but was in good spirits, the Network said in its July 25 statement.
Contacted for confirmation, the U.S. State Department declined comment.
Call for attention
In an earlier statement on July 24, the Network had called on friends and supporters, the UN Human Rights Council, rights groups, and foreign embassies in Vietnam to pay urgent attention to Quynh’s case.
The Network urged that visits be organized to Quynh’s prison in Thanh Hoa province to demand information about her condition, adding that “letters of encouragement” should be sent to the jailed blogger and foreign governments persuaded to apply pressure on Vietnam to secure her release.
Quynh had blogged about human rights abuses and official corruption for more than a decade. She had also criticized the government’s response to a 2016 toxic waste spill by the Taiwan-owned Formosa Plastics Group that destroyed the livelihoods of tens of thousands of Vietnamese living in four coastal provinces.
Authorities have long targeted activist writers and bloggers in an ongoing crackdown in one-party Communist Vietnam, where dissent is not allowed.
Rights group Amnesty International estimates that at least 97 prisoners of conscience are currently held in Vietnam’s prisons, where many are subjected to torture or other ill-treatment.
Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by Viet Ha. Written in English by Richard Finney.