Vietnamese influencer deletes comments after backlash against Britain’s queen

Chau Bui had expressed sympathy over Queen Elizabeth II’s death but was accused of ignoring Vietnam’s history.
By RFA Vietnamese
Vietnamese influencer deletes comments after backlash against Britain’s queen Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence and Britain's Princess Anne stand solemnly as the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped with the Royal Standard of Scotland, completes its journey from Balmoral to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, in Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain September 11, 2022.

A Vietnamese actress and model has received an online backlash after expressing grief over the death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.

Artist Chau Bui, 24, has an Instagram following of more than 3 million people.

In her online status she included a quote from the former monarch, followed by the comment "Farewell to you."

Online critics accused Bui of loving all things foreign and forgetting Vietnam’s history as well as the attitude of the British Royal Family towards Vietnam in the past.

One comment that received many ‘Likes’ said Queen Elizabeth had "twice supported the French in its invasion of Vietnam" and accused Chau Bui of not understanding her nation's history.

Hanoi-based lawyer Tran Dai Lam said the negative comments were misguided.

“In the UK, the royal family only play a role as a national symbol, they play very little role in political decisions, so to say that she supported… France is very ambiguous.”

Lam said when the French invaded Vietnam for the first time, on September 1, 1858, the Queen was not yet born, so she could not have supported it. When the French invaded Vietnam for the second time, on September 23, 1945, she was only 19-years-old and was not yet Queen.

He said during her reign Queen Elizabeth also contributed a lot in returning British colonies to the people of many countries, so to say she supported invasion and colonization showed a lack of historical knowledge.

Former military intelligence officer Vu Minh Tri said millions of people around the world have expressed their condolences, not just Chau Bui.

 “Surely in the next few days, senior leaders of the State of Vietnam will send condolences to the Royal Family and the British Government on the passing of Queen Elizabeth,” he said, adding that he understood why some people may not share that view.

“Queen Elizabeth is respected and appreciated for her lifelong dedication to… the British people. That dedication, if it harms any other country, is understandable. She is not the queen of the whole world.”

After receiving many objections to her comments, Chau Bui deleted or hid her status and apologized for her "reckless" statements.

 “Chau Bui is very young,” Tri said. “Her right to freedom of expression must be respected, especially when she speaks in a personal capacity. Anyone who wants to mention that the Queen of England supported France in the Indochina war, should just speak out publicly and not make Chau Bui speak for them."

Lam said he was not surprised by the self-censorship of artists in Vietnam because they do not want to offend their fans.

“It is not too difficult to understand that the majority of netizens who oppose Queen Elizabeth are young people. These people have a lot of enthusiasm but a lack of culture, so it is common sense for the artist to censor herself to avoid wasting time arguing,” said the lawyer.

Vietnamese writer Vo Thi Hao, who lives in Germany, said she read some comments about Chau Bui's status and felt "shocked and fearful" because of the attempt to silence her.

"In recent years, Vietnam's security and propaganda agencies have used the force of influencers to use social networks to attack, in order to enslave, divide, and cause hatred between people and nations," she said.

Hao said artists and writers who dare to speak the truth in Vietnam, have been subjected to threats, subject to censorship and even imprisonment. Vietnamese authorities use censorship and inhumane laws to “imprison and assassinate culture and knowledge,” she said, adding that self-censorship was not uncommon given the political climate.


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