Former Vietnamese police officer Ta Phong Tan has done nothing worse than criticizing her government's regime in some on-line blogs. And yet, she faces a possible twenty years in prison on charges of "propaganda against the state." Such charges are more or less equal to treason under Vietnam law.
Ta Phong Tan is a former police officer and a former member of the Communist Party which is currently in power in Vietnam. It's a stretch to call such a law-abiding citizen a dissident. She lodged her disagreements with her government in the most peaceful way possible--blogging on the "Free Journalists' Club" website. There she criticized government overspending, advocated for rural Vietnamese, and urged Vietnam not to get into bed with China. Tell Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang to free Ta Phong Tan and other bloggers whose only crime is to express differences of opinion with government actions!
We the undersigned deplore the arrest and imprisonment of Ta Phong Tan and other peaceful activists who have done nothing wrong--only expressed criticism of their government.
Whether Ta Phong Tan was correct in urging Vietnam to resist Chinese influence is not the point. Any self-respecting government should afford its citizens the right to disagree with prevailing government policy. By imprisoning those who express dissent and labeling them traitors, Vietnam is moving in the direction of dictatorship and away from democracy.
We respectfully urge you to immediately release Ta Phong Tan and any other bloggers who have done nothing worse than to criticize your government!
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