Ever heard of Vietnam's Pham Minh Hoang?
Yet, everyone's rightfully heard of Cuba's Yoani Sanchez.
And Iran's Hossein Derakhshan has been all over the news pursuant to his 19-year prison sentence for "propagating against the regime" (in other words, blogging). Note both are from sanctioned countries.
Maybe that's because we're too busy trading, hand-holding and boosting the economy of the Vietnamese regime to take notice of Pham Minh Hoang.
Does that mean conditioning the lifting of sanctions to a regime's treatment of its citizens results in greater scrutiny?
Something for well-intentioned sanctions opponents to ponder.
According to Reporters Without Borders:
Vietnamese blogger charged with trying to topple government
Reporters Without Borders is appalled that the Vietnamese authorities announced at a news conference yesterday that they are charging blogger Pham Minh Hoang with "activities aimed at overthrowing the government" (article 79 of the criminal code) and membership of a "terrorist organization" (the banned opposition party Viet Tan).
A mathematics teacher at the Ho Chi Minh City Polytechnic School, Hoang was arrested on 13 August. He studied in France for many years and has French as well as Vietnamese nationality.
Reporters Without Borders condemns the government's systematic use of conspiracy theory to silence dissidents and calls on France and the European Union to press for Hoang's release, in line with the French government's recent pledge to defend online free expression.
Police cited 30 articles which Hoang posted on his blog under the pseudonym of Phan Kien Quoc and which are available on the Viet Tan website. They also accused him of organising 40 students into a group for training as future Viet Tan members.
His wife, Le Thi Kieu Oanh, is also accused of being a party member but is not being prosecuted because they have a very young child. Oanh denies being a Viet Tan member and insists that the sole reason for her husband's arrests was his opposition to bauxite mining by a Chinese company in the central highlands.
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