UPDATE as of 04/07: Trial Postponed for Vietnamese Arrested for China Broadcasts.
On Friday two Vietnamese men go on trial in Hanoi because the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) objected to short wave radio broadcasts they were beaming into China. This trial is the latest instance of a campaign to suppress Falun Gong in Vietnam—a campaign that Vietnamese government documents make clear the CCP has inspired.
The men, both of whom practice Falun Gong, used their broadcasts to inform the Chinese people of the twelve-year-long persecution of the spiritual practice.
The Epoch Times obtained a copy of the indictment against them. It makes clear that the Vietnamese government arrested the men in response to pressure from Beijing, applied through a May 30, 2010, diplomatic memo sent by the Chinese Embassy to the Vietnam Ministry of Public Security.
“The memo stated that the Police Department in China discovered radio signals coming from the Vietnamese territory containing the same content about Falun Gong as heard on the ‘Sound of Hope’ radio station,” the indictment read. “It was recommended that all illegal activities of Falun Gong individuals in the Vietnam territory must be charged and stopped.”
Vũ Đức Trung is the CEO of a high-tech company headquartered in Hanoi and a Falun Gong practitioner. According to the indictment, in April 2009 Trung installed short wave radios in the home of his brother-in-law, Le Van Thanh, and his father-in-law, Le Van Manh. The short-wave radios were then used to broadcast into China.
The Sound of Hope radio station mentioned in the indictment is a media partner of The Epoch Times. Since its inception in 2003 it has undercut the Communist Party’s efforts to control information in China, using shortwave broadcasts to deliver news directly to the Chinese people about China’s politics, economy, culture, and environment.
According to its website, Sound of Hope reaches tens of millions of people in China. It reports on human rights abuses, protests, and official corruption, and is not afraid of addressing one of the issues the Chinese regime most attempts to censor: the ongoing persecution of Falun Gong in China.
According to Allen Zeng, spokesperson for Sound of Hope, anyone may download Sound of Hope’s programs, as Trung and Thanh did.
Through interviews with Vietnamese Falun Gong practitioners and documentary evidence, The Epoch Times has pieced together a chronology of events leading up to and succeeding the arrest.
On June 10, 2010, Trung’s broadcasting equipment was confiscated.
Also on June 10 officers from the Bureau of Radio Frequency Management recorded a memo of “administrative offense” against Mr Thanh for using broadcasting devices without a permit, which violates Item 64, Article 1 of the Postal and Telecommunications Law.
On June 11, Trung, his brother-in-law, who is also a Falun Gong practitioner, and his father-in-law were arrested.
On June 19, the stakes were raised as, in addition to this administrative action, criminal charges were filed under Vietnam’s Article 226, which prohibits “transmitting information illegally onto the telecommunications network.”
The three men were detained without bail. Their families were told they could not visit, because the charges were said to be political in nature.
On Sept. 1 the father-in-law, Mr. Manh, was released from custody. Mr. Trung and Mr. Thanh remain in prison.
In early 2011, the People’s Police magazine published an article claiming that Trung’s short wave broadcasts had interfered with air traffic control and damaged Vietnam’s diplomatic relations.
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