An eyewitness in Vietnam described how plainclothes and uniformed police beat and hauled away about 50 Falun Gong practitioners Tuesday. The practitioners were meditating on the sidewalk outside the Chinese Embassy, in protest of the detention and impending trial of Vu Duc Trung and Le Van Thanh.
“They focused on beating the practitioners who attempted to take photos,” wrote an eyewitness in a note to The Epoch Times. She recounted how some were grabbed by the hair and pulled around, or hit by plainclothes police.
“The thugs gathered around me,” she wrote. “Those in front of me beat me in the face several times until my glasses fell to the ground. Those behind me beat me on the neck many times.”
Practitioners began gathering quietly outside the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. About 20 minutes later police turned up and first tried to break up the group by dumping dirty water or “filthy stuff” on them. The meditators did not move.
By 9:20 a.m. two police buses had arrived. According to the witness, who herself escaped capture, the practitioners sitting down were picked up and forced into the buses and taken to a small stadium at 19a Hoang Dieu Street, which is nearby.
The witness was later told that the individuals arrested were taken to the Loc Ha detention center in Dong Anh, which is 10 miles from Hanoi.
The practitioners had gathered in silent protest against the detention of Vu Duc Trung and Le Van Thanh, two practitioners of the Chinese spiritual discipline who ran radio broadcasts into China in their spare time.
Trung and Thanh have been in custody for the last 17 months for broadcasting uncensored news—particularly about human rights abuses in China—into the mainland. Their broadcasts included updates about the persecution of Falun Gong in China, which has been ongoing since 1999 when the Communist Party leader banned the practice and marshaled vast resources in a comprehensive campaign that has extended outside China’s borders.
The Chinese Communist Party put pressure on the Vietnamese authorities and the two men were then detained. Twice their day in court has been put off because of international support for the men. A trial is scheduled for this Thursday.