Jailed Vietnamese Catholic activist ends hunger strike

IMAGE: CNS photo/Vietnam News Agency via EPA


HANOI, Vietnam (CNS) — A prominent Catholic blogger
and activist ended a two-week hunger strike in a Vietnamese prison after she met
with visiting U.S. diplomats, local bloggers reported.

Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, 39, stopped her strike after
the visit July 23, ucanews.com reported, after the Network of Vietnamese
Bloggers released a statement July 25.

The bloggers said Quynh, who is
known as “Mother Mushroom,” appeared “very tired but was
of sound mind after she was on hunger strike for 16 days.”

Quynh in June 2016 began serving a 10-year jail sentence for publishing anti-government writings
and fighting for prisoners of conscience. She began her hunger strike on July 6
to protest being mistreated at a prison camp in the northern province of Thanh Hoa, about 745 miles
from her home in Khanh Hoa

The mother of two has undertaken
hunger strikes three times to protest mistreatment, including food poisoning, since she was moved to the camp in January from Nha Trang, her hometown.

The bloggers said they have called
on foreign embassies in Vietnam and international human rights organizations to
visit Quynh in the prison as a way of pressuring the state.

The bloggers said European Union
representatives already have asked the government whether they can visit Quynh. It is
believed that the government has yet to reply to the request.

Quynh had criticized the
government’s human rights abuses and corruption. She investigated and published
widely on environmental protection, public health, correctional reform and
anti-torture efforts. She also was critical of Vietnam’s foreign policy toward
China over disputed islands in the South China Sea.

The Sweden-based Civil Rights
Defenders last year described her arrest and ongoing detention “as nothing
more than persecution against her courageous defense of human rights.”

Human Rights Watch criticized the Vietnamese
government’s rights record in a recent submission to the U.N.’s Human Rights

“Vietnam seems to be contending
for the title of one of Asia’s most repressive governments,” said Phil
Robertson, the organization’s deputy Asia director.

During the first seven months of
2018, the government convicted and imprisoned at least 27 rights bloggers and
activists under various laws.

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The original story can be found at www.ucanews.com/news/jailed-vietnamese-catholic-activist-ends-hunger-strike/82934

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