Vietnam Environmental Activists Face Crackdown, Jailed for Tax Evasion

Vietnam’s crackdown on environmental activists has intensified, with several individuals being jailed for tax evasion. Hoang Thi Minh Hong became the fifth environmentalist to be imprisoned for tax evasion, despite closing her NGO and maintaining a low profile. Last month, Ngo Thi To Nhien, director of an independent energy policy think tank, was also arrested on charges of appropriating documents from a state-owned power firm. The Vietnamese government’s focus on environmental activists is seen as an attempt to silence opposition and assert control over public concerns.

Experts believe that environmental activism poses a unique threat in Vietnam as it targets powerful economic interests closely affiliated with state power. The arrests began in 2021 with the detention of Dang Dinh Bach, a legal adviser and NGO worker who worked on coal issues. Bach’s wife, Tran Phuong Thao, claims that fabricated evidence was used to sentence him to five years in prison. Nguy Thi Khanh, founder of Green ID, a prominent environmental organization, was also jailed for challenging Hanoi’s plans to increase coal power.

The 88 Project, an organization advocating for freedom of expression in Vietnam, found “serious irregularities” in the application of criminal procedures and sentences for Bach, Khanh, and two other jailed environmental activists. While Khanh and Mai Phan Loi have been released, Bach remains in prison and has faced intimidation and beatings. Authorities have threatened to confiscate his wife’s apartment if he does not repay the alleged debt.

The United States expressed deep concern over Hong’s conviction and urged Vietnam to ensure its actions align with international commitments, including consulting with non-government stakeholders as part of the Just Energy Transition Partnership. However, the International Partners Group (IPG), a coalition of donors supporting the partnership, has shown little indication of viewing the arrests as jeopardizing the agreement. Despite this, Vietnam’s environmental activists remain worried about their safety and the future of their work.


Author: CrimeDoor

Leave a Reply

Share on:

[mailpoet_form id="1"]

Subscribe to Our Newsletter