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Vietnam pulls the plug on online dissent|
Vietnam pulls the plug on online dissent
May 12 2004 at 01:38PM
Hanoi - Vietnam has introduced tough new laws regulating the use of the Internet in an apparent attempt to silence online dissent.
The Ministry of Public Security's mouthpiece, the An Ninh The Gioi, said on Wednesday that the new rules were necessary "to tighten the management of Internet operations".
Under decision No. 71, which came into force in March, taking advantage of the Internet to disrupt "social order and safety" or to breach the communist nation's "fine customs and traditions" are "strictly forbidden".
"Storing on Internet-connected computers information, materials or data classified as state secrets," is also prohibited.
Furthermore, accessing foreign Internet Service Providers to visit websites firewalled by the authoritarian regime is outlawed.
Internet cafe owners must also comply with a lengthy list of regulations or face legal action. They include recording "full and detailed information" about all their customers.
Only around 3,2 percent of Vietnam's 80 million people surf the Internet, mainly through cyber-cafes. Many analysts believe the biggest constraint on the growth in Internet usage is Hanoi's desire to control and censor the online world to prevent it from being used as an anti-government tool.
The new rules follow a June 2002 decree by Prime Minister Phan Van Khai that ordered all Internet cafes take action to prevent access to pornographic sites and those that revealed "state secrets" and "reactionary documents".
On May 5, Vietnamese cyber-dissident Nguyen Vu Binh had his seven-year jail sentence and three-year house arrest order for espionage upheld.
He was found guilty on December 31, 2003 of communicating with overseas "reactionary" organisations as well as writing articles and sharing information that "distorted the party and state policies".
Binh, who denied all charges, was detained in September 2002 after posting an article on the Internet criticising a controversial Vietnam-China land border accord.
The 35-year-old pro-democracy advocate was the latest in a series of journalists and intellectuals to have been arrested and tried over the past two years for using the Internet to voice dissenting opinions.
International human rights groups have accused Hanoi of using national security as a pretext to silence criticism of the one-party regime.
Coibộ xứsở ta cònlâu mới đuổikịp xứngười.
Trướcđây tôi nghĩ chắc 45 năm nữa nướcta sẽ đuổikịp Mỹ nếu ta tiếp tục cảicách và mởcửa.
Giờthì tôi nghĩa phải 75 năm nữa.
Các vị lãnhlạo nhànước và đảng ở Việtnam, cóphải ông già rồi chăng?