Another member of “Green Hanoi” assaulted and injured

Hanoi – At 7:30 AM on 5/11/15, Mr. Nguyen Chi Tuyen (a.k.a. blogger Anh Chi), a human rights activist in Hanoi, was suddenly attacked by 5 masked men while he was taking his kid to school on Ngoc Thuy St. in Long Bien District.

anhchi

The men in mask used iron bars to beat Mr. Tuyen all over his body and caused serious injuries. Doctor’s report indicated “facial and clothes covered in blood… Tear on skin tissue on top of the head, seemingly crushed and tear at 6cm length, bleeding… Other injuries on facial soft tissue observed… Multiple bruises on face areas, which appear to be painful and swelling.” There are bruises in multiple places on his arms and legs as well.

Mr. Tuyen was beaten unconscious at the scene. He regained conscious later and called for help. Members of the “Green Hanoi” group were notified and called an ambulance to rush him to the hospital. Fortunately, the attack does not affect his brain. Mr. Tuyen was discharged from the hospital with six stitches on his head.

Mr. Tuyen was very active in activities aim to protect trees from being cut down in Hanoi. He was always in the frontline in peaceful demonstrations and walks to protect trees and request transparency in developing policies leading to the cutting of trees. Mr. Tuyen always extends his help and raise his voice to protect to students and young people whenever they are harassed by police and school faculties due to their participation in social activities.

anhchi-2Recently, Mr. Tuyen is remembered by the tree loving people of Hanoi as a “the nice bearded man in brown traditional clothing,” who delivered a memorial speech at the vigil on the night of 3/22, held at the location where the trees were chopped down on Nguyen Chi Thanh Street.

Mr. Tuyen is also a member of the No-U soccer club ever since the first day the club was founded.

Due to his participation in environmental and human rights activities, Mr. Tuyen has long been subjected to police intimidation and harassment. During the period in which regular tree protests were taking place on weekends in Hanoi, Mr. Tuyen was consistently being watched at his residence by dozens of police and civil defense officers. He was trapped in his house and forbidden to leave. At one time, he distributed free “I Love Trees” t-shirts to students at a lake-park, and his name was specifically called by police over speakers, asking him to cease his activity.

Since the beginning of this year, Hanoi officially executed their plan to cut and replace 6708 green trees in the capital’s vicinity. The process started since last November with a number of mahogany trees on Nguyen Trai streets being cut down. The so-called 6708-Plan faces widespread oppositions from different classes in society not only because of the mass assault on Hanoi’s classic beauty, but also due to the lack of transparency and responsibility from the officials as the plan is being carried out.

Tree lovers have repeatedly protested and requested transparency by sending mails to Hanoi People’s Committee, requesting National Assembly representatives to oversee and closely examining the process, and staging peaceful marches. Up until now, however, the government has not responded to any request or comment on any opposition from the people. In the meantime, the tree inspection process is still ongoing.

Anh Chi in a demonstration for saving trees in Hanoi, April 2015.

Anh Chi in a demonstration for saving trees in Hanoi, April 2015.

It is worth noting that although the authority claims that they have halted the cutting of trees, other acts such as harassment and threats of violence are on the rise toward people who advocate for a green environment. Many students from schools and colleges who participated in the tree protection movement were bothered and threatened by school faculties, local officials, and police. Less than a month ago on 4/22, one of the administrators of the Green Hanoi Mr. Trinh Anh Tuan (a.k.a facebooker Gio Lang Thang) was also ambushed and attacked at CoLinh Street in Long Bien District.

(Vietnamese version by Doan Trang, translated by Con Duong Viet Nam)