Public sympathy deepens over assaulted blogger, authorities remain silent

Shortly after activist Nguyen Chi Tuyen (a.k.a. Anh Chi) was assaulted on May 11 by a group of thugs in an allegedly state-sponsored attack, a tremendous public uproar was created and heightened with many netizens expressing their anger on social media networks and having their avatar change into Nguyen Chi Tuyen’s bloody head and face.

Mr. Felix Schwarz, Political Counselor and Consul at the German Embassy in Vietnam, was said to be the first foreign diplomat to visit Tuyen at his residence on May 12.

Mr. Felix Schwarz (right) was visiting Nguyen Chi Tuyen.

Mr. Felix Schwarz (right) was visiting Nguyen Chi Tuyen.

Ms. Jenifer Neidhart de Ortiz, Political Officer at the US. Embassy, and her counterpart at the Australian Embassy, Ms. Rose McConnell, also visited Tuyen on May 14.

The diplomats expressed their concern over the abuse of violence as a tactic to curb dissent voices in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, many Vietnamese facebookers have changed their avatar into the injured Nguyen Chi Tuyen’s portrait, stating “we are Nguyen Chi Tuyen”, to show their sympathy and support for him. Financial donations were also made among the bloggers’ community inside the country and the Vietnamese diaspora in support of Tuyen.

US. Congressman Alan Lowenthal on May 13 wrote a letter to Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, urging them to “immediately denounce” the attack and “make all efforts to investigate this crime.” “Violence cannot be tolerated in any form, and violence committed to silence dissenting voices is especially disturbing,” said the Congressman.

Right on the day of the attack against Nguyen Chi Tuyen, Californian Senator Janet Nguyen called on the US. Embassador in Vietnam and Human Rights Watch to investigate the brutal attack.

The Vietnamese authorities, on the contrary, remain silent amidst the public outcry over the assault. Nor have they responded to any accusation that the government-hired police were behind the crime.

On his part, Nguyen Chi Tuyen expressed on his Facebook page the thankfulness to those who had supported him, and made a straightforward statement toward his adversaries, “To whom it may relate. My body can be destroyed and vanished but my will never dies!”