Government critic stripped of citizenship

Pham Minh Hoang served 17 months in prison after a trial in 2011.

The government has formally notified a former political prisoner, Pham Minh Hoang, that he is being stripped of Vietnamese citizenship for his continued criticism of government policies.

The mathematics lecturer from Ho Chi Minh City, who also holds French nationality, said he now expected to be expelled – but would continue the legal fight to remain for as long as he could.

Hoang was informed by the French consulate in Ho Chi Minh City last week that President Tran Dai Quang had already signed the order.

He has taken steps to renounce his French nationality in an attempt to forestall the Vietnamese decision.

The 62-year-old academic served 17 months in prison after being convicted on subversion charges in 2011.

President Quang’s letter accused him of violating Article 88 of the criminal code, which forbids conducting “propaganda against the state” and Article 91, which criminalises moving abroad to oppose the government.

Hoang has continued to write social media posts criticising government policies since his release from prison.

He denies the charge that he has tarnished the government’s image and sought to overthrow the administration through subversive posts.

He says he is desperate to stay in Vietnam where he needs to look after elderly family members.

Hoang lived in France for 27 years after arriving as a student in 1973 but has since made his home in Vietnam.

It is the first time that the Vietnamese authorities have revoked the citizenship of a government critic.

The government, however, has sought to exile dissidents already serving prison sentences in an attempt to diminish their influence on the Vietnamese people.