Stripped of citizenship and expelled

Pham Minh Hoang was forced from his home and put on a flight to Paris. Archive photo from 2011.

Vietnam has been accused of plumbing new depths by stripping an academic of his citizenship and forcibly deporting him.

Professor Pham Minh Hoang arrived in Paris on Sunday after police forced him from his home in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday and put him on a flight to France.

Critics said the government had wilfully violated Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by arbitrarily depriving Hoang of his Vietnamese nationality.

The maths lecturer and former political prisoner told well-wishers in Paris that he was distressed at being forced to leave Vietnam but had been left with no choice.

His wife, daughter and disabled brother have been left behind in Vietnam.

Propaganda against the state

Earlier this month, Hoang received a letter signed by President Tran Dai Quang informing him that his Vietnamese nationality had been revoked.

It accused him of violating Articles 88 and 91 of the criminal code, which prohibit the conduct of “propaganda against the state” and fleeing abroad to oppose the government.

As a holder of joint French-Vietnamese nationality, Hoang attempted to fight the decision by renouncing his French citizenship.

He was later informed by the French consulate that his legal efforts to stay in Vietnam had failed.

He had returned to live in Vietnam two decades ago after living and studying in France.

He was sentenced to 17 months in prison in 2010 on a charge of undermining national security and damaging the country’s image.

He has since continued to publish articles critical of the government on social media.

The Communist authorities have become increasingly intolerant of criticism, unleashing a wave of violence and arbitrary arrests against human rights campaigners and civil society activists.

They have also sought to force leading activists and bloggers into exile, putting pressure on a number of pro-democracy campaigners serving prison sentences.

This is thought to be the first time, however, that they have forcibly stripped a government critic of his Vietnamese nationality.