One of Vietnam’s most influential bloggers, Huynh Ngoc Chenh does not hesitate to criticize the government and defend freedom of expression.
Born in 1952 in the central province of Da Nang, Chenh joined the newspaper Thanh Nien in 1992, first as a reporter and then in senior positions until his retirement in April 2012. He began blogging on Yahoo 360 in 2008 before migrating to Blogspot in 2011.
He blogs about democracy, human rights and anti-Chinese demonstrations over the territorial disputes in the South China Sea. His blog currently gets about 15,000 readers a day although it is blocked in Vietnam. Internet users in Vietnam have to use VPN-type software to circumvent the censorship and read his blog. While still a journalist, he was warned about what he was posting on his earlier blogs, which were repeatedly closed.
His departure from the newspaper has given him more time to blog, which has led to more harassment and threats from the authorities. Nowadays he is tailed and his phone is tapped.
On 9 December 2012, he was prevented from taking part in an anti-Chinese demonstration in Saigon that was organized by a number of current and former government officials.
Despite all these problems, he continues to write and to answer questions from the foreign media on Vietnam’s most sensitive subjects.
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