Mother Mushroom: how Vietnam locked up its most famous blogger

By posted on July 21, 2020 3:00AM

One of Vietnam’s maximum influential political bloggers, given a courage award with the aid of Melania Trump, faces a decade behind bars for her ‘reactionary’ paintings
Each man or woman handiest has a lifestyle, but if I had the risk to pick out once more I would nonetheless choose my way.”

They are the phrases of certainly one of Vietnam’s maximum influential bloggers — recognized through her online pseudonym, Mother Mushroom — minutes before she turned into passed the shock sentence of a decade in prison. Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh directed her defiant remarks at her 61-year-old mom, who turned into looking a stay feed in a room round the corner as she turned into now not permitted into the court.

The 37-12 months-old changed into accused of defaming Vietnam’s communist regime in her blogs and interviews with overseas media.

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“I clapped my hands inside the room, in which 20 safety officials checked out me with very angry eyes, however, I was not afraid; I became OK, very pleased with her,” stated Nguyen Thi Tuyet Lan.

Arrested in October at the same time as attempting to go to some other dissident in prison, Quynh, 37, has already spent 9 months in the back of bars, in what her lawyer stated had been desperate conditions.

She subsisted only on a food regimen of anchovies and spinach soup for the primary seven months, and was denied each sanitary pads and undies, Vo An Don stated.

After Quynh was arrested on 10 October, her mother heard nothing approximately her whereabouts or health until a brief reunion in jail hours earlier than her 29 June trial for crimes in opposition to the state.

The months had taken their toll on her daughter, Lan informed the Guardian in a phone interview from her home in the southern coastal town of Nha Trang. Quynh appeared sickly at some stage in their assembly, she said.

“I stated: ‘My expensive daughter, now I believe you’re still alive.’ But she appeared vulnerable with very pale skin,” she brought.

Vietnam is infamous for its limits on freedom of expression, but Mother Mushroom’s detention and unusually lengthy sentence raised sparkling alarm many of the United states running a blog network, which avoids the censorship of state manage print media. The US Kingdom branch quickly called for all prisoners of the sense of right and wrong to be launched without delay.

While Quynh has been branded a “reactionary” by means of the nation for her anti-authorities blogging, her buddies and own family shield her as a champion of free expression in a rustic where dissent towards unmarried-celebration rule is outlawed.

“My daughter has achieved an ordinary aspect in an atypical society, so she has to pay the rate of prison and being denounced,” Lan stated.

Quynh rose to repute in Vietnam’s blogosphere in the overdue 2000s for her doggedly impartial citizen journalism. A founding member of the underground Vietnamese Bloggers Network, she is especially passionate about environmentalism, police brutality and Vietnam’s dispute with China over control of the South China Sea.

Lan said her daughter’s political awakening began after analyzing overseas languages in university.

Upon coming across the pluralistic online global, Quynh got here to her mom with tough questions.

“She requested me: ‘Mum, do this or that [about the government]?’ I stated I did, she questioned me, ‘Why didn’t you tell me?’” recalled Lan.

“I advised her I knew, but in this society, we are living in, it isn’t always the society wherein you could communicate out, and they’ll denounce you.”



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