Before meeting with Nguyen Phu Trong, Obama holds talk with Dieu Cay - Dân Làm Báo

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Before meeting with Nguyen Phu Trong, Obama holds talk with Dieu Cay

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US President Barack Obama has held a talk with blogger Nguyen Van Hai (aka. Dieu Cay), who used to be considered “anti-state” and sentenced to almost 15 years of imprisonment by the communist government of Vietnam. 

The meeting is particularly significant when it takes place before Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of the Vietnamese Communist Party, pays his visit to the United States in May.

The meeting between blogger Dieu Cay and President Obama took place at the White House at 10:55 a.m. Friday (EDT).

Some journalists who were victims of political repression in other countries also attended the meeting, which aimed to celebrate the Word Press Freedom Day on May 3.

In a statement on the 2012 World Press Freedom Day, President Obama said, “… We must not forget others like blogger Dieu Cay, whose 2008 arrest coincided with a mass crackdown on citizen journalism in Vietnam.”

Tremendous efforts to advocate for Dieu Cay’s release made the communist Vietnamese authorities expel Dieu Cay to the United States last December. Despite the exile, Dieu Cay maintained his efforts to fight for freedom of expression and the release of prisoners of conscience in Vietnam. 

The State Department on April 27 announced the launch of its “Free the Press” campaign and urged the Vietnamese communist government to release immediately blogger Ta Phong Tan, member of the Vietnam Network of Free Journalists, who is still being jailed.

The talk between the former Vietnamese prisoner of conscience and President Obama at the White House is a remarkable event, given the forthcoming visit by the VCP’s General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong to the United States. 

So far, diplomatic formalities for the leader of the VCP remain a controversial topic. The communists insist that President Obama should give Nguyen Phu Trong a formal reception at the Oval Office as he does to heads of state.

Though the diplomatic formalities for Nguyen Phu Trong have not been decided yet, the meeting between President Obama and blogger Dieu Cay, who is considered “anti-state” by the communist regime, is obviously a slap in the face of Nguyen Phu Trong and the ruling communist party in Vietnam. 

Photo: (left to right) Blogger Dieu Cay, President Barack Obama, Ms. Simegnish "Lily" Mengesha from Ethiopia at the meeting in Roosevelt Hall, the White House (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

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