Vietnam arrests popular Facebook user for "anti-state" posts

HANOI (Reuters) - Police in Vietnam have arrested a well-known Facebook user over allegations of abusing democratic freedom and publishing posts against the state, state media reported on Thursday.

Truong Chau Huu Danh, 38, a former journalist, will be detained for three months for posts that the police said were abuses of freedom of speech and infringements on state interests, the Ho Chi Minh City police newspaper reported.

“Danh owns a Facebook page with nearly 168,000 followers and has got several anti-state posts, causing division of national unity,” the report added.

Danh’s arrest comes as the Vietnam government steps p a crackdown on activists ahead of a key party congress in January next year. Despite sweeping economic reform and increasing openness to social change, Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party tolerates little criticism.

Facebook, which serves about 60 million users in Vietnam as the main platform for both e-commerce and expressions of political dissent, is under constant government scrutiny.

In November, Reuters exclusively reported Vietnam had threatened to shut down Facebook in the country if it did not bow to government pressure to censor more local political content on its platform.

Vietnam has been widely rebuked for its tough moves to curb online dissent as public appetite for the Internet soars and Web users turn to blogs to read about issues that state-controlled media avoids.

Reporting by Phuong Nguyen; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan