Pham Chi Dung
Like others who have seen nomenklatura corruption up close, Pham Chi Dung returned his party card. Instead he devoted himself to writing and developing a critique of Vietnam’s political class, which he knows inside out. He was a military officer for many years and was an aide to Truong Tan Sang in Ho Chin Minh City before Sang became president in 2011. He has written about public security and the dominant cultural, economic and religious ideology. He was arrested on charges of “conspiring to overthrow the government” and “anti-government propaganda” in July 2012 in connection with articles about corruption and the government’s shortcomings, but the investigation was abandoned and he was released seven months later. His PhD in economics, his 11 books and his many interviews for the BBC, RFI and Radio Free Asia still do not protect him. His passport was confiscated as he was about to board a flight to Geneva in February 2014 to attend a conference on rights and freedoms in Vietnam.