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Vietnam jails noodle vendor who mocked minister’s lavish eating

CNN  — 

A noodle vendor in Vietnam well-known for imitating superstar chef “Salt Bae” to allegedly mock a prime authorities official was sentenced to 5 and a half years in jail on Thursday, police stated, after a court docket discovered him responsible of anti-state propaganda.

The conviction is the most recent in what rights teams say is the federal government’s wide-ranging try and silence voices essential of the ruling Vietnamese Communist Get together.

A video of Bui Tuan Lam, 39, went viral in November 2021 when it was posted days after a prime Vietnamese official was caught on digital camera consuming gold-encrusted steak on the London restaurant of the Turkish chef whose actual identify is Nusret Gökçe.

Lam, who described himself in a Fb submit uploaded alongside the video as “Inexperienced Onion Bae,” was arrested late final yr. On Thursday he was convicted of “making, storing, distributing, or disseminating data, paperwork, and gadgets towards the state,” the Danang police division stated after a one-day trial.

Alongside operating a beef noodle stall within the metropolis, Lam had publicly advocated for democracy in Vietnam and took part in lots of anti-China and pro-environment protests.

The Danang police division additionally cited Lam’s indictment as saying he had posted 19 articles and 25 movies on social media to “distort and smear the state.”

Lam’s lawyer couldn’t instantly be reached for remark.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, known as on the Vietnamese authorities to cease prosecuting Lam and others for criticizing the Vietnamese Communist Get together.

“The listing of posts and movies listed as ‘proof’ of Bui Tuan Lam’s ‘crimes’ exhibits the intense lengths to which the Vietnamese go to dam any kind of on-line criticism of the federal government,” Phil stated.

“For the Vietnamese management, even songs are a menace to their monopoly of energy,” he added.

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