Thursday 28 September 2023 – As news breaks that Hoàng Thi Minh Hồng has been formally sentenced to 3 years in prison under false charges of tax evasion, Hong’s colleagues and friends at 350.org express our deep sadness and continued, unwavering support.
Hong was sentenced today following her official trial in Ho Chi Minh City, where a fine of 100 million VND was also levied.
“We are deeply dismayed by Hong’s wrongful imprisonment, and in light of her formal sentencing today we reiterate our call for her prompt release and that of fellow climate advocates throughout Vietnam”, said 350.org Executive Director May Boeve. “Hong is a valued colleague whose lifelong commitment to justice and relentless efforts to improve our world are deeply recognized, and we will continue to support her throughout this difficult time. Despite this outcome, Hong’s unwavering dedication remains invaluable to the climate justice movement within Vietnam and beyond.”
Working closely with 350.org since the organizations early days, Hong has made a lasting impact on her colleagues and friends in the movement. Liangyi Chang, 350.org Asia Regional Manager said “Today, Hong along with her family and friends are standing together in strength at this difficult time. Today, the Vietnamese government sentenced Hong for her brave leadership. We will not slow our pace in pushing the government to provide just and inclusive processes for energy transitions everywhere, and we will continue to demand the release of Hong and many other Vietnamese climate leaders.”
Hong established an affiliate organization of 350.org known as the Center of Hands-on Actions and Networking for Growth and Environment (CHANGE), in 2013. CHANGE, with its numerous accomplishments, played a pivotal role in halting the development and funding of coal-fired power plants in Vietnam.
Hong’s sentencing comes at a critical moment in the climate fight. Vietnam, one of five countries most at risk from climate change, has pledged net zero carbon emissions by 2050 despite getting more than 50% of its energy from coal.
In December 2022, Vietnam entered a $15.5 billion Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) deal with the G7 countries as well as the EU, Norway and Denmark – a partnership designed to support the country’s rapid transition away from coal.
“Hong is a dedicated and fearless climate defender, and as a treasured colleague we will continue to offer her our utmost support. Her contributions to climate justice globally, and in her home country of Vietnam, are vital” said Norly Mercado, 350.org Asia Regional Director. “Vietnam’s ambitious climate goals – made more potent by the country’s position on the frontlines of climate impacts – have been achieved in no small part through the dedicated efforts of climate champions like Hong. The unjust imprisonment of fearless changemakers like Hong not only imperils initiatives within Vietnam such as its JETP deal, but also undermines the country’s vital role in shaping a fair and equitable response to the urgent climate crisis.”
Dang Dinh Bach is another high-profile climate activist currently serving a 5 year prison sentence under tax evasion charges in Vietnam. The pattern of wrongful detention of climate defenders currently sweeping Vietnam, and many other regions, is of utmost concern to all who stand for truth, justice and civil liberties. 350.org stands with all climate defenders who have been impacted by unjust imprisonment in Vietnam.