Bloomberg the Company & Products

Bloomberg Anywhere Login

Bloomberg

Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world.

Company

Financial Products

Enterprise Products

Media

Customer Support

  • Americas

    +1 212 318 2000

  • Europe, Middle East, & Africa

    +44 20 7330 7500

  • Asia Pacific

    +65 6212 1000

Communications

Industry Products

Media Services

Follow Us

Vietnam Says U.S. Official Punched Bystander, Made ‘Disturbance’

Don't Miss Out —
Follow us on:

Jan. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Vietnam’s state-run media said an American diplomat created a "public disturbance" and punched a bystander in the face this week, escalating a diplomatic dispute after the U.S. protested his treatment.

U.S. Embassy Officer Christian Marchant yelled obscenities in English and Vietnamese Jan. 5 after local authorities approached him in the central city of Hue, the Thanh Nien newspaper reported today. Marchant was in Hue to visit a dissident Catholic priest, the American embassy said.

The U.S. "lodged a strong, official protest" following a "clear violation of international law," embassy spokesman Christopher Hodges said by phone yesterday without giving details. Police wrestled Marchant to the ground as he tried to visit Catholic priest Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly, a human-rights advocate under house arrest, Radio Free Asia said yesterday.

The row with the U.S. takes place amid increased international focus on Vietnam ahead of the Communist Party Congress next week, which will choose the country’s top leaders. New York-based Human Rights Watch last year called on Vietnam to end what it called an ongoing crackdown on lawyers and rights activists.

Vietnamese authorities are reviewing the Jan. 5 incident, the foreign ministry said yesterday.

Vietnam has convicted or arrested 39 political dissidents since October 2009, according to the U.S. State Department. Reporters Without Borders ranked Vietnam 165 out of 178 in its 2010 Press Freedom Index, and lists the country as one of 15 "Internet Enemies" for imprisoning bloggers and censoring political expression.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bloomberg News in Hanoi at oha3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg in Hong Kong at phirschberg@bloomberg.net

Please upgrade your Browser

Your browser is out-of-date. Please download one of these excellent browsers:

Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera or Internet Explorer.