If you go to YouTube right now you can easily find footage from most of the stops along the ongoing Beijing Olympic Sacred Flame torch relay.
Come next Tuesday, however, what you might not be seeing on YouTube is any cellphone-shot footage of human rights protests uploaded by Vietnamese bloggers as the Olympic torch makes its way through Ho Chi Minh City; Nguyen Van Hai, a prominent citizen reporter there who blogs under the name Dieu Cay, was arrested this past week as he led efforts to organize local bloggers to follow the torch's passing.
One world, one voice?
Some are saying that Nguyen's arrest comes as Chinese authorities have been putting pressure on their Vietnamese counterparts to keep Beijing's sacred flame procession as harmonious as possible, a goal which apparently now requires everything from death threats to readiness to shoot to kill.
RSF made a call upon the Vietnamese government this week to release all prisoners of conscience, many of whom once blogged, before the Olympic torch arrives on April 29:
Bloc 8406 members Huynh Nguyen Dao, Le Nguyen Sang and Nguyen Bac Truyen have been sentenced to jail terms of three, four and two years respectively on charges of “propaganda hostile to the government” in what they posted online.
In one video of Dieu currently found on YouTube, he looks to be hearing out a group of women's grievances; in another, part of a set uploaded late last winter, someone can be seen being confronted and then ushered away by police while Dieu and friends film the scene from nearby: