Land activists face prison in Vietnam – Asia Sentinel

HO CHI MINH CITY —  Late on a Tuesday evening, sitting four floors up in a Ho Chi Minh City cafe overlooking the city’s landmark opera house, a worried man who used the pseudonym Long had the look of someone who thought he was being watched. “I drove around the city for 45 minutes before heading here,” he said, hunched over and leaning forward on his seat in a restaurant that was almost empty. Looking around uneasily, he confided, “I wanted to make sure I wasn’t being followed.” At the heart of Long’s problems, and those of his fellow members of a Mennonite Church offshoot, are what they deem as unfair land seizures that see the government  turn over property over to companies as land for factories and apartments. Landowners frequently complain about unfair compensation and criticize the laws on land use, which they say are often abused by corrupt local officials.