Bui Thanh Hieu (Foto: ©Simone Ahrend, sah-photo)
Bui Thanh Hieu, born in Hanoi/Vietnam in 1972, is one of the best known bloggers in his country. He goes by the name “Nguoi Buon Gio“ (The Wind Dealer) and has been commenting on political development and social themes since 2005. Due to his activities, the license for his internet café in Hanoi was revoked. Since then, he has been arrested repeatedly and subjected to reprisals. Even though the government tries to block access to his site with a firewall, his blog is read by many (up to 54,000 visitors per day). In his blogs he documents human rights violations through films, photos and short texts. In 2011, he organized a protest in front of the detention center to demand the release of demonstrators. He supported the families of those politically prosecuted and provided lawyers for political trials. Because of his commitment, he was arrested and detained on numerous occasions; the last time was in January 2013. Excerpts of his notes on his experience can also be read in German. Here he depicts, in a somewhat surprisingly humorous way, daily life in custody. His short stories are also full of wit, satire and irony. In January 2013, Bui Thanh Hieu reported in Vietnam on the trial against 14 dissidents and was arrested a few days later. Upon invitation of the city of Weimar, he could finally leave the country. There he worked on his book The Wondrous Journey from Hanoi to Weimar. From October 2013 until March 2017, he participated in the PEN Writers in Exile Program of PEN Germany. Since his arrival in Germany, he has written three novels. Speaking in Silence was published by the Dutch EvaTasFoundation in 2015. In 2016, Đại Vệ Chí Dị (short stories from the land of the Vệ) was published by the German-Vietnamese publishing house VIPEN in Berlin. The first book he wrote after his arrival in Germany describing his journey from Hanoi/Vietnam to this country is to be published in 2017.