Last update: 15:25 | 29/01/2018
The Ministry of Information and Communications has summoned an American teacher who is now living in Hanoi for a bad-taste joke on Facebook about Vietnam’s late hero General Vo Nguyen Giap.
Daniel Hauer and his comment related to General Vo Nguyen Giap on Facebook
The letter from the Radio, Television and Electronic Information Department requested Daniel Hauer to attend the department on the morning of January 30 to explain his comment’s reference to General Vo Nguyen Giap.
Earlier, after the U23 team’s victory against Qatar in the 2018 AFC U23 Championship semifinal, Hauer commented in a Facebook group on Thursday where a member said that he would get a tattoo of the Vietnam flag on his chest if his post got over 1,000 likes and Vietnam’s football team won Uzbekistan in the final match.
Hauer's comment mocked the original post about the tattoo and ironically suggested that was nothing as he had a piercing of his penis that included a stud shaped like the head of General Vo Nguyen Giap, which led to strong public outrage.
After that, he posted a video, claiming that that was just a joke and did not intend to insult Vietnam and General Vo Nguyen Giap. He did not know that including General Giap's name in the joke would be such a serious offence.
After his public apology video, he complained in a private Facebook group that those people refusing to accept his apology and send him death threats were 'crazy nationalists.'
However, many have said that as someone that can speak and read Vietnamese, he should have been able to have understood the impact of his comment as he has been living in Vietnam for many years.
Deputy head of Radio, Television and Electronic Information Department Le Quang Tu Do said the department would discuss the issue in the meeting with him. He may face fine based on the government’s Decree174/2013/ND-CP issued in 2013. The decree stipulates that any person who distorts Vietnamese history, denies the nation’s revolutionary achievements or disrespects national heroes can be fined VND30-50 million (USD1,263-2,272).
Do added that the huge public criticism Hauer had faced was already a major punishment.
English centres in Hanoi where Hauer worked have said they have severed contracts with him over his ill-considered joke.