Nguyen Chi Thien: Dissident poet
Saturday 13 October 2012
Nguyen Chi Thien, who died on 2 October aged 73 at a hospital in Santa Ana, California, was a Vietnamese dissident poet who spent nearly 30 years in communist prisons in his native country. Thien had contracted tuberculosis while in Vietnamese prison, and doctors were investigating a large mass in his lung in the days before he died.
Thien first went to prison in 1960 after telling Vietnamese high school students that, contrary to their textbooks, the end of the Second World War was not the result of a Soviet attack, but rather US nuclear attacks in Japan. He was later imprisoned again because of poems he wrote that decried communist oppression. But because of a lack of evidence, he never went to trial.
In 1977, Thien was released from prison long enough to write down poems he had memorised in captivity, a manuscript that became known as Flowers of Hell. The poems were published in Vietnamese after he hand-delivered them to British diplomats at their embassy in Hanoi. When he exited the embassy, security agents were awaiting him and he was sent back to prison. While he was still imprisoned, Thien won the International Poetry Award in Rotterdam in 1985. He was released from prison in 1991 and travelled to the US in 1995, and later France, before settling in Orange County's Little Saigon.
- 1 Forget 'The Dress': Here are five of the biggest news stories you might have missed
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 Saudi Muslim cleric claims the Earth is 'stationary' and the sun rotates around it
British are sexually uptight, dirty and drink too much – according to Spanish book
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
White and gold or blue and black – what colour is the dress? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
Saudi Muslim cleric claims the Earth is 'stationary' and the sun rotates around it
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...
£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...
£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...