Ho Chi Minh City police arrested Nguyen Dan Que Saturday for 'keeping and distributing documents calling for overthrow of the government,' the government-run website chinhphu.vn reported.

Que, whose pro-democracy activism dates back to the 1970s, last week published a text calling for a public uprising to demand more freedom and criticized the manhandling of a US diplomat.

Police raided Que's home Saturday, found more than 60,000 anti-government documents on his computer and made the arrest, officials told reporters.

Que admitted distributing 'a number of reactionary and hostile elements in the country and abroad with the aim to call for strikes to bring down the regime,' the state-run newspaper Viet Nam News said.

The Washington Post in the United States ran an article Saturday by Que, which condemned the Vietnamese government for an attack on US diplomat Christian Marchant when he tried to visit a dissident under house arrest.

Que on Thursday also released a document titled 'Doctor Nguyen Dan Que's appeal to all people,' calling on the public to rise up and demand greater religious and political freedoms.

Police said Que's action directly threatened the stability of the state and 'the socio-economic development' of the country.

Que, a professor of medicine specialized in the study of hormones, is head of the Non-Violent Movement for Human Rights in Vietnam. He has spent a total of 20 years in prison for his activism.

The government has been monitoring dissidents and critics particularly closely amid unrest across the Middle East and North Africa as uprisings have toppled the Tunisian and Egyptian governments.

Deutsche Presse Agentur - February 28, 2011