Writer Nguyen Quang Lap was detained after police searched his house on Saturday morning and printed several stories from his blog, said Ho Thi Hong, Lap's wife.

"The articles are written by others, and they said some are against the state," Hong said.

Lap's blog could not be accessed as it requires an invitation.

The case follows a sharp increase in arrests and prison terms for government critics in the past few years that has alarmed the United States, a former enemy that is struggling to build a case for deeper trade ties with a country steadfast in its intolerance of dissent.

Lap's detention is the second in the past week. Last Saturday the Police Ministry said blogger Hong Le Tho was detained for posting "bad content" about the state.

In October, Vietnam released jailed blogger Nguyen Van Hai, who staged a hunger strike to protest treatment of political prisoners.

The popularity of political blogs has grown with increasing Internet usage in the country and simmering discontent over the Communist government's handling of a stale economy and rampant graft.

The Internet has been used as one of only a few channels for dissent in a country where protests are rare and the media is tightly controlled by the state.

The United States has urged improvements in Vietnam's human rights record. In an address to Congress in June, the U.S. State Department's envoy for democracy, Daniel Baer, described Vietnam's crackdown on bloggers as part of "a years'-long trend of deterioration".

Reuters - December 6, 2014

Second Vietnam blogger arrested on anti-state charges

HANOI - Vietnamese police arrested a prominent blogger Saturday, the second writer seized in the last fortnight as the country's communist authorities keep up their long-running crackdown on online dissent.

Commentator Nguyen Quang Lap was arrested at his house in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday afternoon, his wife told AFP.

"More than a dozen security people searched our residence for several hours and took him away," Ho Thi Hong said.

"They said his blog ran articles against the (communist) party's policies and guidelines," she added.

Lap, 58, a member of the official Vietnam Writers' Association, is a well known figure in the southeast Asian nation. His blog has received million of hits while his Facebook account has nearly 15,000 followers.

His website hosted his own writings and pieces by others some of which often made critical points about social and political issues in Vietnam.

Many of the posts were strongly anti-China, reflecting widespread animosity among many Vietnamese, including intellectuals, for the country's northern neighbour.

Hanoi and Beijing are currently locked in a long-standing territorial dispute over fishing rights and island chains in the South China Sea.

Vietnam's authoritarian rulers are sensitive to any criticism of their handling of the dispute, and have routinely broken up anti-China demonstrations and arrested organisers.

Vietnam bans private media while all newspapers and television channels are state-run.

The one-party state is regularly denounced by rights groups and Western governments for its intolerance of political dissent.

Lap's arrest is the second time a prominent blogger has been arrested this month.

Last Saturday police in Ho Chi Minh took 65-year-old blogger Hong Le Tho into custody on similar charges.

One well-known blogger, Anh Ba Sam, is currently in detention awaiting trial, while anti-China activist Bui Thi Minh Hang is awaiting an appeal hearing to challenge a three-year prison term handed out in August this year.

According to Reporters Without Borders, Vietnam is currently holding at least 34 bloggers in prison.

Agence France Presse - December 6, 2014