Author Archives: Viet Nam Right Now

Vietnam outgunned by relentless Chinese build-up

Reports that China has installed advanced missile systems in the Spratly islands come as a further blow to Vietnam’s attempts to assert its territorial claims in the area. Intelligence reports quoted by US media indicate that China has set up…

Slovakian role in Berlin abduction ?

Vietnam’s relations with Europe look set to deteriorate still further following allegations about the involvement of Slovakia in the abduction of a Vietnamese official last year. The Slovakian foreign ministry has denied knowingly assisting in the kidnap but warned that…

Harsh repression despite lack of opposition

The Vietnamese Communist party faces no organised opposition and endures no restraint on its use of a formidable internal security apparatus, yet it continues to crack down on dissent as if its survival was at stake. This week an appeals…

Vietnam in the dock in Berlin Kidnap trial

The trial has begun in Berlin of a member of the kidnap gang allegedly sent by the Vietnamese government to Germany last summer to seize a fugitive official. Prosecutors are presenting evidence of a Cold War style intelligence operation to…

“State secrets” charge underpins latest Danang purge

A former top police officer and the former head of Vietnam’s third largest city have been arrested, in the latest sign of political infighting amongst the country’s leadership. After rooting out allegedly corrupt officials in the banking sector and the…

Is Facebook letting down Vietnamese activisits ?

What is the difference between “toxic” content designed to cause chaos, and free and open discussion of current events ? Portraying legitimate criticism and comment as subversion is the oldest trick in the book for authoritarian governments attempting to silence…

Heavy sentences after trial cut short

A crushing sentence of 15 years in prison for a leading pro-democracy advocate cements Vietnam’s growing reputation as Southeast Asia’s most repressive country. Nguyen Van Dai, a debarred human rights lawyer and campaigner for political freedoms, was sentenced alongside five…

Nguyen Van Dai and associates on trial for their lives

The police broke up an attempted demonstration by supporters of pro-democracy activists, as a major political trial got underway in Hanoi. Police and plainclothes agents blocked the march by a small group of protesters, who carried placards saying that democracy…

Activist faces trial after 2 years in detention

The Vietnamese government is preparing to bare its teeth this week with a display of communist justice designed to intimidate its critics into silence. For more than two years, the human rights lawyer and democracy advocate, Nguyen Van Dai, has…

The two faces of China on display as fleet enters SCS

The Chinese foreign minister was all smiles and compliments in Hanoi this week, while a powerful Chinese naval fleet entered the South China Sea in an unprecedented show of force. Beijing’s combined strategy of cooperation and military muscle was on…