Category: Opinions

No escape: runaway agent returned to Hanoi

A fugitive Vietnamese property developer and intelligence agent has been arrested in Hanoi following a desperate bid for freedom that ended with his arrest in Singapore. Officials in Singapore said that Phan Van Anh Vu had been deported for using…

Army joins battle for internet

An announcement that the Vietnamese military is joining an offensive against the free use of social media marks a significant escalation in the Communist party’s drive to reassert control. The army said it was deploying a 10,000 strong cyber warfare…

China style campaign targets senior officials

China’s President, Xi Jinping, described his anti-corruption campaign as a hunt for “tigers and flies”. The Vietnamese police have now bagged a “tiger” of their own, in a drive that increasingly parallels developments north of the border. The police announced…

Crushing Formosa movement

The two prongs of Vietnam’s response to the Formosa chemical spill were shown in stark relief on Monday: harsh repression of environmental campaigners – and, at the same time, an attempt to reassure the public that lessons have been learned….

Vietnam blinks again as China tightens grip

Vietnam is increasingly opting for discretion over valour as it confronts the reality of China’s growing power in the South China Sea. President Trump’s lack of focus on the maritime disputes during his visit to the region gave little reassurance…

Trump and Xi test Vietnam’s diplomatic skills

Playing host to President Trump and Xi Jinping at the same time – both attending the APEC summit in Danang and then travelling to Hanoi – presents a delicate challenge for Vietnam whose future depends on treading a wary path…

Vietnam, Trump and political repression

The visit of an American president is normally a moment of high sensitivity for the Vietnamese government – an opportunity for rights activists to exert pressure for political reform and fewer arrests. With President Trump due in Vietnam late next…

Lull in tensions as Hanoi ponders next move

China and Vietnam are making another attempt to smooth over their confrontation in the South China Sea, as Vietnam prepares to host President Xi Jinping and other world leaders for the APEC summit next week. China’s foreign ministry says the…

Vietnam, China and the “democratic recession”

Xi Jinping’s consolidation of strong-man rule in China this week signals that the global clash of political cultures is entering a new phase. Autocratic rulers, including Vietnam’s own Communist party bosses, will take heart from Xi’s domestic triumphs, while campaigners…

Authorities break promise on land dispute

The police are being accused of deliberate deception as they move to punish those who took part in a violent confrontation over land rights in April. At the time, the authorities were praised for their conciliatory approach as they defused…