Category: Opinions

Farmers’ defiance unsettles government

For nearly a week villagers rose up and openly defied government authority, in a district just 40 kilometres from the capital, Hanoi. The confrontation, over a long simmering land dispute, came to a peaceful end on Saturday, with the residents…

One year after Formosa – protests unsettle government

A year after tonnes of dead fish began washing up on the beaches of central Vietnam, the government is still reeling from the impact of one of the country’s worst national disasters. Almost weekly protests by affected communities in four…

Tillerson offers little comfort for Vietnam

China’s apparent delight at the visit of the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, at the weekend will not have been matched by a similar sentiment in Hanoi. The decision by the US official not to challenge China publicly over…

Vietnam anxious for Trump reassurance

Vietnam has demanded that China put a stop to cruise ship tours of disputed islands in the South China Sea. The appeal came amid signs of growing anxiety in Hanoi about ties with the United States and the degree of…

Japanese emperor in Vietnam

The visit by the Japanese emperor to Vietnam gives a timely boost for the leadership in Hanoi, at a time when its much vaunted multilateral diplomacy has suffered a series of hard knocks. Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko are to…

Unprovoked assault by police

The police assault on an environmental march on February 14 has highlighted the communist authorities’ sensitivity to what they see as organised protest movements. Heavy handed tactics were used to break up the march by some five hundred Catholic parishioners…

Vietnam well placed for challenges

Subtle diplomacy, innate caution and rigorous contingency planning have left Vietnam relatively well placed to contend with a brave new world of regional insecurity. Vietnam’s communist leaders have also proved adept at seizing opportunities presented by the shifting sands of…

Vietnam eyes Trump moves with trepidation

President Trump’s first days in office will have confirmed many of Vietnam’s fears about his intentions for the region, and the waves of instability that can be expected during his administration. Vietnam’s communist leaders have long anticipated the demise of…

China and Vietnam move to ease tensions

When the leaders of two of the world’s least transparent ruling parties sit down for talks, it’s not realistic to expect a candid assessment from either side about the outcome. Pious statements, two-faced smiles and jealously guarded secrecy have long…

Haiphong installation sparks ridicule

Secrecy and lack of accountability are two ingrained hallmarks of Communist party governance in Vietnam. The lack of trust in public officials, and simmering resentment at widespread corruption, means that even the seemingly innocuous task of installing festive decorations can…