Category: Opinions

Communist party running scared over protests

The Vietnamese government fears the latest wave of demonstrations could coalesce into broad-based opposition to its rule and is deploying riot police and under-cover units across the country to suppress the protests. Police dragged activists from the streets of Ho…

New law to tighten controls on free speech

Vietnam has rushed through a new cyber security law aimed at tightening the government’s control of information and silencing its critics on the internet. The National Assembly overwhelmingly approved the bill despite widespread alarm at home and abroad over the…

Vietnam as model for North Korea ?

For a country with one of the most oppressive political systems in Asia, Vietnam is not often held up as a model for emulation by other countries. So it is with some enthusiasm that Vietnamese officials have embraced reports 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…

“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…

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…

Vietnam loses nerve over another oil project

Vietnam is reported to have halted another major oil project because of Chinese pressure, despite Hanoi’s recent efforts to bolster its strategic position in the South China Sea. The Spanish firm, Repsol, was ordered to suspend imminent plans to move…