Category: Opinions

“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…

China vigilant but unworried by carrier visit

There was a time when China would have been alarmed at the sight of a US aircraft carrier docking in a Vietnamese port. The Communists, after all, had triumphed in Vietnam, and for many years the return of the US…

US carrier in Danang – but will it deter China ?

For the first time since the Vietnam War a US aircraft carrier is visiting Vietnam, a physical manifestation of new strategic realities buffeting the region. The arrival of the USS Carl Vinson in Danang is heavy with symbolism, and it…

Is Vietnam becoming less corrupt ?

According to the latest index published by Transparency International, Vietnam is more corrupt than 106 other countries – at first sight hardly a cause for celebration. And yet, the annual survey has picked up a slow but steady improvement by…

China consolidates grip

China’s military build-up in the South China Sea means it will soon be able to challenge the United States at all levels, according to the US military. The latest warning highlights the extraordinary scale of China’s construction of military bases…