Category: Opinions

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…

Vietnam accused of denying health care to prisoners

Concern is growing for the health of some political prisoners in Vietnam amid reports that the government sometimes withholds adequate medical care to try to force confessions. Most at risk are prisoners with pre-existing conditions, who are held for months…

US navy sends message to Beijing

The US navy’s latest challenge to Chinese expansion in the South China Sea will be seen as a welcome boost by Vietnam as it mulls a forceful move of its own in the same area. The destroyer, USS Chafee, sailed…

Government wrestles with Facebook dilemma

Vietnam’s leaders have sniped, cajoled and threatened for years, but they are increasingly accepting the reality that Facebook is here to stay. Vietnam still resorts to violence, intimidation and long prison terms to intimidate its online critics, but even state…

Vietnam humbled by China

A drilling ship has left Vietnamese waters following Hanoi’s ignominious climbdown last month in its latest confrontation with China. The vessel, Deepsea Metro I, which was prospecting a lucrative gas field on the edge of Vietnam’s EEZ, is reported to…

China turns the screw

Vietnam is struggling to revive its China policy following a series of snubs and threats that have left it looking isolated and vulnerable. China’s last-minute cancellation of a meeting between the two foreign ministers – on the sidelines of the…

Battle against motorbikes doomed to failure ?

Vietnam’s Communist party is stepping up an undeclared war on the motorcycle – with Ho Chi Minh City the latest conurbation to plan radical curbs on its swarming scooter traffic. The authorities in Hanoi were first to take the offensive…