Category: Opinions

Hydropower plant blamed for “murderous” flood

Hydropower plants must be held to account for the loss of lives and the flooding of tens of thousands of homes, say environmental activists. The sudden release of huge volumes of water from plants in north-central provinces in mid-October was…

Trump victory alarms Vietnam

The shock waves from Donald Trump’s victory are only just beginning to reverberate around the world: for Vietnam, the surprise win of the maverick property developer and reality tv star is deeply unsettling and threatens severe strategic consequences. Mr Trump’s…

Workers fight on despite lack of free unions

Hopes that Vietnam would soon get its first independent labour unions appear to be fading along with the prospect for an early ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The United States had insisted on Vietnam’s commitment to free unions as a…

Religious leaders fear increased persecution

Independent religious leaders in Vietnam have stepped up their attack on proposed new government regulations that they say will consolidate state control over religion. A draft law on belief and religion, currently before the National Assembly, would make it even…

Vietnam looks to Washington as Philippines falters

Vietnam offers explicit backing for United States intervention in the region, while the president of the Philippines tours China and announces his “separation” from the US. The contrasting statements underline the extreme fluidity of international relations in Southeast Asia, and…

Formosa fears behind latest crackdown ?

The arrest of another prominent blogger, and dire warnings of foreign based plots against the state, signal an intensification of Vietnam’s campaign to silence government critics. The arrest on Monday of Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, who writes under the name…

Unease as Duterte visits Vietnam

Volatility and unpredictability have been the hallmarks of Philippine foreign policy since Rodrigo Duterte became president earlier this year. Vietnamese leaders, alarmed by the implications of his gyrations for the confrontation in the South China Sea, will try to seek…

Pagoda demolition condemned

Religious and civil society groups have appealed for foreign support following the destruction by local authorities of a popular Buddhist pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City. Representatives from more than twenty organisations and religious sects said that foreign pressure was…

Vietnam’s diplomatic drive pays dividends

Vietnam’s energetic pursuit of diverse foreign relationships to offset the threat from China has received a further boost with the visit of the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi. India’s offer of a $500 million loan for defence purchases consolidates Delhi’s…

Lutheran activist remains defiant

She has been detained, systematically harassed and savagely beaten by the police, but Tran Thi Hong continues to defy the authorities by resuming her work amongst ethnic minority Christian communities in the Central Highlands. Mrs Hong is the wife of…