Category: Opinions

China stung by US-Vietnam embrace

The exuberant reception afforded an American president in Vietnam will have been a galling sight for the communist leadership in neighbouring China. President Obama’s decision to sideline human rights concerns, and stress blossoming economic and strategic ties with Hanoi, sent…

Indignation as Obama rebuffed over dissidents

Vietnam’s brazen move to prevent key dissidents from meeting President Obama has struck a sour note in a visit that is otherwise being touted by both sides as a historic turning point. President Obama noted that several activists had been…

Obama faces dilemma on Vietnam visit

President Obama begins his three day visit to Vietnam amid a display of Communist party control that underlines the political distance that remains between the two countries despite their anxiety for warmer relations. Polls had  just closed in National Assembly…

US press urge action on Vietnamese human rights

President Obama is under growing pressure to insist on real improvements in human rights during his visit to Vietnam which begins on May 23. Top American newspapers have added their voices to those of influential congressmen who are demanding the…

US officials to discuss continued repression

The beating and arrest of peaceful demonstrators in broad daylight at the weekend; the recent sentencing of independent bloggers to long prison terms; the continued harassment and detention of civil society activists. Vietnam’s contention that it is improving its human…

US ready to lift restrictions on arms sales ?

Washington’s top human rights official will visit Vietnam next week amid suggestions of a policy tussle in the US administration over relaxing arms sales to Vietnam. The Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, Tom Malinowski, will…

US raises human rights – but how far will Obama go ?

The United States has challenged Vietnam over a recent crackdown on dissidents in advance of President Obama’s visit to the country next week. US Officials said they held “open and candid” discussions in Washington with their Vietnamese counterparts about the…

NGO rejects government allegations

The overseas Vietnamese activist group, VOICE, has responded to allegations from the government that it has links with Viet Tan, the Vietnam Reform party, based in the United States. VOICE, which advocates for Vietnamese refugees and sponsors training for civil…

Smooth transition belies increased repression

Vietnam has put on a show of carefully orchestrated political theatre in recent days: seamlessly acquiring a new president, prime minister, and head of the legislature. But the display of Communist party directed conformity belies a much darker political reality….

Harsh sentence sends chilling signal

The harsh prison sentence imposed on the blogger, Ba Sam, has sent a chilling message to other bloggers and government critics across Vietnam. The sentence of 5 years was close to the maximum that can be imposed under article 258…