Category: Opinions

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…

China threat presents political danger for VCP

The growing confidence and belligerence of China in the South China Sea has exposed the vulnerability of Vietnam’s diplomatic and military position. It also presents a potential political challenge for the Vietnamese Communist party that could prove even more damaging….

Death row pregnancy raises questions

When news broke last month that a prison inmate had managed to avoid the death penalty by getting pregnant, the authorities were quick to come up with an explanation. State media reported that Nguyen Thi Hue had persuaded a male…

Concern at new police powers

New regulations that allow traffic police to requisition private vehicles and other property are likely to be exploited by corrupt and unscrupulous officers. That, at least, is the concern of many alarmed citizens in Ho Chi Minh City who have…

Vietnam rattled as tensions increase

The growing militarisation of the South China Sea is rattling nerves across the region as China, the United States and Vietnam all take steps to strengthen their presence in the disputed waters. If the US thought its ongoing despatch of…

Vietnam can be challenged on human rights commitments

The Vietnamese government is accused by its critics at home and abroad of systematically shirking its international commitments on human rights. Despite signing up to a number of human rights agreements at the United Nations, Vietnam rarely complies with its…

Disappointment for pro-democracy advocates

The sight of a Vietnamese prime minister standing next to an American president, and asking for a bigger US role in the South China Sea, is still a startling one – for all the diplomatic contortions and adjustments of recent…

China and Vietnam build military capabilities in disputed waters

Tensions are rising again in the South China Sea with reports that China has deployed surface to air missiles on the disputed Paracel Islands, which are also claimed by Vietnam. Vietnam is also strengthening its posture in the region, taking…

No sign of Hanoi Spring as Vietnam feels the chill

The ruthless takedown of Vietnam’s most prominent and dynamic politician provided some rare political drama in recent days. But far from feeding hope of more representative government, the Communist Party congress was a difficult and dangerous time for Vietnam’s community…