Beyond Vietnam’s ‘Great Fish Kill’

Beyond Vietnam’s ‘Great Fish Kill’"If the problem of human rights isn't properly solved," said my friend C.V., "Vietnam is going to be isolated from the international community, and that will make it really hard to develop our country." We spoke just after blogger Mẹ Nấm was taken into custody on October 10, charged with "distorting the truth, opposing the…

Viet Steel Mill Owners Acknowledge Huge Fish Kill

Viet Steel Mill Owners Acknowledge Huge Fish KillA sampling of public reaction suggests that the Vietnamese are impressed but hardly exuberant over an apology and a promise by the Taiwanese owners of a huge new steel plant in central Vietnam to pay half a billion US dollars for losses to fisher family livelihoods and for damage by toxic discharges from the plant…

With Obama Coming, Viet Leaders in a Dilemma

With Obama Coming, Viet Leaders in a DilemmaVietnam’s fish kill saga has been the government’s first test since the national congress of January. With an American president arriving soon, protests couldn’t have come at a worse time and as yet nothing looks to be resolved. It is unusual for a US president to be visiting just when his host nation’s newspapers are…

Viet Fish Kill Spawns Political Crisis

Viet Fish Kill Spawns Political CrisisVietnam's new government, installed after the 12th Congress of its ruling Communist Party early this year, seems to have made up its mind how it will manage its first political crisis, nationwide revulsion over the still unexplained death of 100 tonnes or so of fish along the coasts of four north central provinces.  On May…

Huge Fish Kill Tests Vietnam’s New Regime

Huge Fish Kill Tests Vietnam’s New RegimeThe story broke in Vietnam's national press on April 20: shoals of dead fish were washing up on the beaches all along a 200 kilometer stretch of the central Vietnamese coast, as far south as Hue. Coastal fishermen and local staff of Vietnam's Fisheries Agency blamed a discharge of chemicals in the vicinity of the…

Vietnam: Old Guard, New Tack

Vietnam: Old Guard, New TackA bitter and unprecedentedly public contest for leadership of Vietnam's all-powerful Communist party ended in late January with two-term Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung's forced retirement. The party's 12th Congress awarded the man Dung aimed to unseat, Nguyen Phu Trong, another five years as the party's general secretary. As the Congress adjourned, Trong was asked…

Leading Vietnam Blogger Draws Five-Year Sentence

Leading Vietnam Blogger Draws Five-Year SentenceThe Hanoi People’s Court on March 23 sentenced prominent independent blogger Nguyễn Hữu Vinh, known also by his pen name Anh Ba Sam or “Brother Gossip,” to five years in prison for charges related to his work. Under the Vietnamese Criminal Code he was charged with “misusing democratic freedom to encroach on State interests [and] the…

Viet Blogger Heads to Court

Viet Blogger Heads to CourtThe Hanoi People's Court is expected to take up the case on Wednesday of perhaps Vietnam’s most influential independent blogger, Nguyễn Hữu Vinh (pen name Anh Ba Sam or “Brother Gossip” and his administrative assistant, Nguyễn Minh Thúy, on charges of “misusing democratic freedom to encroach on State interests [and] the legitimate rights of groups and…

Viet Political Transition a Nightmare for Dissidents

Viet Political Transition a Nightmare for DissidentsThe takedown of Vietnam’s most prominent and dynamic politician provided political drama last month. It was a difficult and dangerous time for Vietnam’s community of pro-democracy activists. In a story first published in the online dissident publication Vietnam Right Now, independent blogger Pham Doan Trang recounts how Vietnam’s vast bureaucracy of repression moved to keep non-conformists at…

Update: As expected, Supporters of Viet General Secretary Trong Prevail

Update: As expected, Supporters of Viet General Secretary Trong PrevailOn January 25, supporters of Nguyen Tan Dung mounted a vigorous floor fight to add the two-time Prime Minister to the approved list of Central Committee candidates. According to reliable reports late in the day, they failed to muster a majority of the 1510 delegates.  Because only members of the Central Committee are eligible to…
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