‘Really Pissed Off:’ Vietnam’s Environmental Disaster

‘Really Pissed Off:’ Vietnam’s Environmental DisasterAlthough the international news media described the 100 tonnes of dead fish that washed up on Vietnam's shores last month as "unprecedented," few have bothered to separate the true magnitude of the environmental disaster from longstanding hatred of the Taiwanese factory presumed responsible. It is unclear how the anger over the disaster will impact President…

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…

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…

Viet Stock Markets Start to Catch Up

Viet Stock Markets Start to Catch UpVietnam may be a star economic performer among the nations of Southeast Asia, but for stock market investors – foreign ones in particular – it has been an easy way to lose money. Could that be about to change?  At first glance, the market has been dull rather than disastrous. The Ho Chi Minh index…

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…

Shortage of Women in Southeast Asian Politics

Shortage of Women in Southeast Asian PoliticsOf the 10 leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations meeting this week in the California with President Barack Obama, not a single one is a woman. Although across Southeast Asia leadership by women is not new given the region’s legacy of dynastic politics, leadership at the top levels is missing.  There has been…

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…