Hanoi Pain

Divisions within Vietnam's ruling Communist Party have widened in the wake of the nation's continued economic downturn, threatening the nation's long term political stability. The party's key Central Committee last week held an emergency meeting in an attempt to bolster the fight against rampaging inflation, continued labour unrest and a widening trade deficit. It is no secret…

Economic Waves Imperil Vietnam’s Leaders

A year ago, in August 2007, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung confidently addressed a gathering of regional businessmen at an Asean 100 Leadership Forum at the Melia Hotel in downtown Hanoi. He gave a typically punchy speech about how Vietnam valued its membership in Asean, how it was increasingly integrating with the global economy…

Economic Woes Imperil Vietnam’s Leaders

  A year ago, in August 2007, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung confidently addressed a gathering of regional businessmen at an Asean 100 Leadership Forum at the Melia Hotel in downtown Hanoi. He gave a typically punchy speech about how Vietnam valued its membership in Asean, how it was increasingly integrating with the global…

Two Crusading Journalists Arrested in Vietnam

In a move that has rocked Vietnam’s media, authorities on Monday arrested two journalists who reported aggressively on the country’s biggest corruption scandal in years. The police major general who led the corruption investigation has also been charged with distributing false information to the media. The Public Security Ministry said that the two journalists and…

Death in Saigon’s Cholon District

It was the telltale drifting smoke that Sunday morning in the sky over Cholon, Saigon's teeming Chinese sector, that first alerted correspondents to the possibility that the second shoe was about to drop in what had become a decisive turning point of the Vietnam War.     The first wave of the Tet (or Lunar New Year) offensive…

Vietnam’s Easy Riders

Photos by Andrew James Armed with cigarettes, bad jokes, and a nifty Honda motorbike, Endy, 42, lives a life on the road with strangers. For the past six years, he has been an ‘Easy Rider’ — one of a group of self-styled tour guides that ferry tourists through the war-ravaged, coffee-drenched and starkly beautiful Central…

Two Steps Forward for Vietnam, Two Steps Back

Michael Michalak, the new US ambassador to Vietnam, has arrived with a pledge to push for improved human rights and enhanced economic relations. Michalak, a 32-year Foreign Service veteran, takes over from Ambassador Michael Marine amid tensions over the treatment of political dissenters. During his three years in Hanoi, Marine saw growing bilateral trade relations…

Vietnamese Catholic Leaders Show Some Backbone

http://vietnamica.blogspot.com   Vietnam’s state-sanctioned Catholic chiefs, not known for their political courage, have bluntly told the country’s president that remarks he made on US television over the trial of an anti-communist priest “do not correspond with the truth.” “The newspapers here reported the CNN interview with President Nguyen Minh Triet, was tainted with distortions relating…

Vietnam Joins the Amateur Idol Brigade

Boyish, cheeky and immaculately groomed, 20-something model Tommy Tran bears a striking resemblance to his American counterpart, Ryan Seacrest, the host of the runaway television success American Idol. Tran is eye candy to thousands of local teenage girls, and as confident as any Western-educated, young bachelor who returns to Vietnam. But unlike Seacrest, Tran only…

Not in My House: Corruption in Vietnam

Earlier this month, Vietnam’s top anti-corruption agency, the Government Inspectorate, completed its annual investigations in the country’s central, central highlands, western and southern regions, and to no one’s surprise, nobody found dust in his own home, although they found plenty elsewhere. “The higher levels only detected corruption in lower levels. Provinces detected corruption in districts,…