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…

Viet Party Conference Surprisingly Dumps Dung

Viet Party Conference Surprisingly Dumps DungHanoi is festooned with giant posters this week.  They welcome the Communist Party’s Twelfth Congress with the usual perfervid phrases. Well, perhaps “the Entire Party, People and Army” do indeed “Compete to Record Achievements to Welcome the National Congress Delegates,” though it’s hard to distinguish that activity from the normal hustle and bustle of the capital…

Viet Activist’s Harassment Continues After Leaving Prison

Viet Activist’s Harassment Continues After Leaving PrisonAlthough Tran Minh Nhat, a former prisoner of conscience who was freed in August* after four years in prison, it appears authorities are not letting up on him, he says.  In an email to Asia Sentinel, Nhat said that although he was able to spend Christmas and New Year with his family, he and other family…

Is Vietnam on the cusp of change?

Is Vietnam on the cusp of change?Four successive party congresses have just kicked the ball down the road. They’ve redistributed positions mainly with a view to preserving factional balance. The leadership has been left deadlocked on core issues: Vietnam’s stance toward China and other powers, the state’s role in the economy and whether party actions should be subject to review by…

Under Fire, Vietnam’s Dung Fires Back

Under Fire, Vietnam’s Dung Fires BackOn Dec. 18, while the Central Committee of the Vietnamese Communist party (CPV) was meeting in another effort to agree on who will lead the nation for the next five years, a document was leaked to Anh Ba Sam, a Vietnamese political blog that averages nearly 100,000 hits daily.  Nine pages long, it purports to…

Laos’s Threat to the Mekong River

Laos’s Threat to the Mekong RiverIn the Mekong River’s 4,800 km journey from the snow-capped mountains of Tibet to Vietnam delta, the Sipandon area in southern Laos stands out as a critical part of the river‘s ecosystem, blessed by raging waterfalls, picturesque islands and a small colony of endangered freshwater dolphins. Sipandon – meaning 4,000 Islands – is an area…

Activists beaten, robbed by paramilitaries in Vietnam

Activists beaten, robbed by paramilitaries in VietnamVietnam continues to pay a disheartening lack of attention to human rights violations despite continuing promises that the situation would improve with passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which contains language covering abuses, as the ordeal of a Hanoi-based human rights lawyer and his associates demonstrates. On Dec. 6, Nguyen Van Dai, a human rights lawyer…