Chinese President Xi Jinping to Visit Vietnam; Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City Enforce Convictions of Loc Hung Residents
Chinese President Xi Jinping to Visit Vietnam Chinese President Xi Jinping will make a state visit to Vietnam from Dec.
It was a week of Tet (Lunar New Year), containing COVID-19, a new draft decree on personal data protection, and an unexpected appointment of a military general to the top seat of the Communist Party’s propaganda commission.
One needs to look back to the 1980s to see military generals running the Communisty Party’s propaganda departments. Le Quang Dao, Dang Quoc Bao, and Tran Do were the ones holding this position back then. General Tran Do later became known as the high-ranking member of the Party who called for a multiparty political system in Vietnam in the 1990s; he was expelled from the Party in 1999.
Not until last week, however, had another general been appointed to the position. Sen. Lt. Gen. Nguyen Trong Nghia was named the chairperson of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Popularisation and Education (also known as the Commission for Propaganda) on February 18. He previously served as vice chairman of the General Department of Politics of the Vietnam People’s Army.
One unusual thing to note: He’s not yet a member of the Politburo, making him the first non-Politburo-member to chair the commission since the 1990s.
Propaganda experience: RFA reported: “Nguyen, 59, had previously overseen the creation in 2017 of a 10,000-member army cyber unit, Task Force 47, which monitored political comment online, countering statements opposing Vietnam’s ruling party.”
Context: The military has already occupied two out of 18 seats in the Politburo, which is also an unusually high number because over the past 20 years only the Minister of National Defence has held the position. If Gen. Nghia is going to be appointed as a member of the Politburo in the coming years, that would make a record three generals in that Party body.
It’s been almost three years since Vietnam’s National Assembly passed the highly controversial Cybersecurity Law. No guidance on the law’s implementation has been given as the central government usually does in the case of decrees, circulars, and decisions.
A draft decree was made available to the public for comments at the end of 2018, but it quickly disappeared after a huge backlash from domestic and international actors.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Public Security’s website announced another draft decree to address personal data protection.
You can find the full text of this document in Vietnamese here (Google Drive link). The draft decree is available for public consultation from February 9 to April 9.
We have taken a look at the text and here are nine takeaways.
Spoiler: The draft decree has a lot to do with the government dealing with foreign services, such as Facebook and Google. It is not necessarily good news for these companies.
Three things you need to know about Vietnam’s position on the political tensions in Myanmar after the military overthrew the elected government led by the National League for Democracy.
Mr. Zhao Kezhi, the Minister of Public Security of China, visited Vietnam and was received by top government officials: CPV General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Minister of Public Security To Lam, and Minister of National Defense Ngo Xuan Lich.
China’s Xinhuanet reported:
“Zhao, during the meeting, expressed hopes that the two sides could enhance the synergy between the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and Vietnam’s ‘Two Corridors and One Economic Circle’ plan, expand and grow the economic, trade and investment cooperation, so as to better benefit the people of the two countries.”
This is according to a survey released by ISEAS Yusof-Ishak Institute in Singapore on February 10, making Vietnam the second country in ASEAN that favors the United States the most.
Survey question: If ASEAN were forced to align itself with one of the two strategic rivals, which should it choose?
The US Congressional Research Service released a report on the US-Vietnam relations on February 16, 2021. This report is meant to inform US lawmakers on matters relating to Vietnam.
“China’s actions in the South China Sea have led the United States and Vietnam to intensify security collaboration. In 2016, the Obama Administration removed remaining US restrictions on sales of lethal weapons and related services to Vietnam. Applications to export all defense items, lethal and non-lethal, are subject to a case-by-case review by the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls. The Obama and Trump Administrations prioritized bilateral maritime assistance, including providing 24 new coast guard patrol vessels, aerial drones, coastal radar, and two decommissioned U.S.”
“Although the Trump Administration continued the annual bilateral human rights dialogue and criticized Vietnam’s human rights record in various annual reports and selected statements, it did not appear to assign a high priority to human rights in its overall approach to Vietnam.”
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