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.
The Vietnam Briefing, released every Monday morning Vietnam time, looks at Vietnam’s social and political developments of the past week.
Vietnam’s state media reported on December 19 that the Long An Provincial Court had received a petition from Le Tung Van, head monk of the independent Buddhist monastery Tinh That Bong Lai, requesting the court suspend his prison sentence due to his poor health. Previously, on December 16, the chief justice of the People’s Court of Duc Hoa District, Tran Thi Kim Thanh, approved the decision to carry out Van’s penal punishment officially.
Le Tung Van was sentenced to five-year imprisonment on charges of “abusing democratic freedoms.” Other monks and the temple’s landowner received sentences ranging from three to four years. On November 3, the Long An Provincial Appellate Court rejected the Buddhist monastery’s appeal, upholding the earlier sentences.
Van, 90, wrote in his petition that he suffers from multiple illnesses, including hypertension, diabetes, coronary artery disease, chronic anaemia, and stomach ulcers. “For many years, I could only lie in a hammock,” he wrote. “I have to rely on temple members to take care of me. Therefore, I'm not healthy enough to go to prison.”
RFA reported that police in Ngu Hanh Son District, Da Nang, dispersed a group of 16 members of the “Church of God,” a local Christian sect, as they were gathering for the sect’s worshipping ceremony on December 15. The sect members were later ordered not to join and preach this religion.
It was reported that a group of religious practitioners gathered at a house in Hoa Hai Ward, Ngu Hanh Son District, on December 3 to listen to doctrines and watch videos about the “Church of God.” The police raided the house and forced the members to stop their religious activities and not repeat them. The authorities said they had confiscated a laptop, eight Bibles, three notebooks and other items prepared for the meeting.
According to the Da Nang authorities, organising or calling others to join religious ceremonies held outside the worshipping places approved by local authorities is illegal. Vietnam has consistently branded all religious sects independently operating outside of the government’s control as “false religions.”
The State has closely managed Vietnamese religious groups since the Communist takeover in 1975. Many were pressured to join the government-affiliated Vietnam Fatherland Front. On December 2, the U.S. State Department included Vietnam on its Special Watch List for “engaging in or tolerating severe violations of religious freedom.”
United Press International/ Harlan Ullman, Arnaud de Borchgrave/ December 21
“The Vietnam War was regarded by the Kennedy-Johnson administration as a vital national interest to prevent what was popularly viewed in America as the Sino-Soviet, godless monolithic threat of global communism that had to be stopped. South Vietnam became the battleground for nearly a decade and a half to halt that advance. Some 58,000 Americans and many more times that number of Vietnamese on both sides would die.
Putin's aims were to stop the expansion and influence of NATO east and prevent Ukraine from joining that alliance. Those were vital Russian interests that Putin concluded could only be achieved by using force. And while the Russian military was all volunteer, Putin would be forced to mobilize, i.e. draft, some 300,000 Russian recruits, much as the bulk of U.S. soldiers sent to fight in Vietnam were draftees.”
Asia Times/ Richard Javad Heydarian/ Dec. 17
“Crucially, Moscow has also been the predominant source of modern weaponry for Hanoi, which has rapidly developed its defensive capabilities in light of maritime tensions in the South China Sea. Over the past two decades, Russia supplied Vietnam with modern submarines and fighter jets, with total sales amounting to more than US$10 billion.
But Vietnam is now clearly trying to expand its weaponry horizons to reduce its Russian reliance. Last year, Vietnam’s dependency ratio on Russian armaments fell below 60% for the first time in recent history, as the Southeast Asian nation expanded defense cooperation with new suppliers like South Korea.”
Asia Times/ Angie Ngoc Tran/ Dec. 17
“But over the years, the labor contingent has been routinely outvoted by state and business interests whose combined power has been increasing at the bargaining table.
This erosion of workers’ legal protections is enabled by the 2019 Labor Code, gutting the regulation that had included these allowances. These changes have allowed market logic to rule, with the fact that managers almost always win in one-to-one direct negotiation with labor. This also undermines the primary function of unions to represent workers in negotiations with management.”
The Diplomat/ Khang Vu/ Dec. 16
“A country has two main ways to balance against a threat: internal balancing via domestic arms production and external balancing via military alliances. Vietnam’s non-aligned foreign policy means that it has picked the first option while reserving the second option for the future. But while it is tempting to suggest that Hanoi’s picking of the first option is due to its own agency, ignoring the geographical source of that decision is detrimental to understanding the systemic factors that have driven Vietnam’s grand strategy since the country’s founding in 1945. Vietnam’s geography is deeply hostile to it nurturing an alliance relationship with any external great power other than China, and it is geography that has pushed Vietnam to adopt the option of internal balancing.”
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