U.S. Companies Seek Security Equipment Deal With Vietnam’s State Police

U.S. Companies Seek Security Equipment Deal With Vietnam’s State Police

U.S. Business Mission Seeks Security Equipment Deal With Vietnam’s Police

Reuters reported that a dozen U.S. firms will meet with Vietnamese public security and defense ministries on March 18 to discuss equipment deals. The representatives of both sides are expected to sign a non-binding agreement that would open the door for equipment deals between U.S. companies and Vietnam in areas including crime detection and prevention technology, big data analysis, helicopters, and cybersecurity.

Vu Tu Thanh, a representative of the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council (U.S. ABC), which helped organize the event, said that the group had signed similar pacts with other Vietnamese ministries in the past. Thanh added that the council has discussed the memorandum of understanding with Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security, the state police, for months.

The business mission represents efforts by the United States to strengthen ties with Vietnam. The one-party Communist country is looking to acquire additional equipment, including helicopters, for its new mobile police unit. However, there are concerns that the supplies of equipment for Vietnamese security forces could further aggravate the country’s human rights situation.

The State Department’s latest report on human rights in Vietnam, released last November, warned of significant rights abuses and brutality committed by the Vietnamese police.

Vietnam Continues to Deploy Article 117 to Arrest and Imprison Dissidents

On March 12, the Ha Tinh Provincial Police Department arrested Phan Dinh Sang, 57. It charged him under Article 117 for using different Facebook accounts to “post, distribute, and share information that distorts history and defames the Vietnamese government and its leaders.”

The security investigation agency of Ha Tinh police also alleged Sang had connections and personal contact with Duong Van Thai, a Vietnamese dissident living in Thailand who was reportedly kidnapped and brought back to Vietnam by security agents in 2023.

Article 117 of Vietnam’s Penal Code criminalizes the activities of “distributing propaganda to oppose the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.”

Previously, on March 11, a court in Hanoi sentenced another dissident, Do Minh Hien, 67, to six years in prison under the exact Article 117.

According to Security Television, a broadcast channel managed by the Ministry of Public Security, as of his arrest in July 2023, Hien has distributed a total of 72 writings via email to more than 10,000 email addresses, which contained content inciting “psychological warfare.” The police also claimed Hien’s writings had “defamed the Communist regime” and “slandered the Communist Party leadership.”

Vietnam Police Releases Three Protestant Church Members in Dak Lak

The Vietnamese provincial police on March 11 released three members of independent Protestant churches in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak after detaining them on March 3. Three Ede ethnic minority minority Protestants, Y Qui Bdap, Y Nam Bkrong, and Y Kic Bkrong, hailed from Dak Lak Province but currently work at a furniture manufacturer in Binh Phuoc Province.

The police reportedly did not issue any warrants or give a reason for the detention. 

According to Pastor Y Khen Bdap, the father of Y Nam Bkrong, police from both Dak Lak and Binh Phuoc provinces visited their home on March 3 to check their identification and searched the residence. The police also went to their workplace the following day and temporarily detained them.

These three ethnic Protestants are members of the Evangelical Church of Christ and the Independent Protestant House Church, two independent Central Highlands religious groups that Vietnam does not recognize. In Vietnam, the government only approves certain religions, and the unrecognized ones are deemed to be illegally practicing their religion.

In a letter dated March 5, U.S. Congresswoman Michelle Steel urged Secretary of State Antony Blinken to include Vietnam in the list of “Countries of Particular Concern” regarding religious freedom, saying that Hanoi has ramped up its repression of independent religious groups and its adherents. In January, the State Department continued to list Vietnam in the “Special Watch List” category, designated for countries where violations of religious freedom persist.

On This Day in History, The Gac Ma Battle Occurred in the Spratlies

On March 14, 1988, Vietnamese and Chinese naval forces clashed over the control of Johnson South Reef, known as Gac Ma in Vietnamese, located in the Spratly archipelago. The altercation led to the deaths of 64 Vietnamese sailors while nine others were captured.

Due to its political sensitivity, the Vietnamese government has banned public ceremonies marking this event and only held its first official commemoration of the fallen soldiers in 2022. Political activists and dissidents in Vietnam believe the government is hesitant to mention the Gac Ma incident because it might fuel anti-China sentiment within the public.

Vietnam Insight: Learn more about Vietnam

Vietnam likely to permit worker unions to appease EU critics

DW/ David Hutt/ March 12

“Labor reform was one of the main conditions Brussels attached when negotiating the free trade agreement with Vietnam. Both sides even created a forum in which independent Vietnamese experts were supposed to assess Hanoi's progress on these reforms. But several of these experts have been arrested and imprisoned on what human rights groups have said are politically motivated charges.  

Even if the Communist Party permits some form of independent labor representation, it has recently adopted a "strategy" to further restrict such groups from "getting a foothold" in society, which was laid out in a directive agreed by the Communist Party's Politburo last year, said Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch's Asia Division.”

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to The Vietnamese Magazine.

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.