News / Asia

PM’s Ire Sparks Debate Over Political Blogs in Vietnam

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung pictured earlier this year in Seoul, South Korea.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung pictured earlier this year in Seoul, South Korea.
TEXT SIZE - +
Marianne Brown
— Three political blogs have become a hot topic in Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung condemned them on national television.
 
On Wednesday, Vietnam’s state-run television company, VTV, broadcast a message from Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung warning people not to read three anonymous political blogs, Quanlambao, Danlambao and Bien Dong.
 
The announcement condemned the blogs as “villainous plots by hostile forces” and urged people not to read them. He also called for "serious punishment" for those responsible for the websites.
 
Blogs are particularly popular in Vietnam, a country where censorship is rife among official news publications. Bloggers are regularly jailed for crimes against the state and many sites are blocked.
 
Despite the official condemnation, the sites have not been blocked by the government's Internet firewall and the number of visitors has since skyrocketed, leaving many observers to ask why the sites were targeted in the first place.
 
All three are critical of the government, however some have a finer focus than others. Quanlambao, which translates as “senior officials write journalism” directly attacks the prime minister, whereas Danlambao, which means “citizens’ journalism” in Vietnamese has a broader focus.
 
Retired American diplomat David Brown describes one post which particularly caught his attention. It focuses on competing factions in Vietnam’s Communist Party headed by Prime Minister Dung and his main rivals President Truong Tan Sang and party chief Nguyen Phu Trong.

“Essentially the guy who posted it analyzes the two factions but in the end he says a pox on both of your houses. If Dung prevails it’s more of the same corruption and nepotism and so forth and if the other guys prevail the country’s going to be run by strings from Beijin,” Brown said.
 
The inclusion of Bien Dong, a blog which hones in on issues relating to Vietnam’s long-standing dispute with China over territory in the South China Sea, has puzzled observers.  Some say few people knew about the site until Dung’s announcement.
 
Standing apart from the other blogs is Quanlambao, which publishes stories highly critical of the prime minister. Set up nearly four months ago, it broke the news of the arrest of banker tycoon Nguyen Duc Kien a day before the police made an official announcement. Kien, seen as a close ally of the prime minister, was arrested in August for as yet undisclosed financial crimes.
 
Observers speculate the blog is written either by political rivals in the Ministry of Public Security or Chinese intelligence services. Brown says he thinks Quanlambao was the real target of the announcement Wednesday.
 
“It’s almost as though they added the two other blogs sort of as padding because this Quanlambao thing is pretty much sui generis," he said. "We have them in the U.S., it’s called ‘right wing, angry white man talk radio.’”
 
While some say the high rate of hits is a sign that Dung’s announcement has backfired, others argue the move was the result of a power struggle within the communist party set against a backdrop of slowing economic growth, rising fuel prices and a steady stream of corruption scandals among state-owned giants.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Killer from: Cambodia
September 14, 2012 7:13 PM
This bad guy, Vietnamese PM, always do like Ghost in Jail.

In Response

by: Reader from: Vietnam
September 18, 2012 12:24 AM
We're now really tired, bored with this base political system. After a paint and sorrow war, what people get to? Nothing except a worse life!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid