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.
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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid