News

UN Survey Queries Vietnamese About Corruption

Villagers stand next to riot police deployed to Vietnam's northern Hung Yen province during a protest on April 24, 2012. Local residents tried block police from taking control of a disputed plot of land outside Hanoi in the second high-profile clash over
Villagers stand next to riot police deployed to Vietnam's northern Hung Yen province during a protest on April 24, 2012. Local residents tried block police from taking control of a disputed plot of land outside Hanoi in the second high-profile clash over
Marianne Brown

Many people in Vietnam consider bribery to be a systemic problem. But a new survey by the United Nations and the Vietnamese government aims to give ordinary citizens a means to voice their experience with corruption so authorities can do something about it.

The survey, conducted by the United Nations Development Program and the Vietnam Fatherland Front, comes at a time of economic growth in Vietnam, prompting more people to demand better services from the government, said UNDP policy advisor Jairo Acuna-Alfaro.

“The more educated citizens are, the healthier they are, the more they expect in terms of quality [like] better education, health and more competent public officials that deal with their administrative procedures in a timely manner,” he said.

Many of those on at the forefront of this change are farmers who have lost their land to development projects.

Last week hundreds of farmers in Hung Yen province protested a plan to clear land for a new satellite city. Le Hien Duc, an anti-corruption activist and former member of staff for the country’s first president Ho Chi Minh, said witnessed about 1,000 policemen use tear gas to disperse 3,000 farmers. According to state-run media reports 20 people were arrested.

The incident came only a few months after a farmer in Hai Phong province used guns and landmines to fend off authorities trying to evict him from his land. Land disputes are of particular concern, said Alcuna-Alfaro.

“I think this is what we are seeing in terms of land," he said. "All the problems that we have seen in the first few months of this year where citizens are starting to raise their voices and complain to the government that perhaps all these land dealings have not been favorable to them.”

Land use issues are an important part of the Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index, launched on Thursday.

Of the 13,500 people interviewed for the survey, only nine percent of citizens who had property taken by the government said they received compensation close to the market value. Two out of five interviewed said it was necessary to bribe someone to get a land use certificate.

Acuna-Alfaro said the results are important because anti-corruption efforts in Vietnam are usually self-assessed, which means end-users rarely have a chance to voice their thoughts.

“We are flipping the coin and providing a different type of data which might be more objective and more representative of the citizens, the users of those services, which need to be considered when discussing improvements in the legislation and in the actual implementation of the different provincial level strategies,” he said.

One-third of those interviewed said bribery was needed to receive medical care and two out of five said bribes were necessary at schools.

In a country where the average monthly wage is only $150, the amount those interviewed spent on bribes each year is staggering. On average, about $125 is given in bribes to medical staff and $58 to teachers and schools.

The number is high, but not surprising, said Dang Ngoc Dinh, director of the Vietnam Center for Community Support Development Studies. Dinh likens corruption to traffic jams -- a problem that everyone knows is out there, but for which there are no quick fixes.

The point of the survey is not to despair over low marks but to do something about them. For that reason, said Dinh, a low score should not necessarily be considered a bad thing.  Rather, he said, it's an opportunity for authorities compare scores and learn from each other so they can do better.

Alcuna-Alfaro said it is now up to provincial authorities to take action and crack down on corruption.

With over 13,000 voices, the evidence will be difficult to ignore.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Belle
May 07, 2012 7:37 AM
I am afraid that this is just planning. Indeed, it is very difficult to overcome corruption. Many ordinary people who actually want corruption eradicated, but in reality it never came

by: QTam
May 05, 2012 10:22 AM
Totally agree with Cả Thộn. The VC regime has been nourrished by corruption. It is sad to say but the foreign funds from overseas Vietnamese, ODA, and other aid foundations have only helped the VC cadres at all levels and is not being used to help its people. Yet, their greed seems to be boundless as we see they now use all means to take away even small possession from poor people in Tien Lang or Van Giang.

by: Cả Thộn
May 04, 2012 1:55 PM
WOW, Even Vietnamese official seems to be happy with his government corruption low scores. Communists born to be corrupted, with them, no corruption, no life. Corruption is fringe benefit for Vietnamese Communist cadres. They don't even feel ashame for those activities. Corruption is the motive for people to join Communist Party, what do you expect ?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs