Archive for May, 2011

Fake Elections, Communist Style

Posted in Politics, Society with tags , , , on May 28, 2011 by Ian Pham

Who wants to hear something funny?  The Communist Party of Vietnam is holding a ‘democratic’ election this week, letting the people cast their votes on potential candidates capable of running for office.  However, there are some catches: the candidates are chosen by the Communist Party, they represent no one else but the Communist Party, and all issues and agendas must resonate with the VCP.  Multiparty elections remain strictly prohibited and the mere mention of such an idea can still get a person thrown in jail for long periods of time.

Why are they doing this exactly?  Nowadays, the Vietnamese Communists like to talk about ‘openness’ and ‘transparency.’ simulating democracy to appear more humane and fair before the eyes of potential investors.  Some may argue that what they’re doing is somewhat democratic, that the country is slowly changing itself into a real democracy.  Idealistic, but unrealistic.  There is nothing democratic about this election, not even the candidates.

All of the people running for Vietnam’s National Assembly are specifically chosen by the Fatherland Front, a powerful organization within the Communist Party.  The candidates’ platforms and stances on social issues are all chosen by the Party, which means that genuinely hot-button issues such as economic inflation, government corruption, and relations with China are banned from discussion.  Simply speaking, those running in the election don’t really speak for themselves.  Either they are catering to the Party, or are outright puppets in this fictional display, shamelessly branded as a ‘democratic election.’

It is disappointing, but this election, and I use this term loosely, is just a show for the people of Vietnam who are still kept in the dark.  There are a few in Vietnam who know the true meaning of democracy.  Sadly, these knowledgable ones are unable to bring it their visions, due to the brutality of the Communist system.  Even those that become members of this National Assembly will still be subordinate to the Politburo, the supreme ruling circle of the VCP.  There will still be no checks and balances, and no change will truly come.  Therefore, the type of democracy these dictators claim to practice is just a sham, another trick that a Communist is trying to pass off as something substantial.

Pictures: “Towards prosperity, a strong nation, fairness, democracy, and civilization!”; VCP General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong drops a ballot into the ballot box.  Why the number one leader in the country is casting a vote for his subordinates is beyond this blogger’s understanding.

Vietnam’s Shipbuilding Company Collapses

Posted in Economics with tags , , , , on May 19, 2011 by Ian Pham

Anyone seeking substantial evidence of Vietnam’s unstable economy may want to take a look at the current state of Vinashin, the country’s state-run shipbuilding corporation.  What was meant to be Vietnam’s first great leap into the industrial era has turned out to be a major fiasco.  Vinashin was the Communist Party’s attempt to lead Vietnam’s economy into the shipbuilding arena.  The had hoped to create more heavy industries in Vietnam, with Vinashin at the forefront of this path to modernization. Unfortunately for them, this dream will not become a reality.  Vinashin has run up a debt of $4.4 billion, with $600 million of this money owed to foreign investors.

As a state-run company, Vinashin was depending on some government assistance to keep the company afloat.  However, at least to the company’s surprise, the government did not come to their assistance.  In 2007, the government sent a letter to Vinashin that expressed their support for the company, safeguarding a $600 million loan from foreign investors.  This promise meant nothing, it turns out.  When Vinashin encountered financial troubles as a result of the recent global recession, the government failed to provide help to the company.  As a result, Vinashin was unable to repay its ever growing debts, and drew even closer to bankruptcy.

The incompetence of the Communist government, along with the company’s personnel, have led to the downfall of the shipbuilding corporation.  Foreign investors and lenders now believe that they have been cheated by the VCP.  With billions of dollars in debt and no sign of improvement, the Vinashin shipbuilding company has no way to repay their investors, who are demanding their money back.  Economically, Vinashin is a prime example of how incapable the Communist Party is of building a functional corporation for the country.  With no emphasis on creating a professional workforce or the training of competent employment, any attempt by the state to modernize the economy will surely end in failure.

Bloody Repression of the Hmong in Vietnam

Posted in Politics, Society with tags , , , , , , , on May 13, 2011 by Ian Pham

A peaceful gathering turned violent last week when thousands of Hmong demonstrators clashed with government forces in Vietnam.  What started out as a religious assembly of Hmong Christians turned into a violent repression as their prayers were interrupted and crushed by the Vietnamese Communist Party.  The Communist government moved in their military and security forces into the province of Dien Bien to suppress the religious demonstration of the Hmong poeple, killing about 49, wounding several hundreds, and detaining countless more.

This is the latest example in how far the Communist Party will go to defend their own power.  They will not hesitate to murder their own population to maintain their stranglehold on governance.  For a Communist, terror and atrocity is not the last resort, but rather a conventional tactic.  In response to recent criticism, the Communist Party rationalizes their actions by saying that the Hmong protestors of using religion to undermine the state and “calling for a separate empire of the Hmong people,” which is not only absurd, but just stupid.

The United States government says that they will investigate the situation, which could mean many things.  At this moment, the U.S. is not very happy with the Vietnamese Communists, but still wants to have them as allies as counter-weight against China.  That is why they are keeping an uneasy silence against the recent crimes of the VCP.  The arrest of Cu Huy Ha Vu last month came at the chagrin of the Americans, now this recent attack on the Hmong protestors is further straining the relationship.  The Communists really need to recognize the value of the U.S. as a potential partner.  Supporting human rights and international law is a simple act that can have so many positive results.  They should think about that.

Going Bankrupt?

Posted in Economics, Politics with tags , , , , , , , on May 9, 2011 by Ian Pham

Here is something that I hope many of you will find interesting.  There is word going around from some analysts, suggesting that the Communist Party of Vietnam is going bankrupt.  This is more than speculation, but since the Communist system is built upon nothing but lies, it is a very real possibility.  How can this be?  Isn’t Vietnam one of Asia’s second fastest growing economies, only behind China, with an annual GDP growth of 7-8%?  Maybe, but maybe not.

Let’s talk about China for a moment.  It is widely believed that the Chinese economy is one of the fastest growing economies in the world.  Strong GDP figures, healthy numbers on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), and so on.  But hold on a minute, how do we know that these figures are what the Chinese Communists say they are?  An article by Taipen Daily editor Justice Litle puts these figures directly into question.

According to Litle, many of China’s claims to economic growth are strongly exaggerated, even to the point of outright fabrication.  In his article, “China Has Reason to be Terrified” (February 25, 2011), Litle goes over the discrepancies in China’s statistics on economic growth, looking at the reasons why the numbers just don’t add up.  To further strengthen his argument, Litle quotes the words of a Li Kequiang, China’s prominent political insider, who refers to the statistical figures as “man-made” and “for references only.”  To summarize, it is possible that the stats for China’s economic growth, as released by Beijing, may be completely untrue.  Though we may not be able to prove it yet, the ferocity of China’s economic growth may be fabricated. Furthermore, it is possible that the country is more of a paper tiger than is generally perceived.

Let’s now look back at Communist Vietnam, who, to the chagrin of your’s truly, always seems to be following in Beijing’s footsteps.  Nowadays, it is believed that Vietnam is the new up-and-coming economy in Asia, with a strong annual growth and ever-increasing market strength.  This general perception, like that of China’s, may also be nothing but pure bull.  Not only is Vietnam’s economy not what its leaders claim it to be, but its condition may actually be worse.  Exponentially worse, as a matter of fact.  Unlike China, who may still have the investment and economic clout to sustain itself, the smaller economy of Vietnam might not even have enough money to keep its economy afloat for much longer.  As a matter of fact, many believe that Vietnam’s economy is set to collapse in the not-too-distant future, taking the Communists with it.

It seems that the Communist regime is not as sustainable as the fools hoped it would be.  Vietnam’s Communist dictators are starting to run out of steam, taking so much money out of the economy that the system itself is now in jeopardy.  Though it is not positively certain that the Communists are on their way out, one should still feel joy in the possibility that their impending collapse may happen very soon.  Vietnam is in need of a revolution, and this need grows steadily stronger with time.  Double digit inflation is plaguing the Vietnamese economy, and this new evidence of statistical fabrication only strengthens the possibility that the Communists are losing grip of their own system.  This may be the breaking point of the Communist regime.  It is obvious that they’ve pushed the people too far, but it seems that they are pushing the system to the limit as well.  It is only a matter of time now, Vietnam’s revolution may not be far away.

Madam Nhu: The Passing of the ‘Dragon Lady’

Posted in Modern History, Politics with tags , , , , , , on May 3, 2011 by Ian Pham

First off, one must express condolence to the recent passing of Madam Nhu.  She is a human being and, as such, deserves as much respect upon her death as any other human being.  Why must we speak of respect at the beginning of this article?  Well, as the wife of a prominent South Vietnamese politician, Ngo Dinh Nhu, Lady Nhu was not the most humble of people.  If you have ever wondered why President Ngo Dinh Diem was branded as an oppressive anti-Buddhist, Madam Nhu is part of the reason why.

Tran Le Xuan (Madam Nhu) was known for her sharp tongue and shrill personality.  Known as the ‘Dragon Lady,’ Xuan would often express her harsh points of views in the most vulgar of ways.  Madam Nhu never hesitated to publicly bash the Buddhist population, making discriminatory remarks, and belittle the people of the religion.  She shamelessly labelled the self immolations of the Buddhist monks as ‘barbecues,’ lauding that she would willingly clap her hands as she watches them burn.

To call Tran Le Xuan an outspoken political figure would be an understatement.  Aside from her blatant disrespect for the Buddhist population, Madam Nhu liked to bash anything or anyone that she did not agree with.  Her targets included the American media, domestic politicians, and even the president himself.  As a result, she became a lighting rod for western journalists, providing them with much ammunition to degrade the image of South Vietnam.  Madam Nhu’s words and actions would be widely publicized, used by the media to further ruin the reputation of president Ngo Dinh Diem.

To better understand the circumstances of Ngo Dinh Diem, the First President of South Vietnam, one must look at his family.  Diem himself did little to discriminate againt the Buddhist population as a whole.  In reality, it was the actions of several of his powerful family members, Madam Nhu among them, that sparked the civil discontent of the Buddhist population.  Diem’s main fault was failing to control them.  The U.S. government also played a role in creating Buddhist discontent as part of their plan to remove Diem.  However, the stupidity of some of the members of the Ngo family seriously exacerbated the situation, giving the Americans all the means to destroy Diem’s image.

This is the unfortunate reality.  Madam Nhu, the sister-in-law of Ngo Dinh Diem, played a role that affected South Vietnam in an extremely negative way.  She was a public figure that attracted much media attention, but she abused this power and represented South Vietnam in a very poor light.  This article is in no way meant to disrespect the late Tran Le Xuan.  She was a tough minded woman, but the truth is that she made some critical mistakes, many which resulted in the suffering of the Vietnamese people.  Therefore, even though one should still respect her passing, one must not forget the wrongs she has done.  Madam Nhu passed away on April 24, 2011, at the age of 87.  May she rest in peace.