Vietnamese people rejoiced when Parliament unwilling to give more power to the police and increase their staff

The Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) considers the police forces as a sword and shield protecting the regime (photo taken in Binh Thuan, June 10, 2018)

With a majority rate of over 60%, Vietnam’s highest legislative body National Assembly (NA)’s on November 17 expressed “disagree” to transfer the driver’s license granting process from the Ministry of Transport to the Ministry of Public Security, as well as saying that “it is not necessary” to build the Law on Forces which participate in protecting security and order at the grassroots level.

Through observing social networks, VOA found that many people welcomed the move of the NA to dismiss two policies considered to serve the interests of the police.

Domestic newspapers and news sites including Thanh Nien, Lao Dong, Tuoi Tre, and Zing News reported that NA’s 321 members (nearly 67% of the total number of national legislators) chose to “not transfer” management functions, training, and testing to grant driving licenses from the Ministry of Transport to the Ministry of Public Security.

Regarding the need to promulgate the Law on Forces participating in security and order protection at the grassroots level, there are 290 NA’s members (approximately 61%) who choose the “not necessary” option, the state-controlled media reported.

Discussing the above bill, army General Sung Thin Co, a representative of Ha Giang province, said: “The communal police force has a 70-year history of construction and maturity. However, the effective Law on the People’s Public Security Forces brought the regular police force to replace, making the mission of the communal police ended. Sorry Minister, right now the number of police forces is too high.”

Many people expressed on social media that the fact that the NA set aside the two above-mentioned guidelines is a good and good sign for the country. They commended the parliament for its wise and popular opinion when preventing the Ministry of Public Security from becoming a super ministry.

Writing on his personal page, Dr. Nguyen Quang A, an activist for democracy and social progress, said: “The police force is a huge interest group, it wants to be even bigger. People must stop that!”

VOA tried to contact the Ministry of Public Security representatives to find out their views but got no response.

Minister of Public Security To Lam

Nguyen Huu Vinh, a former Vietnamese security major, who was jailed for blogging on democracy and political freedom issues, shared the same mindset that the parliament was wise.

Further commenting on VOA, Mr. Vinh said that the NA’s blocking of two policies to increase power and force for the police was a “special” move.

Mr. Vinh noted that the power of the Vietnamese police is enormous given the fact that more and more people are going through leadership positions in the police and then advancing in the party and government system.

To give some examples of this, the former political prisoner now an independent journalist listed the names Nguyen Tan Dung, Le Hong Anh, Truong Hoa Binh, Tran Dai Quang, Pham Minh Chinh, etc. “People say the government became police,” Mr. Vinh said.

Therefore, it is very strange that the NA rejected the two proposed policies, the former security major assessed. Mr. Vinh stated why national legislator did so:

Maybe many people are going to leave office, so they show that they have their own bravery and opinion. Or maybe at a higher level of the NA, it’s Standing Committee, for example, there is disagreement so the legislators are given the green light.”

Former major, the former political prisoner, also known as blogger Anh Ba Sam, commented to VOA that the police need to improve the capacity of their officers and soldiers, so that the number of their staff is reduced and have better professional skills, instead of bulging.

At the political leadership level, the party needs to tighten the fact that public security officials are assigned to key positions in the party and state system. With a long-term understanding of the police, Mr. Nguyen Huu Vinh gave an analysis:

Personally, I see that police officers lack conditions to train and learn knowledge about economic, social and state management. When they take up the positions of party and state leadership, they will inevitably be at a disadvantage than those who are well trained, who are heavily rubbed in that managerial position. They only have more power, people fear them, not respect them.”

Blogger Anh Ba Sam said that it is not difficult to understand when the police “seems to be expanding” in many areas.

He affirmed that since the party itself has a monopoly on leadership of the country, they feel insecure about being able to maintain power for a long time, so they must strengthen the forces to protect the institutions in which the police have a huge role to play.

The Party called the police the sword to protect the party,” said Vinh. “Now they have more power because the anti-corruption is being promoted.”

The riot police suppressed the people of Dong Tam, Hanoi in the early morning of January 9, 2020

But there are two irony things raised, but the NA members and state media “do not dare” question, in the view of former security major – blogger Anh Ba Sam, is that the police are really effective that corruption has been increasing, and are the police force clean and immune to corruption?

Another issue related to the power of the police is that the they hold both the security department and the police department, Nguyen Huu Vinh pointed out.

The former security officer said that the number of security officers and soldiers currently accounts for half of the entire police force, with personnel “going down to the caves and open alleys of people.” Meanwhile, Mr. Vinh compared that in many advanced countries around the world, security-intelligence is a special force, without lots of personnel.

Taking the example of a security section called “cultural protection,” blogger Anh Ba Sam affirmed that this force strictly monitors the artists and scientists, making them “afraid, shy, restrained intellectual development, compose, feel insecure.”

The consequence of the intellectual control of the artists and intellectuals is that they cannot produce healthy cultural and intellectual products but only low-end and cheap products while social morality is deteriorated, Mr. Nguyen Huu Vinh told VOA.

As such, the former security officer actively spoke out for social progress, proposing that the CPV should adjust the structure of the Ministry of Public Security, separate and streamline the security department, and convert it into the Security and Intelligence Committee (general department level under the government).

Another suggestion of Mr. Vinh is that the training of police officers and soldiers – which he considers the root cause – also needs reform.

Formerly in the industry, the former security major told VOA: “In many countries, they hire adults to train as police or security guards. In Vietnam, people recruited high school students and then successfully trained the police. Teaching innocent students about industry tricks and instilling in them a sense that they have tremendous power, that’s just wrong, just doesn’t make sense.” (Translated)