Democracy becomes more expensive in Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party?

General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong

The more “tighten” the more “unfold

The 6th Conference of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam, term 13, opened in Hanoi on the morning of October 3, 2022.

At the plenum, General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong acknowledged many shortcomings of the party members, especially the lack of good control over power in cadre work. He said that part of cadres and party members, especially leaders and managers at all levels, lacked exemplary role models, adversely affecting the prestige and leadership of the party.

Those limitations, according to Mr. Trong, are due to the inspection, supervision, and discipline of the Party, although there have been many innovations, still have not fully met the requirements and tasks in the new situation, quality and effectiveness are not equal at all levels.

Mr. Viet Hoang, a Vietnam political observer, currently in Germany, who used to be an independent journalist, told RFA of Mr. Trong’s statement on October 3, 2022:

Actually, this is a way for Mr. Trong to defend the fact that Party officials have just been arrested and disciplined. But as for the internal regulations of the Party, it has always been the same. They’ve been in power for 77 years, not new.

This communist regime is also very deadlocked, but they can’t fix it, only patch it up. They try to make the lower-level Party members believe that the Party is trying to fix it, but in fact, they are not capable of changing. They’re just talking to encourage them internally.”

In fact, over the past time, too many Party members have been disciplined or even jailed for violations in many fields. The expulsion of Mr. Chu Ngoc Anh, former Chairman of Hanoi City, and Mr. Nguyen Thanh Long, former Minister of Health from the Party last June showed that the leaders of the Communist Party of Vietnam had to resort to the highest disciplinary measures to warn party members.

Recently, in the report of the Central Steering Committee for Anti-corruption, it was stated that in the first six months of the year, Party committees and inspection committees at all levels disciplined 295 party members for corruption, intentional doing wrong (increasing 117 party members over the same period last year). The Central Committee, the Politburo, the Secretariat, and the Central Commission for Inspection have disciplined 27 officials under the management of the Politburo and the Secretariat (an increase of 20 cases compared to the same period last year).

Returning to the report at the Party’s national cadre conference in December 2021, Ms. Truong Thi Mai, Head of the Central Organizing Commission, said that during the term from 2016 to 2020, the Party had to discipline more than 25,000 Party members who showed signs of “self-evolution” or “self-transformation.”

A lawyer who did not wish to be named in Hanoi gave his views to RFA on the matter:

Mr. Trong has long said that power must be locked in a mechanism cage. That is, all power must be controlled and monitored. That has been his wish for many years. Now he only repeats it because just now too many cadres committed violations due to abuse of power. Recently, Deputy Foreign Minister and assistant to Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh were forced to resign. Then, regarding Viet A, the provincial party secretary and Central Committee members were also arrested. Instead of using his power to support the people, they acted against the mass. Instead of rescuing people, it became ‘killing people’ with rescue flights. Instead of using power to serve the people, they use power to enrich individuals and interest groups.”

Realizing that corruption is becoming more and more serious, threatening the economic development and survival of the regime, in a meeting with Hanoi voters on October 7, 2016, Mr. Trong said there is a need to control power and must confine power in a “cage of law.”

Deprivation of democracy in the party

In March this year, General Secretary Trong published a book titled “Some theoretical and practical issues about socialism and the path to socialism in Vietnam,” which refers to the control of power in the political system in Vietnam.

According to Mr. Trong, in order to control political power well, first of all, it is necessary to build a full and close institution as a basis for preventing and combating corruption and negativity; must build a synchronous, scientific, effective, and efficient legal system so that people in positions of power and rights cannot be corrupt if there are strict, complete, public, transparent and legal regulations. regularly checked and monitored.

No matter how many regulations and decrees Mr. Trong issued and even launched a ‘burning furnace’ campaign, the number of corrupt party members still numbered in the thousands.

It can be understood that the Communist Party of Vietnam has not really controlled the power well in the management of cadres. Former army lieutenant colonel Vu Minh Tri told RFA of his views:

Actually, all cadre work is controlled by the Party. In the army, it is even more clear that cadre work is not held by the Party in general, but by the Party committee. The leader is also just a member of the committee. That’s why it’s called control, but it’s actually all their responsibility.

It sounds like they want to be clear, and transparent, and no one can manipulate them… but in my opinion, the bottom line here is that he and his team want to seize the power of cadre work into their own hands.

From 2000 onwards, it was still better, but after 2000, most of the money gradually went to most of the secretaries of the provincial Party Committees of the provinces and centrally-run cities, not elected by the congress, but appointed by the Central Committee. It means that the higher-ups are increasingly manipulating the work of subordinates. It handles the entire appointment of staff. That is one of the reasons the Communist Party maintains its power.

They are more and more like the Chinese side, that is, depriving the Party’s members of democratic rights.” (Translated)

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