Speaking Out in Vietnam: Public Political Criticism in a Communist-Party Ruled Nation

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About the Publication

Since 1990 public political criticism has evolved into a prominent feature of Vietnam’s political landscape. So argues Benedict J. Tria Kerkvliet in his analysis of Communist Party–ruled Vietnam. Speaking Out in Vietnam assesses the rise and diversity of these public displays of disagreement, showing that they have morphed from family whispers to large-scale use of electronic media. 

In discussing how such criticism has become widespread over the last three decades, Kerkvliet focuses on four clusters of critics: factory workers demanding better wages and living standards; villagers demonstrating and petitioning against corruption and land confiscations; citizens opposing China’s encroachment into Vietnam and criticizing China-Vietnam relations; and dissidents objecting to the party-state regime and pressing for democratization. He finds that public political criticism ranges from lambasting corrupt authorities to condemning the repression of bloggers to protesting about working conditions. Speaking Out in Vietnam shows that, although we may think that the party-state represses public criticism, in fact Vietnamese authorities often tolerate and respond positively to such public and open protests.

Co-publication: Cornell University Press / ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute

ISEAS edition is for distribution in ASEAN countries


Speaking Out in Vietnam: Public Political Criticism in a Communist-Party Ruled Nation [Whole Publication], by Benedict J Tria Kerkvliet, author
Preliminary pages
Introduction: Political Criticism and the Party-State
1. Labor: Protesting Working and Living Conditions
2. Land: Defending Farms and Opposing Corruption
3. Nation: Protecting Vietnam and Questioning the Party's Patriotism
4. Democratization: Advocating Regime Change
5. Party-State Authorities: Treatment of Regime Critics
6. Reprise and Prospects
Appendix: Cited Party-State Newspapers

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