As Vietnam concluded its Tenth Party Congress, discussion among media in the Asia-Pacific region turned to the country’s progress in the area of political liberalization. Mainland media, however, tersely avoided the topic, focusing instead on the country’s economic goals. This is demonstration once again of China’s determination to push economic reforms while it keeps political reforms at bay.
Writing in today’s South China Morning Post (“A course for political change”), Martin Gainsborough said there had been increased discussion at Vietnam’s recent congress about “citizen participation in the decisions that affect them. There was even talk about introducing greater competition into the process of electing the party general secretary.” Here is more from that article:
During the congress, the former party general secretary, Le Kha Phieu, said in an interview that what Vietnam needed was renovation in the area of democracy, just as it did 20 years ago in the economy. Mr Phieu was not advocating an end to one-party rule but an end to what he described as the disease of “partyisation”, whereby the party dominates everything. The party took a step towards allowing private entrepreneurs to become members, without actually sanctioning it, at the congress … So we may be witnessing the beginning of a new loosening up: political liberalisation Vietnamese style.
Hong Kong’s Yazhou Zhoukan wrote that the “success of the Vietnamese Communist Party’s political reforms are another form of pressure on the Chinese Communist Party. The CCP must have a response addressing the shortfall between the economy and politics”.
The following is People’s Daily’s coverage of Vietnam’s Tenth Party Congress:
Vietnam’s Nong Duc Manh Again to Serve as General Secretary
Xinhua News Agency, Vietnam, April 25 (reporter Huang Haimin). As the eight-day long Tenth Party Congress closed its doors on April 25, Nong Duc Manh was once again chosen as general secretary of the Vietnamese Communist Party.
Speaking before the congress that day Nong Duc Manh said the Tenth Party Congress was a historic occasion for the Party, government and people of Vietnam.
Nong Duc Manh said the congress had resolved over the coming years to work hard to improve its leadership and fighting strength. At the same time it would use the strength of the nation to push ahead with its reform and opening so that Vietnam could soon throw off its lack of development, with the goal of setting the stage for Vietnam’s becoming a modern industrial base by 2020.
An article in Shanghai’s Wenhui Bao offered almost identical coverage, adding only Hu Jintao’s congratulations to Nong Duc Manh: “We are happy to see that in the last 20 years, and especially since the last Party congress, that Vietnam has achieved excellent results in its building of Socialism and reform efforts. It has maintained long-term political stability, its economy has developed rapidly, and its international standing has improved. I trust that the correct leadership of the Vietnamese Communist Party and the path of the Tenth Congress will lead Vietnamese society and reform forward”.
[Posted by David Bandurski, April 28, 2006, 4:46pm]