Vietnam. The widespread corruption within the state apparatus and in state-owned companies continued to be one of the biggest problems of the communist regime. In March, nine executives in the state-owned shipping company Vinashin were convicted of having brought the company to the brink of bankruptcy. Vinashin had incurred huge debts due to the doomed managers’ failure to comply with the company and their failure to comply with internal rules for, inter alia, accounting. Vinashin’s former chairman received the longest sentence of 20 years in prison. In August, a well-known banker and businessman was arrested for involvement in the Vinashin scandal.
In August, Vietnam was assisted by the United States in the extensive work of cleaning land and other areas from the Agent Orange decomposer, which the United States spread across Vietnam during the 1970s war to more easily see guerrillas hiding in the woods. The United States helped clean up the airport in the city of Đa-Năng where the poison was stored. The cleaning work was planned to take several years. The United States had previously donated money to social efforts to alleviate the effects of Agent Orange, but this was the first time the Americans participated in the cleanup itself.
- AbbreviationFinder.org: Provides most commonly used acronyms and abbreviations for Vietnam. Also includes location map, major cities, and country overview.
Another problem that was noticed during the year was the many conflicts over land ownership in the country. Since the state owns all land in Vietnam, it is often unclear who has the right to cultivate it or use it as pasture land. There were reports that peasants had attacked local government offices. In April, the British BBC reported that police arrested 20 people after dispelling a crowd protesting against being evicted from an area of agricultural land in the northern province of Hu’ng Yễn. Nearly 5,000 families should have been forced to relocate from the area, which would be built with new properties.
The regime’s attempts to control electronic media continued. Three bloggers were sentenced in September to long prison sentences for publishing regime criticism online. The blogger who was sentenced to the longest sentence received 12 years in prison.
In October, Prime Minister Nguyễn Tân Dung went out and apologized for not being able to deal with the corruption. The recognition came after a meeting of the Communist Party’s top leadership. The Prime Minister personally nominated the corruption convicted former chairman of Vinashin for the assignment.
In December, four people belonging to the minority people hmong were sentenced to prison for overthrowing activities. The crime was supposed to have taken place during a Christian ceremony in Lai Chai in northwest spring 2011. At the time, a large number of villagers should have gathered pending the arrival of the Messiah, but according to the court, they had gathered to proclaim their own state. There is a deep underlying crisis of confidence between the Vietnamese regime and the Hmong minority, not least because Hmong chose to support the United States during the Vietnam War.
Regional relations were strained during the year as the protracted conflict over the island groups Spratly and Paracel in the South China Sea intensified. Vietnam was one of several countries that claimed all or part of the territorial waters around the islands. In the sea outside the archipelago there is believed to be oil and natural gas. In March, 21 Vietnamese fishermen were caught in the sea off the Paracel Islands by Chinese authorities who claimed that the fishermen were not allowed to fish there. The fish were released a month later. When the Vietnamese National Assembly approved a new law in June stating that the island groups belong to Vietnam, China protested loudly. China contrasted with opening for international oil and gas companies to bargain for the right to exploit parts of the area, parts that Vietnam regarded as theirs.
VIETNAM – NATURAL BEAUTY AND WAR SCARS
On the way to Vietnam, a unique mix of new and old invites you to explore the big cities of Vietnam, Hanoi in the north and Ho Chi Minh (formerly Saigon) in the south.
Old and venerable Hanoi was born on the banks of the Red River as early as a thousand years ago. The wide boulevards and colonial-style administration buildings stand out from the narrow streets and alleys filled with thousands of mopeds, the hustle and bustle of street kitchen utensils, and the smells of food and spices. Located northeast of Hanoi, the UNESCO-protected Gulf of Halong with its thousands of karst islands offers a startling nature experience.
Life is teeming with the bustling shopping streets, cafes, bars and nightclubs of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s largest city and economic center.
According to countryaah, the population of Vietnam in 2012 was 92,676,965, ranking number 14 in the world. The population growth rate was 1.050% yearly, and the population density was 298.8908 people per km2.