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Updated December 19th, 2023 at 20:11 IST

Critics, activists remain silent amid fear surrounding Xi Jinping's Hanoi Visit

During the visit last week, Vietnam agreed to become a part of Beijing's "community with a shared future."

Reported by: Digital Desk
Xi's Hanoi visit
Xi's Hanoi visit | Image:AP
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Activists and academics point to a culture of fear among those still at large as Vietnamese activism, traditionally centred on anti-China rallies, showed a subdued reaction to Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Vietnam on December 12-13. Hanoi has imprisoned critics, according to a Voice of America (VOA) report.

Xi Jinping's Hanoi Visit

During the visit last week, Vietnam agreed to become a part of Beijing's "community with a shared future." The nations' leaders, China and Vietnam, inked 36 agreements focused on heightened cooperation, including those related to security and collaborative efforts to advance the development of railroads and telecommunications, as reported by VOA. Tran Anh Quan, a social activist based in Ho Chi Minh City, highlighted the change in public response, noting that in 2015, there were protests against Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visits to Vietnam.

The 88 Project, a Chicago-based nonprofit promoting human rights in Vietnam, reported that there are currently 178 activists incarcerated in the country. Pham Doan Trang, one of the nation's prominent campaigners, received a nine-year prison sentence in December 2021 for disseminating "anti-state propaganda."

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Susann Pham, a political sociology lecturer at Turkey's Bilkent University and author of a book on Vietnam's dissidents, used similar words to describe the contemporary climate. According to Pham, those who are not in prison face daily harassment and surveillance.

Activists were also subjected to restrictions, such as being prevented from leaving their homes, and public meeting places were patrolled by the police, according to Quan. He noted that Vietnamese security guarded dissidents' homes and locations prone to protests, such as Ly Thai To flower garden in Hanoi and Notre Dame Cathedral in Saigon, to prevent public demonstrations against Xi Jinping. The common strategy of heavily guarding activists' homes ahead of major visits is intimidating, added Pham.

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Published December 19th, 2023 at 20:11 IST

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