In Vietnam, Message of Equality Is Challenged by Widening Wealth Gap (SOEs)

HANOI, Vietnam. Sep 1, 2012. She wore a pink outfit and matching high heels as she toured the dusty construction site. Soon after To Linh Huong’s visit in April, photos that captured the moment went viral on the Internet, but not because of Ms. Huong’s sense of style.

The daughter of a member of the Vietnamese Communist Party’s Politburo, the country’s most powerful political body, Ms. Huong, 24 years old, had only days before been appointed the head of Vinaconex, a state-owned construction company.

Criticism has flourished partly because news of abuses has leaked out as State Owned Enterprises, which remain a central part of the economy, have floundered, helping precipitate Vietnam’s serious financial woes.

Vietnam’s president, Truong Tan Sang, issued a blunt self-criticism in a recent article in the state-run media, writing about the “failures and ineffectiveness of state-owned companies, the decay of political ideology and morality.” He also blamed the “lifestyle of a group of party members and officials” for the country’s problems.

“We should be proud about what we have done,” he wrote, speaking of the economic boom under Communist leadership, “but in the eyes of our ancestors, we should also feel ashamed for our weakness and failures, which have been preventing the growth of the nation.”

The total cost of these scandals to Vietnamese society remains unknown. But the billions of dollars in debt are likely to be a huge burden for the economy for years to come.

Read more …

In Vietnam, Message of Equality Is Challenged by Widening Wealth Gap, New York Times, Sep 1, 2012

Vietnam president talks corruption with Tuoi Tre, Tuoi Tre, Jun 25, 2012

Chấp nhận đau đớn để chống tham nhũng thành công, Tuoi Tre, Jun 25, 2012

President Sang addresses the nation on the 67th anniversary of the August Revolution (Aug 19, 1945) and National Day (Sep 2, 1845) , VietnamNet, Sep 3, 2012

Chủ tịch Trương Tấn Sang: Phải biết hổ thẹn với tiền nhân, Tin Mới, ngày 23 tháng tám năm 2012.