Warnings: Misusing civil society to create opposite forces agaisnt the State


The rapid growth of the past two decades has transformed Vietnam economically and socially, raising living standards and lifting millions out of poverty. This growth has generated new and more complex development challenges, from environmental degradation to rising income inequality. Basic public services such as health, education, and clean water are under serious stress, and the government is struggling to maintain adequate standards and ease of access for all citizens. More and more Vietnamese civil society organizations (CSOs) are emerging, responding to the country’s needs through a variety of approaches, from independent research and policy advocacy to charity work.
Civil society is the "aggregate of non-governmental organizations and institutions that manifest interests and will of citizens". Civil society includes the family and the private sphere, referred to as the "third sector" of society, distinct from government and business. Institutions composing civil society may be for-profit or not-for-profit.
Broadly, there are five important decree/laws currently in existence, which govern different elements of civil society organisations in Vietnam. The laws and decrees show clarity of purpose for cooperatives, CBOs and charities. The Grassroots Democracy Decree 79 (2003) institutionalises the participation of local communities/CBOs/organisations of the poor in development activities at the level of the commune. This is seen as an important step in the development of civil society in Vietnam. The law on Cooperatives recognises cooperatives as voluntary organisations functioning as independent economic entities. The law on Science and Technology recognises professional associations as independent service organisations with the only option available to most development NGOs. The decree 177 recognises charity and social funds. Lastly, the law on Associations is currently under revision by the NGO Department of the Ministry of Home Affairs. It is hoped that the law, which is in its 10th draft, will define the concept of NGOs along with their role, function and management arrangements.
Development of civil society in Vietnam Since the first National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam in 1935, Party considerations of social organization in Vietnam have focused on the development of mass organizations. They maintain large memberships (Women’s Union - 12 million; Farmers’ association – 8 million; General Federation of Trade Union – 4.2 million; Youth Union – 5.1 million; Veterans’ Association – 1.92 million) operating through extensive bureaucratic structures at central, provincial, district and local levels and continue to play a dominant role in civic life in Vietnam. Professional associations have also operated at both national and local levels since independence. Although mass organizations continue to dominate the space for civil society, the Doi Moi reforms since 1986 have helped to catalyze greater diversity of civic life. There has been an increase in public awareness of the contribution of non-government actors, as many new civil society organizations have emerged to engage in a wide range of issues, from environmental protection to gender equality and disaster relief.
But, following the boom of CSOs challenges have emerged, threatened and undermined the country’s national security and public order. Hostile forces at home and abroad have taken advantages of the government’s favourable policies of developing SCOs to carry out their wicked schemes in order to damage and overthrow the country’s political system. It can be listed out some that are illegally operating in Vietnam such as Network of Vietnamese Bloggers, the League of Independent Vietnamese Writers, Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience, Vietnamese Women for human rights, Bloc 8406, Association of Bau Bi Tuong Than, the Independent Journalist Association of Vietnam, the Vietnam’s Inter-Religious Council, the Brotherhood for Democracy, No-U club, Lê Hiếu Đằng Club, etc. These groups have also been controlled and supported from outside forces. They have launched many activities that cost damages to the country’s national interests and security. There is need for management and supervision of these SCOs in Vietnam.
According to Vietnam’s laws, all CSOs in Vietnam are required to register with a relevant government body, a professional or umbrella organization, a ministry, or local government entity. As such, the organization a CSO registers with depends both on whom the CSO approaches and also on whether the particular umbrella body or agency is willing to accept the CSO.
Regional variations in registration status are also reflected in the ease with which CSOs were able to register. In Hanoi, 38 organizations stated that they encountered no difficulty during the registration process.
Reasons for optimism varied. Sixty-four percent of organizations surveyed believe strongly in their organizational direction, while 26% noted the continuing availability of donor funding despite rising average incomes in Vietnam. Twenty percent believe that state policy toward civil society and NGOs is moving in a positive direction.
The growth in the number of legally recognized professional associations, research and training centers, institutes, and NGOs as well as thousands of informal and unregistered groups currently existing in Vietnam reflects a relatively more hospitable environment provided by the state for civic engagement. The development of a more vibrant civil society sector is a natural outcome of a more open economic system and society, increasingly connected to regional and global trends and information networks./.

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All comments [ 10 ]

Love Peace 12/7/17 21:41

It is a dangerous trick that needs to be settled, all nations and international organizations must cooperate to cope with it.

Gentle Moon 12/7/17 21:44

There are many civil society organizations operating in Vietnam now, the government needs to monitor and manage their activities in accordance with the laws.

MaskOf Zero 12/7/17 21:54

Behind these civil society organizations are foreign hostile forces, they have used these as a plot to oppose Vietnam's State and Party.

yobro yobro 12/7/17 21:59

Many anti-Vietnam elements have abused civil society as a tool to conduct their scheme of sabotaging the country.

John Smith 12/7/17 22:01

Vietnam is so free environment for civil society organizations!

Only Solidar 12/7/17 22:07

People should be alert at these civil society organizations's activities. Do not take part in any bad movements that would harm you!

LawrenceSamuels 12/7/17 22:09

All organizations in Vietnam must operate in accordance with the laws and for the country's interests.

Deck Hero14 12/7/17 22:12

Yes, any foreign civil organizations must be managed under the country's laws and regulations.

Jane smartnic 12/7/17 22:15

The government should have measures to monitor these civil society organizations, do not let them be controlled by hostile forces.

Pack Cassiopian 12/7/17 22:18

Many civil society organizations have operated opposite with the government's policies. They must be handled with!

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