Vietnam’s Communist Party Chief Keeps His Job in ‘Rule-Breaking’ Leadership Meeting — Radio Free Asia

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Vietnam’s Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong was named in a high management assembly on Sunday to a 3rd time period because the Party’s common secretary, breaking Party guidelines that might usually have restricted him to 2 phrases in workplace.

Kept in his submit due to his achievements in workplace, Trong will now serve one other five-year time period in the Party’s high job, becoming a member of as a “special case” Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who was named prime minister regardless of having handed the customary retirement age of 65.

Speaking at a press convention on the conclusion of the 13th ruling Communist Party Congress, which started on Jan. 25 and ended a day early on Jan. 31, Trong mentioned he would favor to have retired, citing his age and saying, “Health is an important requirement for work.”

“The Congress elected me, though, so I will have to continue in my mission,” he mentioned.

No particulars had been supplied by state media relating to what number of candidates had run for the place of common secretary gained by Trong on the Party Congress, a gathering held each 5 years to pick Vietnam’s high leaders and approve financial insurance policies, and attended this yr by round 1,500 delegates from across the nation.

The convening of the Congress was cited by rights activists and specialists as the rationale Vietnam’s already low tolerance of dissent deteriorated sharply in 2020 with a sweeping round-up of impartial journalists, publishers, and Facebook commentators.

Speaking to RFA, Nguyen Dinh Cong—an in depth observer of the Congress and former head of the development school on the Hanoi University of Civil Engineering—voiced shock that Trong and Phuc had been named to their posts with out amendments being made to the Party constitution.

“I don’t know how these matters were discussed at the Congress, but I found this all very strange,” he mentioned.

A mutual understanding

China’s President Xi Jinping was the primary world chief to congratulate Trong on his continued position as Party chief, with Nguyen Quang A—a civil activist primarily based in Hanoi—describing the 2 males to RFA as shut private pals.

Trong’s election to a 3rd time period as Party chief in violation of Party guidelines was just like the removing in 2018 by Xi Jinping of a 10-year restrict to his time period as China’s president, permitting him now to serve for all times, Nguyen Quang A mentioned.

“That Nguyen Phu Trong was re-elected to the position of Vietnam’s Party general secretary is absolutely good news for China, because [he and Xi Jinping] understand each other,” he mentioned.

In a Feb. 1 assertion, the Paris-based Vietnam Committee on Human Rights mentioned the choice of Trong and Phuc as Vietnam’s high leaders “cements authoritarian rule and ushers in five more years of repression and human rights abuses.”

“While the international community has praised the Vietnamese government over its response to the [COVID-19] pandemic, it has utterly failed to condemn it over the harshest crackdown on peaceful dissent in recent years.”

“The international community’s muted reaction to the repression of peaceful dissent has emboldened the Communist Party of Vietnam to reward the country’s authoritarian leaders,” the Committee mentioned.

According to rights group Defend the Defenders, Hanoi is at present detaining at the very least 238 prisoners of conscience.

Reported by RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by Huy Le. Written in English by Richard Finney.

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