Democratization Advocates in Vietnam, 1990s–2014
Author: Benedict J. Tria Kerkvliet
Beginning in the mid 1990s, public criticism of the Communist Party government in Vietnam spread to the point that by 2014 it had become a prominent feature of the country's political scene. This article emphasizes critics who want to replace, nonviolently, the present regime with a democratic political system. Drawing primarily on the writings and actions of Vietnamese critics themselves, the analysis shows that they differ over how to displace the current system. Some regime critics think the Communist Party leadership itself can and should lead the way; others form organizations to openly and directly challenge the regime; still others urge remaking the current system by actively engaging it; and some favor expanding civil society in order to democratize the nation. Underlying the four approaches are different understandings of what democratization entails and how it relates to social and economic development.
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