Did not know this about Vietnam
PerfidiousPorpoise 25 May 23 13:30
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The party in power is still technically the COMMUNIST party ... (just like China, then, I guess, where communism is more cut-throat capitalist than in capitalist economies ...)


When I lived there, our office had a spy from the Communist party working there. I mean not very hidden everyone knew who she was. Each little quarter where people live also had one. They reported back on stuff to the party. 

They're called block captains and have regular meetings where they gossip about the neighbours. (But it's fairly low level stuff and bitching about the govt is pretty open, so pple generally don't give a shit.) Occasionally they might invite foreigners to attend for the hell of it.  

(Also Communist party members, or 'spies' if you like, are everywhere there. It's pretty obvious who they are by their family, social connections etc.)

It can be. The organisers of a talk on anti racism and the experiences of black expats in SGN during the height of BLM coverage and George Floyd's death, were invited for a chat with local police shortly after.  At the event itself, plain clothes police were present, but it was pretty obvious who they were (I've heard).

The way they control political activism is interesting. It's generally actively oppressed but from time to time they'll subtly encourage/allow protests if there is political mileage for the govt eg 2016 environmental protests against a Taiwanese steel manufacturer were allowed to run for a couple of weeks before the cops got nasty.