Communist Review (Vietnam)

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Date: 1991

Region: Asia

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Print Journalism


Artist: Duong Hu Huong Vietnamese Government

Confronting Bodies: Vietnamese Government

Dates of Action: April 16, 1991

Location: Vietnam

Description of Artwork: "Apparently accepting at face value the (Communist) party's call for criticism and comments, the March issue of Communist Review (the party's theoretical journal) published the views of six well-known intellectuals who had been invited to participate in a seminar organized by the magazine in January. According to the magazine, the participants strongly criticized two draft documents prepared for the upcoming congress-a political platform and an economic blueprint-and questioned whether Marxism-Leninism was appropriate for resolving Vietnam's current economic and political problems."

The Incident: "...Party leaders reacted sharply to the Communist Review's article, even though seminar participants say their strongest criticisms were not reported. The central committee's culture and ideology department called a meeting of print media editors, during which they were warned against going too far in reporting the views of critics... " Furthermore, "... Vietnamese officials say party leaders were so angered by this article-along with two petitions from Vietnamese intellectuals published in Europe-that they ordered increased surveillance of dissidents and requested other state-controlled media to launch a campaign slamming the party's critics. At least one well known writer Duong Hu Huong was arrested in mid-April for allegedely trying to send documents criticizing the government out of the country..." Duong Hu Huong had quit the communist party the previous year and began to sharply criticize the government. The overseas Vietnamese who was carrying Duong Hu Huong's documents was detained by the government.

Results of Incident: "... Communist Review appears to have fallen back into line in the face of criticism. Its April issue contains an article by its editorial board entitled "Some Things Need to be Discussed Again" which challenged the views of (the editors of the controversial issue) as "not quite right!" The article said that Marxism-Leninism was still the sole ideological system," but insisted that it had 'historical limitations' and needed to be "adjusted to fit the current situation in Vietnam. The carrier of Duong Hu Huong's documents was still being detained as of May 2, 1991."

Source: Murray Hiebert, Far Eastern Economic Review, "Higher Criticism," v 151 n 18, May 2, p 17-18