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Thursday, 17 August 2017 10:46
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Fight against the abuse of “civil society” for political transformation in Vietnam

(LLCT) - At present, the issue of “civil society” has drawn attention of many scholars, scientists, managers and policy-makers at global scale because it is an extremely complicated and sensitive socio-political issue. For Vietnam, hostile forces have been taking advantage of the civil society issue to accelerate “self-evolution”, “self-transformation” with the plot of changing the political regime in Vietnam. 

1. Plots and tricks of hostile forces in abusing “civil society” issue in Vietnam today

At present, the issue of “civil society” has drawn attention of many scholars, scientists, managers and policy-makers at global scale because it is an extremely complicated and sensitive socio-political issue.The collapse of the socialist system in the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries as well as the political turmoil in the world over the past time, such as the “colour Revolution” in post-Soviet space and the “Arab Spring” in the Middle East - North Africa, shows that the United States, the West and opposition forces have thoroughly taken advantage of the civil society issue to gather forces for overthrowing the incumbent government. For Vietnam, hostile forces have been taking advantage of the civil society issue to accelerate “self-evolution”, “self-transformation” with the plot of changing the political regime in Vietnam. 

In order to realize the plot of political transformation in Vietnam, the hostile and reactionary forces are desperately carrying out the following activities:

Firstly, absolutizing the relative “independence” of civil society from the State. Reactionary forces, under various guises, have promoted the dissemination of the so-called borderline between the State and the civil society, between “public” and “private”, between “politics” and “non-politics”. Accordingly, the civil society is appreciated, absolutized and described as a humanitarian, good and democratic model of society. On the contrary, the State is considered a conservative, authoritarian and coercive constitution.

In fact, this is a propaganda allegation aiming at weakening the State’s role in organizing and managing the society, thereby creating social environment for the birth of political organization opposing the Party under the name of civil society.

Secondly, taking advantage of civil society to make irrational demand for democratization. Reactionary forces take advantage of civil society to demand the State to guarantee unlimited freedom in all fields. They consider the establishment of civil society that is politically independent as the condition and premise for the guarantee of citizens’ free and democratic rights, as well as other human rights.

Taking advantage of human rights, especially excessively promote individual freedom via the rights of freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of demonstration... Moreover, reactionary forces propagandize and encourage that each citizen has the right to unlimited speech and together with other to form “independent” organization participating in the community life, escaping from the Party’s leadership and the State’s management.

Thirdly, taking advantage of aid, economic, trade and diplomatic relations to exert pressure on democracy and human rights, requesting the establishment of politically independent associations and organizations, making impact and pressing for the change of guidelines, policies, legal system and justice sector.

With various forms of aid given to some civil society organization, reactionary forces politically target at backing opposition forces to act against Vietnam’s revolution; taking advantage of the right to freedom of association to rally forces counterpoising the Party and State of Vietnam and making pressure for political pluralism and multi-party in order to change the political system of the country.

Fourthly, via civil society organizations, reactionary forces engage the masses to act under the name of common target, which is “promoting the people’s participation in the government’s work”, using the guise of policy arguments, social arguments, fight against evils, corruption, and environment protection... Thence, this creates resistance of the people against the guidelines and policies of the Party and the State, causing socio-political instability.

In the past time, some social organizations have been taken advantage of to serve political intrigues and set up “political civil society” organizations to carry out activities against the Party and State. Among them, we can mention such organizations as the Association of Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience, Human Rights Women’s Union, Brotherhood for Democracy, the Civil Society Forum, Bloc 8406, Bauxite Vietnam; the Peasant Petitioners Association, the Independent Delegation, Petition 72, Viet Tan Organization, etc. These organizations were created by forces with opposition political views and “dissidents”. They often exploit issues of “freedom”, “democracy”, “human rights” and the advancement of society to falsify political, socio-economic issues; slandering the Party and State, demanding the abolition of the Party’s leadership role (affirmed in Article 4, 2013 Constitution), demanding pluralism and multi-parties causing distrust of the masses.

From these activities, the reactionary forces aim at weakening and disabling the Party’s leadership and the efficiency of the State’s management, tempting the society to chaos and anarchy and facilitating the birth of political organizations opposing the Communist Party of Vietnam.

The plot of international reactionary forces is to create forces opposing the Communist Party of Vietnam right in heart of Vietnamese society. Thus, they facilitate the birth of Western-styled civil society organizations so that “counter-arguments” will turn out to be “opposition” and ultimately “reactionary and oppositional” organizations against the Party and State of Vietnam. Actually, Western reactionary forces are using civil society organizations as a method for “peaceful evolution” towards “non-peaceful evolution” (colour revolution) to remove the leadership role of the Communist Party and the Socialist Republic State of Vietnam(1).

Obviously, it is not by chance that some foreign non-governmental organizations often pay much “attention” to key areas of socio-political security or areas with ongoing “sensitive” events related to ethnic and religious issues.

In that context, on one hand it is necessary to raise the vigilance, timely detect and resolutely fight against all hostile forces’ plots of using the issue of civil society, on the other hand it is necessary to strengthen the Party’s leadership and the State’s management of social organizations.

2. Preventing activities using civil society issue for political transformation in Vietnam today

Being aware of the danger of the exploitation of civil society, the prevention and fight against such activity have important implications for fighting against “peaceful evolution”, defending national security and social safety and order in the current context.

In the coming time, in order to prevent activities using the issue of civil society for the political “self-evolution”, “self-transformation” in Vietnam currently, it is necessary to excel in the following actions:

Firstly, correctly understand about civil society and the fight against the abuse of civil society for political transformation in Vietnam.

It is necessary to be aware that civil society is a complicated socio-political issue, which requires intensive study, identification and clarification in order to determine the appropriate policy and behaviour. Absolutely avoid the simplified tendency of understanding civil society such as over-emphasis of civil society or identification civil society with the implementation of democratization. It is necessary to realize the plots and activities of reactionary forces taking advantage of civil society to transform the political regime in Vietnam. On the contrary, avoid the view considering civil society negative and completely “opposed” to the State, thus this issue is “boycotted” and not studied thoroughly.

In fact, besides the majority of positive organizations, there are still some organizations, which in certain cases tend to politicize, deeply intervene and even manipulate political activities not only inside but also outside the country, going beyond the permitted scope and limit and against the initial principles and purposes.

Currently in Vietnam, some social organizations operate in a formal, ineffective way, failing to meet the aspirations and interests of the members. They rely on and expect the funding of the State and tend to operate in a bureaucratic manner, they are incapable of attracting and gathering members.

Their participation in providing public services in some cases has not been appropriate with the registered principles and goals. Even there are such cases when they merely run for profits or take advantage of the name of non-profit organizations to evade taxes, causing damages to the society.

Therefore, it is necessary to have objective and comprehensive understanding about the role, effect as well as limitations and challenges of social organizations to the society’s development and the management of the society’s development, thenceforth, supplement and perfect the system of legal documents on organization, operation and management of social organizations to suit the actual conditions of the country.

Fighting against the abuse of civil society of hostile forces is in fact preventing the plot of “democratic transformation”, which is the premise for “colour revolution”, riot and subversion in Vietnam.

Secondly, promote the state management of security and order in the operation of associations and non-governmental organizations in Vietnam.

In general, regardless of different standards, the majority of countries in the world manage civil society organizations via relatively strict and concrete regulations on the foundation of associations and non-governmental organizations. Accordingly, there are usually certain contents such as conditions for establishing associations and non-governmental organizations; minimum requirements on the charter; strict prohibition of direct and indirect self-profiteering; eligibility for receiving funds or tax reduction, tax exemption; regulations on fundraising and advertising...

For Vietnam, management institution of the organization and operation of civil society organizations must be appropriate and responsive to the operational mechanism of the political institution, including the Party’s leadership, the State’s management and the people’s mastery.

Management institution of social organizations closely combines between their autonomy and the State’s management; promoting the self-governing of social organizations within the State’s legal framework in order to overcome the bureaucracy and state subsidization. Besides, limit the spontaneity or abuse of the name of social organizations to conduct business activities for profits, even operate for political purpose, causing socio-economic instability.

Thirdly, well grasp the situation; actively detect the plot and activities of hostile forces abusing civil society issue to infringe upon national security and social security and order.

To actively prevent and fight against the abuse of civil society issue to infringe upon national security and social security and order, it is crucial to concentrate on the following key factors: Activities of Non Governmental Organization (NGO); private democracy and human rights related organizations of the United States and the West, particularly special attention should paid to clarifying the organization systems having direct impacts on the “colour revolutions” in the Eastern Europe and Middle East and “Arab Spring revolution” in North Africa and Middle East; timely detect the plots and schemes of these organizations in Vietnam; projects of NGOs, foreign private organizations deployed in Vietnam, particularly programs concerning administrative, legal, democratic and human rights reform.

In addition, attention should be paid to associations and NGOs which show signs of deviating from the initial principles, goals and being manipulated by domestic and foreign individuals and organizations in opposing the Party and State, including non-legal and spontaneously founded organizations having large number of members and having social influence, attracting members from youth, students, intellectuals and artists...

Fourthly, resolutely handle associations and foreign NGOs violating the law, timely propose the Party and State to promulgate guidelines, policies and build the appropriate system of legal documents, adjusting activities of social organizations in accordance with the development orientation of the country.

For associations showing manifestations of misleading operation and signs of “self-evolution”, “self-transformation”, it is necessary to strengthen dialogues, meetings and political conversion so that it will not let hostile forces to entice in oppositional schemes from inside. Timely detect and resolutely fight against the plot and activities of reactionary and oppositional forces taking advantage of social organizations to transform them into opposition political organizations.

Besides, it is necessary to continue to study and propose the renovation of State management of associations to suit socio-economic characteristics and cultural traditions of Vietnam. Strengthen the task of management so as not to let hostile forces influence and transform the politics in the country.

Fifthly, thoroughly grasp and well implement the Resolution of the 4th Central Party Congress (12th tenure) on “enhancing the building and rectification of the Party and preventing and curbing ideological, ethical and lifestyle degradation, as well as the manifestation of “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” inside the Party”.

These are the fundamental contents that need synchronous and comprehensive implementation, with the focus on preventing and repelling the degradation of political ideology, ethics and lifestyle as well as the manifestations of “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” inside the Party in order to build the transparent and strong Party to be the vanguard force to lead the State and the society, meeting the expectations of cadres, party members and the people.

The Resolution of the 4th Plenum of the Central Party Congress (12th tenure) points out manifestations of ideological, ethical and lifestyle degradation, internal “self-evolution” and “self-transformation”. Among these, the most dangerous is the fading of revolutionary ideal, inconsistency of the socialist path, confusion, oscillation, lack of faith; speak and act against the views and guidelines of the Party; deterioration of fighting will; no longer dedicate wholeheartedly for the country and people; failing to fulfil the assigned tasks and responsibilities; not obeying the Party’s principles on organization and operation; live in a selfish, pragmatic, opportunistic, self-interested, greedy for fame, corrupted, greedy for power, sectarian, disunited and bureaucratic manners; keeping distance from the people and being indifferent to the difficulties and frustration of the people.

“Self-evolution”, “self-transformation” and “peaceful evolution” are closely linked and are mutually accelerative. In which “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” are the most important internal factor. The abuse of civil society to make impacts on political transformation in Vietnam has been being conducted by the hostile forces in that way. Therefore, Vietnam must be highly vigilant and resolutely fight against this wicked plot.


(1) Colonel, Dr. Do Van Hoan: “Preventing and fighting against the taking advantage of “civil society” to carry out the plot of “peaceful evolution” in Vietnam”, Journal of Science and Strategy “, vol.8-2015, pp.45-48.

Lieutenant General, Prof., Dr. Nguyen Xuan Yem

President of the People's Police Academy,

Ministry of Public Security

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