Vietnam is a country under communist rule, but what does communism in Vietnam mean in reality? Here are our top 10 facts about communism in Vietnam for you to know before you travel.
1. Vietnam is one of just five communist countries remaining in the world. The others are China, Cuba, Laos and North Korea.
2. Although it’s a communist country, Vietnam has adopted some capitalist principles in the last few decades. In particular, free-market reforms in the 1980s and support of entrepreneurs has made Vietnam one of the world’s fastest growing economies. In fact, Vietnam expects to be a totally modern and industrialised country by 2020.
3. The first communist party in Vietnam was founded in 1930, and was called the Communist Party of Indochina. Although the idea of the party was to dominate all the nations under French rule in Indochina, almost all the party members were Vietnamese. The party was therefore also known as the Vietnamese Communist Party.
4. The communist party was almost entirely wiped out during the 1930s because of French suppression.
5. Various communist and non-communist parties sprang up in Vietnam around this time. Ho Chi Minh created an umbrella group for all the parties to make them stronger to win the fight for independence. However, the Communist Party of Vietnam (CVP) dominated and when the country declared independence in 1945, it was thus recognised as a communist country by China and the Soviet Union.
6. This sparked three decades of wars between North and South Vietnam. North Vietnam was supported by communist allies including the Soviet Union and China, while South Vietnam was supported by the United States and other anti-communist military forces. After the wars, Vietnam was eventually officially named a communist country in 1975.
7. The ideologies of communism in Vietnam are based on Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh Thought. In the early years post-1975, Marxism-Leninism in particular meant the government and economy were strictly controlled from the centre, while farms and factories were run as collectives.
8. By the mid-1980s, this form of communist rule plus the aftermath of the wars meant that Vietnam’s economy was in crisis. Communism in Vietnam therefore softened with a number of economic and political reforms. Private enterprise and foreign investment was encouraged, which revived the economy and made Vietnam a world leader in many areas of production and industry.
9. This relaxation of the ideologies has made Vietnam a well-known global exporter of products such as coffee and cashew nuts, while entrepreneurial and private ventures are now encouraged.
10. The Vietnamese government does still have some distinctly communist principles however, operating a one-party rule and implementing communist practices of “criticism, self-criticism and strict discipline.” The CVP describes this as “collective leadership and individual responsibility.”
Communism in Vietnam has a fascinating history and modern-day interpretation. Experience the country for yourself on culture and history tours with Mr Linh’s Adventures