Vietnam’s COVID-19 achievements have been actually spectacular. On the time of this text, Vietnam has 747 reported circumstances with solely 10 deaths, which is comparatively low in comparison with different nations within the area. A brand new wave of COVID-19 arrived within the nation in late July, however Vietnam’s earlier experiences and present excessive public belief create a favorable environment for the Communist Occasion of Vietnam (CPV) to fight the virus this time, too. The general public typically values the government’s aggressive response to the brand new wave.
It’s extensively acknowledged that Vietnam’s success lies in its aggressive contact tracing, mandatory quarantine, massive campaigns to raise awareness, public compliance, and local and national lockdowns when judged necessary. Curiously, all these measures have been made potential due to the transparency of knowledge and shut horizontal and vertical coordination amongst completely different ranges of presidency.
But, the effectiveness of transparency and authorities coordination will doubtless place the CPV in a dilemma after COVID-19. This text argues that Vietnam’s accomplishments with reference to containing COVID-19 will doubtless create an extra public need for transparency and make it difficult for the occasion to make use of its conventional blame-avoidance technique to guard its legitimacy within the face of coverage failures. The success of COVID-19 is a double-edged sword, which the occasion ought to use rigorously to boost its legitimacy.
Transparency of Info
With the obvious exception of COVID-19, Vietnam is infamous for being secretive with many political points. For instance, greater than six months after a bloody conflict between the police and villagers over a long-standing land dispute in Dong Tam commune in suburban Hanoi, the precise occasions of that battle haven’t been disclosed to the general public.
One potential impact of the success of COVID-19 is that those that was blind to politics would possibly all of the sudden suppose that transparency could be a resolution to different issues. It is going to doubtless elevate the expectation that the general public has the proper to demand transparency and that the occasion is able to releasing info. This could not come as a shock, contemplating that transparency is feasible within the battle in opposition to COVID-19 as a result of the occasion desires it to be.
The CPV might have already felt this strain. In Might 2020, dissatisfied with the Supreme Courtroom’s choice to reaffirm a loss of life sentence by a decrease courtroom in a decade-old murder case, the general public used social media channels to point out their anger and demand extra details about the case. On Fb, a preferred social media platform in Vietnam, many netizens expressed their expectations for the occasion to be as clear because it had been within the struggle in opposition to COVID-19.
The occasion has up to now dealt with this case comparatively nicely. Within the face of accelerating demand, media began to offer extra in-depth details about the homicide case, a lot of which was utterly new to the general public. Quickly after, the judicial committee of Vietnam’s Nationwide Meeting agreed to review the decision made by the Supreme Courtroom.
But growing calls for for info from the general public will doubtless place the occasion in a dilemma, particularly on the subject of delicate political areas. Offering an excessive amount of info on delicate points would danger dramatic political reforms or exposing darkish sides that the occasion needs to cover. However restoring extra secretive politics would little doubt elevate the query of why the occasion opts to be clear in sure points however not others. An apolitical particular person may all of the sudden start to marvel in regards to the motives and intentions behind the CPV’s choices to share or disguise info.
Coordination Amongst Authorities Authorities
Shut coordination and efficient communication amongst completely different ranges of presidency proved efficient within the battle in opposition to COVID-19. Nevertheless, it would doubtless make it difficult for the CPV to make use of its favourite technique to guard its legitimacy within the face of coverage failures: blame-avoidance. Within the face of coverage failures, the occasion usually shifts the blame for poor efficiency to decrease authorities, particularly native governments. For instance, the occasion usually attributes land disputes to the mis-implementation of land coverage by native authorities quite than the Land Regulation itself.
By shifting blame to decrease authorities, the occasion needs to ship the message that whereas central insurance policies are sound, native authorities typically distort coverage implementation for their very own pursuits and refuse to coordinate with the middle, a state of affairs that’s past the occasion’s management. But Vietnam’s success with COVID-19 containment proves that the occasion is very competent in buying info and coordinating with native authorities. Once more, an apolitical particular person, when seeing the dearth of coordination between central and native governments in different points, will doubtless marvel, “Why can’t shut coordination be enforced this time?” Extra troublesome is that if an apolitical particular person begins to suppose that blaming native authorities is only a technique employed to keep away from making dramatic modifications to central insurance policies, which can negatively have an effect on the curiosity of the occasion.
Trying to the Future
Vietnam’s COVID-19 success has been potential due to the total transparency of knowledge and shut coordination amongst authorities authorities. Nevertheless, the accomplishment means the nation might face growing expectations and calls for. The success of its COVID-19 technique has, up to now, elevated belief within the CPV within the quick run, however it would doubtless create demand for transparency in different political points and make it tougher for the occasion to make use of the blame-avoidance technique within the face of potential future coverage failures. The success of COVID-19 is a double-edged sword that, if not dealt with very nicely, will doubtless hang-out the occasion in the long term. If growing expectations are usually not dealt with skillfully, the belief that the occasion has gained from its COVID-19 achievements might evaporate.
Mai Truong is a Ph.D. candidate in political science on the College of Arizona. She research social actions, social protests and social media. Her regional focus is East and Southeast Asia.