PORCELAIN WEDDING ANNIVERSARY
VIETNAM | 2014
Twenty years ago, Vietnam was one of the poorest places in the world. Now it has become a middle-income country and attracts worldwide investors. Vietnam's mix of Marxism and capitalism seems to bring real economic progress to the region. Vietnam converted to a market economy in 1987 but the real turning point was President Bill Clinton’s visit to the country in February 1994, when he officially lifted the U.S. trade embargo against Vietnam, some 19 years after the fall of Saigon to communist forces. For 20 years then this « forced marriage » between Marxism and capitalism seems to have brought real economic progress to the country. Until now, this economic growth has had no real influence on the Vietnamese government, which still systematically suppresses freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly, and persecutes those who question government policies, expose official corruption, or call for democratic alternatives to one-party rule. This permanent control of the state on the daily life of the citizens is more and more discreet in the towns, where the middle classes are increasing rapidly in numbers, but still strong and very visible in the countryside where the government deeply fears losing control of the poorest part of the population or of some of the particular ethnic groups in the northern part of the country.