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Renovating Politics in Contemporary Vietnam

Zachary Abuza
ISBN: 978-1-55587-961-7
2001/273 pages/LC: 00-066502

"The most up-to-date book-length overview of recent developments in Vietnamese politics."—Duncan McCargo, Political Science Review

"A carefully argued text, with complete documentation.... Highly recommended."—Choice

"A valuable and timely study of Vietnamese politics.... Abuza has produced a very significant study."—David Elliott, American Political Science Review

"The best study yet of post–Doi Moi Vietnam politics."—Scott Thompson


Moving from the 1950s to the present, Zachary Abuza explores Vietnamese politics and culture through the lens of the internal debates over political reform.

Abuza focuses on issues of representation, intellectual freedom, the rise of civil society, and the emergence of a "loyal opposition," assessing the prospects for change. He finds that, while some mildly dissident groups may add impetus to the effort, internal party protest remains the most legitimate—and most likely—form of political dissent in the country. His analysis offers a compelling portrayal of the extraordinary contradictions that are at the core of contemporary Vietnam.


Zachary Abuza is professor of national security studies at the National Defense University's National War College and adjunct professor in Georgetown University's Security Studies Program.


  • Introduction: Dissidents and Democratization in Vietnam.
  • Politics in Vietnam.
  • The Nhan Van-Ghai Pham Affair and the Legacy of Dissent.
  • The Debates over Democratization and Legalization.
  • The Battle Over Intellectual Freedom and Freedom of the Press.
  • The Club of Former Resistance Fighters: Dissension from Within.
  • Religious Freedom and Civil Society.
  • Conclusion: Party Responses and the Future of Vietnam.
  • The VCP: Coping with Internal Dissent and External Pressure.