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Vietnam

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Civil Liberties

Vietnam is “not an electoral democracy.” The Communist Party of Vietnam, or CPV, has a monopoly of power and prohibits other political parties from forming.
“The law provides for freedom of speech and of the press; however, the government significantly restricted these freedoms, particularly with respect to political speech and social commentary.” The CPV “tightly controls the media.” While the government has begun to allow reporting on corruption, many other topics are wholly out of bounds, and would merit jail time. Serious anti-defamation provisions, for example, protect the government from having to legally sanction criticism.

While constraints against religious freedom have eased in the past few years, there are still numerous restrictions. “All religious groups and most individual clergy members must join a party-controlled supervisory body. Religious groups must obtain permission to build or refurbish places of worship; run religious schools or do charitable work; hold conventions, training seminars, and special celebrations; and train, ordain, promote, or transfer clergy.”

Education System

Vietnamese do not enjoy full academic freedom. Professors are not free to criticize the government or its policies. Pham Que Duong, then a 73-year-old military historian, received a 19 month jail sentence for in 2004 for the “abuse of democratic freedom and rights” (of which he only served 1 month). Pham was protesting the graft in the government by means of a petition.

The literacy rate in Vietnam is currently 90.3%.

Government Granted “Rights of Age”

However little their vote accomplishes, Vietnamese can put a name on a ballot when they turn 18.

Vietnam has no minimum drinking age.

The age of consent for lesbian, homosexual, and heterosexual consent in Vietnam is 18.

Upon turning 18, males must serve 2 years in the army. This time period is extended to 3-4 if the conscript choses to work in the Vietnamese Navy.

Other

The Vietnamese population under 18 is 30,496,000, 35% of the country’s total population.

Sources

http://freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=22&year=2007&country=7303

http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78796.htm

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