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ICC NOTE: Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party completed their eight-day congress in Hanoi on January 28 as they agreed to reelect Secretary-General Nguyen Phu Trong as its number one leader for another five year term. Trong is a conservative in the Communist sense as he fights to remain true to traditional Marxist-Leninism. With little change occurring among the nation’s leadership, there is little hope for positive reform according to human rights groups. Threat of harassment and persecution will remain as the nation continues physical attacks and arrests of activists and religious minorities. On January 26, 16 Vietnamese religious and human rights organizations criticized the reelection of Trong as a sign of continued trampling of the rights of 90 million Vietnamese citizens. 

2/1/2016 Vietnam (UCA News) – Activists in Vietnam said the reelection of the Communist Party’s secretary-general will limit the advancement of basic human rights.

Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party concluded its eight-day congress in Hanoi on Jan. 28 by reelecting Secretary-General Nguyen Phu Trong as head of the party and as the country’s de facto No. 1 leader for the next five years.

Activists said Trong, 72, represented the party’s old guard and views neighboring China as a critical strategic and ideological ally.

“He has conservative views and is of communist dogma so I don’t believe that the Communist Party will be more open to the process of reforming democracy and human rights in the country,” Nguyen Bac Truyen, who heads the Vietnam-based Political and Religious Prisoners Friendly Association, told ucanews.com.

“It is hard for the country to escape from China’s influence in coming years,” he said.

Before the congress, Trong called on party members to “be absolutely true to Marxism, Leninism, the party’s lines and nation’s interest.”

Truyen, a former political prisoner said he expects the party to continue market reforms that strengthen Vietnam’s position in the world and that the government will balance relations with its key trading allies, China and the United States.

But he also said democracy and human rights activists will face a high risk of persecution and harassment.

The congress — held every five years — attended by more than 1,500 delegates representing the country’s 4.5 million party members chose a 19-member Politburo and the 200-member Central Committee that meets twice a year to decide policy.

The congress also selected candidates for prime minister and president ahead of May national elections.

On Jan. 26, 16 Vietnamese religious and political organizations criticized the Communist Party for trampling the basic political rights of the country’s 90 million people.

They said congress’ choices for prime minister, president and national assembly chairwoman “are of the party and work for the party not for the people’s will.”

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