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Censorship The Internet

Vietnam Imposes New Blogging Restrictions 206

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the people-never-learn dept.
GMAW is one of many to mention that the Vietnam government has approved a new set of regulations aimed at bloggers. The new restrictions ban bloggers from discussing certain subjects that the government deems sensitive or inappropriate. Not only are the topics limited, but bloggers are being directed to only write about issues that directly impact their personal lives. "The rules, which were approved Dec. 18, attempt to rein in Vietnam's booming blogosphere. It has become an alternative source of news for many in the communist country, where the media is state-controlled. The new rules require Internet companies that provide blogging platforms to report to the government every six months and provide information about bloggers on request."
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Vietnam Imposes New Blogging Restrictions

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  • For some reason the phrase "You made your bed, now sleep in it!" comes to mind. Although to be fair, it was technically the previous generation that made the bed.
    • I don't think we can say that even the previous generation of Vietnamese deserve all the blame for what happened. LBJ helped make the bed, as did politicians on the other side of the Pacific. And to say that the average family supported the suppression of free speech...that might be going a little far. :-)
    • by Tracy Reed (3563) <treedNO@SPAMultraviolet.org> on Friday December 26, 2008 @06:01PM (#26236953) Homepage

      Some of them chose communism. A lot of them didn't. Having lived and worked over there (on a Linux related project even) I know good Vietnamese there who supported South Vietnam and the US. After the south fell they spent years in re-education camps. They had been to the US in the 60's and received training on computers and electronics. Now they don't own a single thing and are kept out of any good paying job by the communists who still seek to push the former South Vietnamese. They live in poverty even poor Americans cannot imagine. It is very sad what they are doing to their own country. But the poor brainwashed people of Vietnam still support communism.

      I'm not sure we can really fault the poor and uneducated who chose communism. They were starving and were just looking for a better way. They did not have access to world news or history classes from their villages and only knew what they received in the form of propaganda.

      But we can definitely fault the corrupt communist leadership for taking advantage of these poor people and making millions of them pay with their lives.

    • No, they didn't (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mangu (126918)

      In case you haven't heard of it, Vietnam didn't become a communist state as a result of some democratic process. Military force [wikipedia.org] was involved, with the help of foreign [wikipedia.org] powers [wikipedia.org]

      • The USSR and China got more than equal match in Vietnam in the USA... still, it wasn't any of those countries that won or lost the war. It was, indeed, the fact that the North had more popular support, like it or not.

        Of course, this is actually quite sensible. Vietnam commies weren't originally that - they were just a bunch of "freedom fighters" struggling against foreign powers occupying their land. They didn't really have any specific political agenda outside of that, but they looked around, and it so hap

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Clarious (1177725)

      Yes, the previous generation choosed communist, but it was the only way to gain independence back then. We have China (ROC) in the north, the French in the South. And the only force that can prevent us from being enslave one again is the communist.

      So at least we got a bed to sleep ;)

      • Isn't it the People's Republic of China? The Republic of China is on Taiwan
      • Yes, as I recall, the choices the Vietnamese faced then were communism, French colonism, or democracy under Ngo Dinh Diem, an corrupt extremist autocratic thug who routinely abused human rights, rigged elections and polls, and used his military to crush any groups who criticized him or who weren't Catholic. In any case, the South Vietnamese didn't really choose communism. They were stuck with it, mostly because of the corrupt of their "democratic" leader and the ineptitude of the South Vietnamese army, grea

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chandon Seldon (43083)

      Communism is a loaded propaganda term that's basically meaningless, but I'm guessing you mean "strong state socialism", which is an economic system. Strong state socialism with free communication and democracy would be an interesting experiment - we can see weak state socialism, working great, in Northern Europe.

      Saying that Communism means Totalitarian Socialism would be like saying Capitalism means Fascism. It's certainly the way it was presented as a propaganda term during the cold war, but it's not terr

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Schemat1c (464768)

      Although to be fair, it was technically the previous generation that made the bed.

      It's pretty easy to choose Communism when Democracy is blowing your babies in half.

  • by ethicalBob (1023525) on Friday December 26, 2008 @05:28PM (#26236773)
    So I guess no "me blog you long time"??
  • Communist? (Score:5, Informative)

    by matt4077 (581118) on Friday December 26, 2008 @05:41PM (#26236849) Homepage
    Vietnam is communism in name only (not even that since it calls itself socialist). Since 1986 Vietnam is, like China today, just yet-another undemocratic country. Communism is mostly an economic concept, and the Vietnamese economy has largely shifted to a free market system.
    • Re:Communist? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Tracy Reed (3563) <treedNO@SPAMultraviolet.org> on Friday December 26, 2008 @06:03PM (#26236969) Homepage

      This is absolutely true. They have a stock market and everything. They are very capitalist in that even the communist leaders are playing the markets, making investments, and trying to acquire as much wealth as they can. The free market is definitely in effect. The big difference is that there is little transparency and no real regulations to ensure that it is a fair market. So corruption is everywhere destroying the efficiency of the market. You are right: Is is capitalism without democracy.

      • by Daimanta (1140543)

        "The free market is definitely in effect. The big difference is that there is little transparency and no real regulations to ensure that it is a fair market."

        Sounds like capitalism at its finest.

        • by Tracy Reed (3563)

          Not at all. For capitalism to work it requires a fair market. This is why Vietnam is not really seeing the benefits of capitalism and remains quite poor with very bad infrastructure.

          • by Daimanta (1140543)

            "For capitalism to work it requires a fair market."

            That's why capitalism doesn't work, since it never guarantees a fair market. Only a goverment can through rules and regulations try to approach a fair market. The essence of a company is to subvert all those rules and regulations and become the most powerfull company in existance. That's how you explain abusive monopolies and lobbyists. They come from the center of all the greed of a company. The invisible hand of Adam Smith is simply a powerfull force(most

            • Do you really believe that the only form of capitalism is laissez-faire capitalism?

              I could very well say that government doesn't work because it always leads to totalitarian regimes. You could respond that government isn't only totalitarian and can have checks and balances... but the same thing can be said of capitalism.

            • by Tracy Reed (3563)

              I did not say it requires a perfectly fair market. The more fair it is the better it works. Even Vietnam is seeing some small level of prosperity today thanks to their change towards a free market economy instead of a command driven economy. The average American would say most of them live in squalor but it is better there now than it has ever been.

              I don't know where you live but here in the US we lead lives like faery tales compared to most people in the world (although most of us have not traveled enough

    • At the end of WW2 had the western powers kept their word and given the SE Asian countries self govenment in excahnge for their resistance to Japan. We would not have had the any problems and SE Asia might well be totally democractic today.
      • by matt4077 (581118)
        It should be noted, though, that many countries in Asia are doing spectacularly well compared to other parts of the world, esp. Africa. While the development is mostly economic, there has been a lot of political progress since WWII, too. Take the current "revolution" in Thailand as an example. While it'd be a disaster by western standards, it is remarkable that is has remained entirely peaceful so far.

        Then there is Korea, one of the largest-scale social experiments of all times. I'm not sure if the nort
        • by gibbsjoh (186795)

          To some extent I think a lot of the economic growth (especially wrt South Korea) just had to do with Western backing and not press/individual freedoms or the "seed of... political help" as you say. South Korea lived under a dictatorship for a good part of its post-war history, but we supported their dictator against the North's Soviet-backed dictator. Wiki reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Park_Chung-hee [wikipedia.org] - the bit about torture of political opponents makes a crackdown on blogging seem tame all of Vie

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by HungWeiLo (250320)
            It goes quite a long ways past just torture. According to this recent article [google.com], the US-backed South Korean regime murdered at least 100,000 leftist sympathizers and put them into newly-discovered mass graves.
    • Vietnam is communism in name only (not even that since it calls itself socialist).

      That in itself doesn't mean much. I thought most communist countries call themselves socialist, I think it still fits within the term, communism is an extreme form of socialism. Some of those countries and the communist countries that don't call themselves socialist call themselves democratic.

  • ....anonymous re-mailers and such...hosted at universities of law.

  • Neither on the waves nor on the net.
  • What the Pho? (Score:4, Informative)

    by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Friday December 26, 2008 @06:06PM (#26237003)

    The new restrictions ban bloggers from discussing certain subjects that the government deems sensitive or inappropriate. Not only are the topics limited, but bloggers are being directed to only write about issues that directly impact their personal lives.

    If I was a Vietnamese blogger, the new restrictions would directly impact my personal life.

  • If history has taught us anything, it's that every attempt to suppress freedom is met with one very simple response: underground movements. People don't stop doing what they want to do, just because some smartass in a suit doesn't approve - they just "hide". Drugs, gambling, prostitution... these things haven't disappeared as a result of laws prohibiting them, nor will freedom of speech.

    Bloggers will use concealed identities and secure channels to divulge the information they want to divulge. The more im

  • I really wonder how they define a blog. So if the law restricts these discussions in blogs, does it mean that you can discuss these issues in a simple webpage, in a wiki, in a gopher server, in a file on an FTP server, in an email, over an IRC server, over VoIP, on a normal weblog operating on a port other than 80, on a password-protected blog, or through a technology not yet invented? Blogs could be obsolete in 10 years just as gopher is obsolete now (but still alive). Does it mean they are going to con

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