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Vietnam Govt Invites Criticism, Then Curbs It

1 March 2013

Vietnam’s government has made it clear it will not tolerate criticism of one-party rule even as it asks the public for suggestions over revisions to the country’s constitution. A group of intellectuals and former officials used the government’s invitation for input to issue a petition calling for multiparty democracy and other reforms, turning what was an attempt by the Communist Party to boost its legitimacy into a rare arena for dissent. The head of the committee overseeing the constitutional reforms said people were “abusing” the invitation to “propagandize and lobby for the people to oppose the party.”—AP