In hard times, open dissent and repression rise in Vietnam

by Thomas Fuller

A slum in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Wide dissatisfaction has followed the boom of the 1990s. Photo: Justin Mott/International Herald Tribune

HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — His bookshelves are filled with the collected works of Marx, Engels and Ho Chi Minh, the hallmarks of a loyal career in the Communist Party, but Nguyen Phuoc Tuong, 77, says he is no longer a believer. A former adviser to two prime ministers, Mr. Tuong, like so many people in Vietnam today, is speaking out forcefully against the government.