The right to denounce thy neighbour, comrade, colleague or family member is one of the fundamental building blocks of any self-respecting, self-criticising Communist state.
The Vietnamese government is making some small steps to revamp the legal and political framework in line with the rapid economic changes that have been taking place over the last 20 years.
As part of that process, deputies to Vietnam’s National Assembly are currently debating an upgrade to the legislation to ensure that Vietnam has a denunciation law for the 21st Century.
On Thursday, deputies debated the need to find a balance between protecting denouncers from revenge while ensuring that the denounced cannot be unfairly maligned, according to a report in the Vietnam News, the main government mouthpiece.
Deputy Hong Anh voiced the need for a specific framework to protect denouncers so that they will not be deterred by the risk of revenge.
Anh’s point was echoed by other deputies, who complained about general regulations in the law regarding this issue, and required elaboration by authorities at various levels on protections for denouncers.
Deputies also mentioned the law also needs to protect the denounced in terms of employment, dignity, and political and economic benefits.
“The law should ensure restoration of honour, rights and benefits of the denounced in case the allegations cannot be proven,” said deputy Nguyen Thi Hoa.
It looks like a valiant effort to combine the principle of denunciation with the norms of human rights and employment law. The National Assembly also discussed the need to clarify the denunciation rights of overseas Vietnamese, in light of the fact that expatriates living in Vietnam already have the right to denounce.
Not a right that I’d expect many expats to make use of, however annoyed they may get at being overcharged 2,000 Vietnam dong for a can of Coke.