chapter  5
20 Pages

Human Rights and Asian Values in Vietnam

The controversy over Asian values and universal human rights contains a number of paradoxes and contradictions. Perhaps nowhere are these contradictions more apparent than in the case of Vietnam. The first paradox is that Vietnam invokes Asian values to counter Western ideological hegemony and argues the incompatibility of ‘Western imposed’ human rights with Vietnamese cultural traditions. Yet its own political system is based on a fundamentally Western ideology, that of Marxism-Leninism, to the exclusion of all other forms of political expression and thought. Indeed, the political monopoly of this Western doctrine is enshrined in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam’s 1992 Constitution (Article 4) : ‘The Vietnamese Communist Party, acting upon the Marxist-Leninist doctrine and Ho Chi Minh thought, is the force leading the State and society’.