VIET NAM

Overview

Official Name: Socialist Republic of Viet Nam
Capital and seat of government: Hanoi
Population: 94,685,000 (as of 2018)
Surface area: 331,231 km²
Official language: Vietnamese
Type of state: Socialist Republic
Form of government: one-party system
Head of state: Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong (since October 2018)

geographical location

Be it the bay of Ha-Long, which is a UNSECO World Heritage Site, the Tràng An landscape complex marked by caves and grottos or the rocky islands of Vịnh Hạ Long: Viet Nam is known for its breathtakingly beautiful nature. The country, whose surface area corresponds to approx. 93% of that of Germany, occupies the entire Southeast Asian mainland coast and is often referred to as the „bamboo pole with two rice shells“ due to its geography: The two fertile river deltas – the lively delta of the Red River in the north, where the capital Hanoi is located, and the tropical Mekong delta in the south – promise an extremely good rice harvest, while the rather narrow rest of the country is characterized by low-yield forest areas and mountain landscapes.

The latter accounts for about 75% of the country’s surface, with the wonderful Yunnan Highlands, which form a natural border with China in the north, and the lush green Annamite Highlands, which encompass much of southern and central Viet Nam. This is also the narrowest point of the coastal State: Between the border to Laos in the west and the coast of the South China Sea in the east there are only about 50 km. Due to its elongated shape – there is a north-south extension of about 1650 km – Viet Nam not only captivates with various landscapes, but also with its varying weather conditions: In the north, which has an alternating climate, it is foggy and cool from November to April, sometimes even snowy, while in the south it remains warm to very hot all year round due to the prevailing tropical climate.

© Aaron Jahreiss

VIET NAM’S HISTORY

The history of Viet Nam is marked by long, extremely turbulent times of foreign rule;
from the first, peaceful dynasties at the Red River Delta in the first century before Christ, to the occupation by the chinese Han dynasty, which was followed by temporary independence and a period of prosperity for society as a whole, as well as an expansion to the south. This was soon to end, when the colonial power France assumed power in the 19th century. In 1946 the Indochina War between France and the resistance group Việt Minh, which had declared the independence of North Viet Nam before the Indochina War broke out, leading to the Viet Nam War, which lasted from 1965 until the day of reunification of Viet Nam on July 2, 1976.

© Aaron Jahreiss

VIET NAM TODAY

Since then, the country has been reunited under the name of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam. In the one-party system, the Communist Party of Viet Nam (CPV) plays a predominant role, whereby all organs merely have the function of implementing the guidelines and polices of the Party.

In general, the CPV is regarded as the „reunifier of the country“ and has – especially against the background of the political traumas caused by colonization, occupation and the Viet Nam War – officially stated national independence, democracy and social and economic progress as its top priorities. And indeed, the country seems to be on the rise again since reunification: Through economic reforms („Doi Moi“) and re-stabilization, the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam has since 1986 become a proactive part of the international community. Additionally, Viet Nam joined the ASEAN group and since 2000 Viet Nam’s economy has been unstoppable: In recent years, the average GDP growth has reached 6%, making the country one of the fastest-growing markets of the 21st century, not only in Southeast Asia but also globally.

Despite rapid growths in fields such as education, development and economy, several Human Rights organizations criticize the countless violations of those rights, such as the detainment of journalists and Bloggers, or the oppressing policies against minorities, such as the Khmer People or the Montagnards.

© Aaron Jahreiss