Vietnam Hopes for Free Press

150531-N-GW139-831 PACIFIC OCEAN (May 31, 2015) Aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) transits the Pacific Ocean. Carl Vinson and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17, are in the U.S. 3rd Fleet area of operations returning to homeport after a deployment to the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleets. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Eric Coffer/Released)

A free press has been an anathema in Vietnam ever since the communists seized control of the north in 1954 and annexed the south 21 years later. But there are hopes that Hanoi’s rigid control of journalism might ease amid its growing dependency on the West as a bulwark against Beijing’s expanding military reach across the region.

That dependency was highlighted by the recent visit by the United States aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, a show of military strength in Vietnamese waters which coincided with the scrapping of two-term presidencies in China, enabling Xi Jinping to rule for life as paramount leader. Read more.

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Luke Hunt is a foreign correspondent, author and occasional photographer who has covered much of Asia fr the last 30 years.

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