(From AFP)

From Soviet-style letters of denunciation to outlandish rumours of a coup, Hanoi is abuzz with political gossip ahead of a key leadership change this week that has plunged the ruling communist elite into turmoil.

Preparations for Vietnam Communist Party’s 12th National Congress in Hanoi

Politics in authoritarian Vietnam rarely attracts public attention. The communists have run the unified country as a one-party state since decades of war ended in 1975.

But in the internet age, bitter factional infighting has transformed the customarily staid Communist Party Congress, which opens on Thursday in Hanoi, into political theatre.

Leaks and counter-leaks of internal memos, letters of denunciation and detailed responses are circulating online. State media has urged people not to read such “poison,” but many have made up their own minds.

“I don’t trust the system. It’s all bureaucracy, corruption, fights for power,” party member and high-ranking state employee, Nguyen Minh, 45, told AFP.

Minh, who AFP has not fully identified, said she had grown wealthy from her position but now felt trapped. She said she was tired of enduring endless discussion of the congress at work.

She admits she’s sent her daughter overseas for education — and would accept her choosing not to return.

“Capitalism is better than socialism… Here we are living in a cage, it’s difficult to inhale fresh air,” she said. Read more

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