Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Vietnamese Ask: What Party Congress?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Vietnamese Ask: What Party Congress?

Article excerpt

Gnguyen Thi Thuy sells noodles and fried bean curd in Lenin Park, a popular getaway for families in Hanoi. Despite the draping of red banners throughout the city for the ruling Communist Party's Eighth National Congress June 28-July 1, she says she does not know when the meeting is taking place.

"I'm not so interested in politics," she proclaims while stirring a pan full of bean curd for a customer. "I'm too busy working."

Le Thi Lan, who sells drinks in the park, also professes indifference. "I work all day," she declares. "I have no time to follow what's going on."

When party delegates from around the country gathered for the key event on Vietnam's political calender, most Vietnamese were too busy to pay much notice. Just a few years ago, before Vietnam embraced capitalism, a party congress was Event No. 1. Today, to paraphrase Calvin Coolidge, the business of Vietnam is business.

As a result of the doi moi policy of renovating the economy introduced in 1986, the number of private enterprises in Vietnam has mushroomed. …

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