What’s Behind Vietnam’s Unprecedented Crackdown on Corruption?

What’s Behind Vietnam’s Unprecedented Crackdown on Corruption?
Trinh Xuan Thanh, the former chairman of a construction arm of state energy giant PetroVietnam, appears in court, Hanoi, Vietnam, Jan. 8, 2018 (Vietnam News Agency photo by Doan Tan via AP).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series about corruption in various countries around the world.

On Jan. 8, a major corruption trial began in Vietnam that could result in the first-ever conviction of a former member of the powerful Politburo of the Communist Party, Dinh La Thang. The trial is part of a wider crackdown on corruption that has swept up nearly two dozen former officials at Vietnam’s state energy company, PetroVietnam, among other state-owned enterprises. In an email interview, Carl Thayer, emeritus professor of politics at the University of New South Wales Canberra in Australia, discusses the crackdown’s track record so far and the wider implications for the country.

WPR: What is driving the crackdown on corruption at PetroVietnam? Is the Communist Party’s anti-corruption campaign motivated mainly by attempts to fight graft, or by other political calculations?

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