Political System in Vietnam
Vietnam is a socialist republic with a single-party system. The Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) is the only legal political party in the country, and it holds a monopoly on political power. The highest organ of state power in Vietnam is the National Assembly, which is responsible for making laws and overseeing the work of the government. The President is the head of state and is elected by the National Assembly, while the Prime Minister is the head of government and is appointed by the President with the approval of the National Assembly.
In addition to the National Assembly, Vietnam has a number of other government bodies, including the Government, the Supreme People's Court, and the Supreme People's Procuracy. The Government is responsible for implementing the policies and laws passed by the National Assembly, while the Supreme People's Court is the highest court of appeal and the Supreme People's Procuracy is responsible for supervising the implementation of the law.
It is worth noting that Vietnam has undergone significant political and economic reforms since the 1980s, including the adoption of a market-oriented economy and the gradual opening up of the country to foreign investment and trade. However, the political system remains dominated by the Communist Party of Vietnam, and political dissent and opposition are not tolerated.
Local Laws and Customs
Local authorities' instructions must be followed, as non-compliance can result in penalties. The possession, distribution, or production of drugs can lead to severe consequences, including the death penalty for even possessing small quantities of drugs. Illegal drugs in Vietnam can be highly potent and can be contaminated, resulting in dangerous outcomes, such as the 2018 Hanoi music festival, which saw seven deaths. Many British nationals have suffered from psychiatric problems as a result of drug use, so avoid taking illegal drugs entirely.
The punishment for sex offenses can include extended prison terms or the death sentence, and the Vietnamese legal system is not highly developed, with inadequate prison conditions. Reporting crimes to the police can be a lengthy and difficult process, and it's advisable to have a Vietnamese-speaking individual present to help with translations. Only sign papers that have been translated correctly, and don't accept legal representation that does not meet UK standards.
Foreign nationals can be detained for prolonged periods of time before any evidence is presented, and it may take a long time to gain access to legal advice or British Consular officials. Foreign nationals involved in traffic accidents can be barred from leaving Vietnam until the police investigation has concluded, and there have been instances when out-of-court financial settlements have been requested. It's a legal requirement in Vietnam to have photographic ID at all times, but keeping a photocopy of the passport is enough.
Dress modestly when visiting religious or cultural sites and adhere to local customs. Vietnam is a generally tolerant and progressive country for LGBT travelers, with same-sex relationships and gender changes legally recognized by the country's Civil Code. In 2015, same-sex marriage was legalized, although same-sex couples are not recognized or protected by law. However, LGBT rights are more tolerated than accepted in Vietnamese society, which has improved over recent years.
It is illegal to purchase, sell, kill or collect protected wildlife or plants, and Vietnam is a signatory to CITES. Those caught purchasing or trafficking these items could face significant prison sentences or fines. Photography near military installations is prohibited, and internet access is limited, affecting social media use.