Viet Nam

Note: This column mainly includes countries along the Belt and Road and countries that have signed cooperation agreements with China on Belt and Road Initiative.

Viet Nam is located on the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia, bordering China to the North, Laos and Cambodia to the West, and the Eastern Sea (South China Sea) of Pacific Ocean to the East.

Climate
Viet Nam is located in the tropical zone. Its climate is characterized by high temperature and humidity all year round. The Northern part has more or less mainland climate.
Viet Nam’s climate changes by seasons and by regions from the lowland to the highland, from North to South and from East to West.
There are two major climate regions in Viet Nam: (1) Northern Viet Nam (from Hai Van Pass northwards) has a highly humid tropical monsoon climate with four distinguishable seasons (spring, summer, autumn and winter) and is influenced by the Northeast and Southeast monsoon. (2) Southern Viet Nam (from Hai Van Pass southwards) has a rather moderate tropical climate given the weak influence of monsoon and is characterized by dry and rainy seasons and warm weather all year round.
The average temperature in Viet Nam varies between 21°C and 27°C and gradually increases from the North to the South. In the summer, the average temperature is 25°C (Hanoi 23°C, Hue 25°C, Ho Chi Minh City 26°C). In the winter, the temperature in the North reaches the lowest in December and January. In Northern mountainous regions like Sa Pa, Tam Dao and Hoang Lien Son, the temperature sometimes reaches 0°C with snow.
The annual average rainfall stands between 1,500 mm and 2,000 mm. Air humidity is around 80%. Viet Nam is prone to natural disasters like typhoons, floods and droughts.

Population
With 85,789,573 people (as of 1 April 2009), Viet Nam ranks 13th among the most populous countries in the world. 30% live in urban areas and 70% in rural areas. People aged 15 to 60 account for 60% of the country’s population. Total work force in all economic sectors is around 45 million people (2008 figure). Ho Chi Minh City (7.1 million people) and Ha Noi (6.44 million people) are the most populous cities.
Average life expectancy is 73.

Ethnicity
Viet Nam is a multi-ethnic country with 54 ethnic groups coexisting peacefully, among which Kinh people account for 86% of the population. The majority of the other 53 ethnic groups are scattered over mountainous areas and the midland, particularly ones in Northern and Northern Central region.
Ethnic minorities have uneven development levels. All ethnic groups have their own unique cultures. Their beliefs and religions are also diverse.

Language
Vietnamese is the official language of Vietnam. Foreign language learning, particularly English, is popular among young people in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, Da Nang and other cities. Tourist guides can speak English, French, Russian, Chinese and Japanese.

Constitution and Political System

Constitution

The current Constitution was adopted by the 8th National Assembly in 1992 and was supplemented and amended in 2001 at the 10th session of the 10th National Assembly. The 1992 Constitution inherits from and builds on previous Constitutions (1946, 1959, and 1980). The 1992 Constitution is the fundamental legal document of highest legal jurisdiction that institutionalizes basic viewpoints of the Communist Party of Viet Nam on economic and political reforms, socialist goals, socialist democracy and citizens’ freedom rights. The 1992 Constitution consists of a preamble and 7 chapters with 147 articles clearly stipulating the country’s political regime, economic, cultural, education, and science and technology systems, fundamental rights and duties of the citizens, national assembly, state president, government, people’s councils and committees, people’s court and procuracy, national flag, national emblem, national anthem, national day, capital and constitution amendment.
The Constitution clearly indicates that the state power is in the hand of the people. The State is of the people, by the people and for the people. The State ensures and constantly promotes the people’s right to mastery in all fields and implements the policy of equality, unity and mutual assistance among ethnic groups. The people use the state power through the National Assembly and people’s councils. These agencies are elected by the people, representing their will and aspiration.
The Constitution endows all citizens (men or women alike) with equal rights in all political, economic, cultural and social areas as well as in family affairs, the right to freedom of belief and religion, the right to follow or not to follow any religion, the right to freedom of movement and residence within Viet Nam, the right to go abroad and return home as stipulated by laws, etc.

Political System
The Socialist Republic of Viet Nam is a law-governed state. The political system was established upon the birth of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam and comprises the following:
The Communist Party of Viet Nam is the vanguard of the Vietnamese working class, the working people, and the whole nation; a loyal representative of the interests of the working class, the working people, and the whole nation.

People in the political system: As the maker of history, the people constitute the decisive force in the process of social evolution and make up the current political system in Viet Nam. All powers belong to the people and their powers are exercised through the State. The State regulates the society by laws under the leadership of the Communist Party of Viet Nam.
The State of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam is the central organization and the pillar of the political system that realizes the will and power of the people, acts on behalf of the people and is accountable to the people for the management of all activities of the social life and in domestic and external affairs.

The National Assembly is the highest-level representative body of the people; the highest organ of state power of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam; the National Assembly exercises three main functions: to legislate, to decide on important national issues, to exercise supreme supervision over all activities of the State

The State President is the Head of State, elected by the National Assembly from among its deputies to represent the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam in domestic and foreign affairs. The President has twelve powers as provided by the Constitution, of which the most important are to declare the promulgation of the Constitution, laws and ordinances, to head the all people’s armed forces and assume the Chairmanship of the National Defence and Security Council, to recommend to the National Assembly the election, removal or dismissal of the Vice President, the Prime Minister, Chief Justice of the Supreme People's Court, and Head of the People's Procuracy.

The Government is the highest body of State administration of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam. The Government has the same term of office as the National Assembly. The Government administers the implementation of the State’s affairs in the fields of politics, economics, culture, society, national defense and security and foreign relations; ensures the efficiency of the State apparatus from central to grassroots levels; assures that the Constitution and laws are respected and executed; and guarantees the sustainability and improvement of the people’s material and spiritual life.
The Government consists of Prime Minister, who is a National Assembly deputy as provided by the Constitution, Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers and other members.
People's Courts: The Supreme People's Court, local People's Courts, Military Tribunals and the other tribunals established by law are the judicial organs of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam. Under special circumstances, the National Assembly may decide to set up a Special Tribunal. During trials, the Jury is equal to and independent from judges and shall only obey the law. Trials are held publicly except in cases stipulated by laws. Judgments of the People's Courts are made collectively and decided by majority.

The Supreme People's Court is the highest judicial organ of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam. It supervises and directs the judicial work of local People's Courts, Military Tribunals, Special Tribunals and other tribunals, unless otherwise prescribed by the National Assembly at the establishment of such Tribunals.
People's Procuracies: The Supreme People's Procuracy oversees the enforcement of the law by Ministries, Ministerial–level organs, other Government agencies, local administration, economic entities, mass organizations, people's military organs and citizens. It exercises the right to prosecution, ensures serious and uniform implementation of the law. Local People's Procuracy and Military Procuracy oversee the execution of the law and exercise the right to prosecution as stipulated by the law.

Social-Political Organizations and People’s Associations: These are organizations representing the interests of different social communities participating into the political system with their own principles, purposes, and features. There are currently major social-political organizations in Viet Nam such as the Vietnamese Fatherland Front, Vietnamese Trade Union, Vietnamese Women’s Union, Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, and Veterans Association and other professional organizations.

Economy

Vietnam is now focusing on restructruring the economy and our growth model, with emphasis given a reform of the investment model, restructure the financial and banking systems and reform and reduce the number of state-owned enterprises. Vietnam will also place priority to maintaining social welfare, steping-up the fight against corruption, accelerating administrative reform and intensifying poverty alleviation and hunger eradication activities.

One of the main focus is the process of eccelerating the restructuring of SOEs, with focus on consolidating and increasing efficiency. The number of SOEs has reduced from 12000 in 1990 to 1000 now and will be down to 500 in the next four years. All SOEs are planned to be equitized this year. Only SOEs of core, strategic industries, like energy, heavy equipment, infrastructure... are retained because these industries in Vietnam are still in the process of developing.

In the long term, as detailed in the Social and Economic Strategy for 2011 – 2020, Vietnam will focus on 3 goals: i) building market economy institutions and mechanism, with emphasis on a fair, transparent, efficient business environment being supported by a streamlined bureaucracy; ii) developing human resources, especially high-skilled resources; and iii) building integrated infractructure to support growth.

Editor: lishen