Party intellectual targeted over ideology

Chu Hao is a former government official, now targeted for not toeing the party line.

The Communist party has targeted a prominent intellectual for “serious wrongdoing” in what could presage a new drive against liberal thinkers in the leadership.

Chu Hao, the head of Tri Thuc Publishing House and a former deputy science minister, faces unspecified disciplinary measures for publishing texts that allegedly violate party orthodoxy.

The move comes just days after Nguyen Phu Trong, a noted conservative ideologue, assumed the presidency in addition to his existing role as general secretary of the party.

Chu Hao was accused of “self evolution”, Communist party jargon for thinking freely outside the confines of current dogma.

The party’s Inspection Commission said Hao must bear responsibility for the publication of several books “with contents contrary to the party and state’s viewpoints, policies and guidelines and violating the publication Law.”

The statement sends a warning to intellectuals in Vietnam that the confines of political debate are being further restricted, following a rigorous campaign to silence independent bloggers and political activists.

Some analysts suspect that Trong envisages a return to a more orthodox Marxist-Leninist system, with more liberal thinkers in the party facing persecution.

The Commission did not specify which books had got Hao into trouble, but made clear that he faced serious consequences.

“His violations and wrongdoings are very serious, affecting the prestige of the Party organisation and causing negative impacts on social thought.”