Background: The conquest of Vietnam by France began in 1858 and was completed by 1884. It became part of French Indochina in 1887. Vietnam declared independence after World War II, but France continued to rule until its 1954 defeat by Communist forces under Ho Chi MINH. Under the Geneva Accords of 1954, Vietnam was divided into the Communist North and anti-Communist South. US economic and military aid to South Vietnam grew through the 1960s in an attempt to bolster the government, but US armed forces were withdrawn following a cease-fire agreement in 1973. Two years later, North Vietnamese forces overran the South reuniting the country under Communist rule. Despite the return of peace, for over a decade the country experienced little economic growth because of conservative leadership policies, the persecution and mass exodus of individuals - many of them successful South Vietnamese merchants - and growing international isolation. However, since the enactment of Vietnam's "doi moi" (renovation) policy in 1986, Vietnamese authorities have committed to increased economic liberalization and enacted structural reforms needed to modernize the economy and to produce more competitive, export-driven industries. The Communist leaders, however, maintain control on political expression and have resisted outside calls to improve human rights. The country continues to experience small-scale protests from various groups, the vast majority connected to land-use issues, calls for increased political space and the lack of equitable mechanisms for resolving disputes. Various ethnic minorities, such as the Montagnards of the Central Highlands and the Khmer Krom in the southern delta region, have also held protests.
Location: Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, Gulf of Tonkin, and South China Sea, as well as China, Laos, and Cambodia
Area land: 310,070 sq km
Area water: 21,140 sq km
Coastline: 3,444 km (excludes islands)
Country name conventional long form: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Country name conventional short form: Vietnam
Country name former: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Population: 90,549,390 (July 2011 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 25.2% (male 11,945,354/female 10,868,610); 15-64 years: 69.3% (male 31,301,879/female 31,419,306); 65 years and over: 5.5% (male 1,921,652/female 3,092,589) (2011 est.);
Population growth rate: 1.077% (2011 est.)
Birth rate: 17.07 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Death rate: 5.96 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.35 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.117 male(s)/female; under 15 years: 1.1 male(s)/female; 15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female; 65 years and over: 0.62 male(s)/female; total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2011 est.);
Infant mortality rate: total: 20.9 deaths/1,000 live births; male: 21.27 deaths/1,000 live births; female: 20.48 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.);
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 72.18 years; male: 69.72 years; female: 74.92 years (2011 est.);
Total fertility rate: 1.91 children born/woman (2011 est.);
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.4% (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 280,000 (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 14,000 (2009 est.);
Nationality: noun: Vietnamese (singular and plural); adjective: Vietnamese;
Ethnic groups: Kinh (Viet) 86.2%, Tay 1.9%, Thai 1.7%, Muong 1.5%, Khome 1.4%, Hoa 1.1%, Nun 1.1%, Hmong 1%, others 4.1% (1999 census);
Religions: Buddhist 9.3%, Catholic 6.7%, Hoa Hao 1.5%, Cao Dai 1.1%, Protestant 0.5%, Muslim 0.1%, none 80.8% (1999 census);
Languages: Vietnamese (official), English (increasingly favored as a second language), some French, Chinese, and Khmer; mountain area languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian);
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write; total population: 90.3%; male: 93.9%; female: 86.9% (2002 est.);
GDP (purchasing power parity): $278.1 billion (2010 est.); $260.3 billion (2009 est.); $247.2 billion (2008 est.);
GDP (official exchange rate): $102 billion (2010 est.);
GDP - real growth rate: 6.8% (2010 est.); 5.3% (2009 est.); 6.3% (2008 est.);
GDP - per capita (PPP): $3,100 (2010 est.); $2,900 (2009 est.); $2,800 (2008 est.);
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 20.6%; industry: 41.1%; services: 38.3% (2010 est.);
Population below poverty line: 10.6% (2010 est.);
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 3.1%; highest 10%: 29.8% (2006);
Labor force: 46.21 million (2010 est.);
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 53.9%; industry: 20.3%; services: 25.8% (2009);
Unemployment rate: 2.9% (2010 est.); 6.5% (2009 est.);
Budget: revenues: $27.08 billion; expenditures: $29.65 billion (2010 est.);
Industries: food processing, garments, shoes, machine-building; mining, coal, steel; cement, chemical fertilizer, glass, tires, oil, paper;
Industrial production growth rate: 14% (2010 est.);
Electricity - production: 97.3 billion kWh (2010 est.);
Electricity - consumption: 85.6 billion kWh (2010 est.);
Electricity - exports: 535 million kWh (2009 est.);
Electricity - imports: 3.85 billion kWh (2009 est.);
Statistics: CIA World Factbook.
(Daily news), Hanoi
(Communist Party-controlled), Hanoi
(English Language), Hanoi
Displaying 1 to 4 of 6 items.
More Vietnamese are online than ever before, and the country's Communist Party is responding by restricting its press even further.
As next year's pivotal five-year Communist Party congress draws near, Vietnam, with its China-like political absolutism, knows no bounds in its effort to silence any and every voice of dissension.
A film that has shaken audiences with its potent combination of sex, drugs, and HIV/AIDS, set against a stark portrayal of the lives of young prostitutes, is just as effectively forcing Vietnam’s film industry to take a long, hard look at itself.
Vietnamese journalist and pro-democracy advocate Nguyen Vu Binh has disappeared following the publication of an essay critical of the Vietnamese government's settlement of a border dispute with China. Associate editor Rachel S. Taylor reports.