Whose is policy of “respecting high-level cadres but disrespecting low-ranking ones” in disciplinary action?

The application of “double standards” in judging cases in Vietnam is extremely common. This has created dangerous precedents of unfair and unequal law enforcement.

Instead of handling cases strictly and in accordance with the law, judicial agencies show many signs that they are looking for ways to reduce the crimes of corrupt high-ranking officials but on the contrary, for civilians and low-level cadres, strict rules are being applied.

Tien Phong newspaper reported on March 6 that “Embezzling money for Tet gifts for workers, Chairman of Hai Duong provincial Labor Confederation received 66 months in prison.” The news said that on March 6, the People’s Court of Hai Duong province held a first-instance hearing of the case of “Property Embezzlement” which occurred at the Labor Federation of Hai Duong province.

The Trial Council sentenced defendant Mai Xuan Anh – former Chairman of the Labor Confederation of Hai Duong province, to 5 years and 6 months in prison; Pham Thi Nhung – Head of the Legal Policy Department of the Hai Duong Labor Confederation, 4 years in prison; and Pham Dung – Deputy of the Legal Policy Department, 3 years in prison but the sentence was suspended.

These defendants were all prosecuted for “embezzlement” when they inflated prices to receive discounts of more than VND220 million, from buying Tet gifts for workers and employees affected by the Covid19 epidemic in 2021. After the incident was discovered, the defendants and those involved returned the above amount of more than VND220 million.

Public opinion related to the trial of the Viet A case in mid-January 2024, City Law newspaper reported, “Former Secretary of Hai Duong Pham Xuan Thang was sentenced to 5 years in prison.”

Accordingly, the Trial Council of the Hanoi People’s Court determined that former Hai Duong Secretary Pham Xuan Thang issued illegal policies, interventions and instructions to help Viet A Company sell the above tests in this province.

According to the indictment, “Pham Xuan Thang’s actions created conditions for Viet A Company to make illegal profits, causing damage to the State budget of more than VND73 billion. Thang himself received more than VND4 billion from Viet A.”

At the trial, Pham Xuan Thang admitted the violations as charged in the indictment. Accordingly, he was “thanked” $100,000 by Phan Quoc Viet, chairman cum general director of Viet A Company, after the Lunar New Year 2021. In addition, Thang also admitted that he was thanked by the former Director of Hai Duong CDC Pham Duy Tuyen bribed three times, with a total amount of VND600 million and $50,000.

The Viet A case is the largest corruption related to the health sector ever in Vietnam. Public opinion finds that this case may constitute an organized act of “genocide” causing more than 43 thousand Vietnamese people to die unjustly. The case is further aggravated by the irresponsibility of the Vietnamese state, the callousness and insatiable greed of officials, in the process of handling the Covid19 pandemic, in the 2019-2021 period.

Comparing the two cases mentioned above, which both occurred in the area of Hai Duong province, but with the “one-size-fits-all” decisions of the courts, it is clear that there is a “double standard” being applied.

On one side, in a small case, profiting VND220 million by falsely raising the price of workers’ Tet packages, defendant Mai Xuan Anh – former chairman of Hai Duong Province Labor Confederation, had to receive a sentence of 5 years and 6 months in prison. Meanwhile, on the other side is a major case with very serious consequences, because it affects people’s lives. At the same time, former provincial Party Secretary Pham Xuan Thang got bribes of more than VND4 billion from Viet A Company, and caused a loss to the State budget of more than VND73 billion but was sentenced to 5 years in prison only.

Public opinion believes that this is an inequality, a completely unreasonable application of the law according to double standards, which is unacceptable. By definition, “double standard” in the judicial field means: “two similar cases are handled by different standards.”

Article 16 of the 2013 amended Constitution of Vietnam clearly states: “Everyone is equal before the law. No one shall be discriminated against in political, civil, economic, cultural and social life.”

As a reminder, talking about the complexity of the Vietnamese legal system, lawyer Ngo Ba Thanh during her time had a famous saying at the National Assembly that in Vietnam there is a forest of laws, but when it comes to trial, they use the law of the jungle./.


Tra My – Thoibao.de