Presidential palace in Hanoi, Feb 2007. Wikimedia Commons

By Vu Lam

The Interpreter-Sept 27

The death of Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang was unexpected by the general public: he was due to address the UN General Assembly this week, and Vietnam’s one-party system has a long tradition of keeping a veil of secrecy around the health status of its top leaders.  But Quang’s passing cannot have been a surprise among Vietnam’s key political stakeholders. After all, he had appeared unwell on television for months, and in his final couple of days was unstable on his feet. Yet, after the official pronouncement of his death, speculation has swirled among commentators about the implications for political stability in Vietnam. Some seem to venture into conspiracy territory – a rumor circulated on social media that Quang was poisoned while visiting China.

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First published in: The Interpreter