A Vietnamese actor is the latest in a series of prominent celebrities to leave the country’s ruling Communist Party following the party’s decision to punish Chu Hao, a former technology vice minister-turned publisher, who was found to have printed books diverging from the party’s political line.
The female performer Kim Chi, in a November 4 Facebook post, wrote “I had already stopped participating in party activities since 2013 because I was very disappointed [with the party.]
“As I am no longer young, it would be a disappointment to die as a member of the party. I wish that the other party members who still have a conscience and passion for the [welfare of] the people and country would also leave,” she wrote.
Kim Chi’s exit is at least the 14th such announcement by famous party members since the ruling against Chu Hao, who had himself been a loyal party member for 62 years.
In 2013 there was a similar wave of notable people leaving the party on claims that it no longer serves the interests of the Vietnamese people. This wave had been started by senior party member Le Hieu Dang and Chairman Pham Chi Dung of Vietnam’s independent journalists association, an organization not recognized by the government.
Mac Van Trang, another of the 14 recent resignations, told RFA’s Vietnamese Service: “When Le Hieu Dang quit the party it wasn’t as big of a deal. Most of the people who quit then just left for personal reasons.”
“Disciplining Chu Hao is the last straw!” Dang said.
In a telephone interview, Kim Chi said she did not attend any of the party’s meetings but made the decision to leave due to personal reasons.
“I was very close to Le Hieu Dang and I talked to him about quitting. He told me to think carefully about it before he died,” she said.
“I [felt like] I have to make a decision now. I talked to Chu Hao prior to writing my announcement [on Facebook.] [While I was still thinking about leaving,] some people told me to stay to help bring about positive change [within the party]. [Initially] I agreed because I believe there are still good people in the party,” she said.
Reported by Kinh Hoa for RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Translated by Viet Ha. Written in English by Eugene Whong.