Vietnam’s Communist Party has purged a prominent researcher whose work on his nation’s claims to the South China Sea had threatened to ruffle feathers in Beijing.
Tran Duc Anh Son, deputy head of the Danang Institute for Socioeconomic Development, was expelled from the party this week after being accused of eroding its prestige, state media reported yesterday.
“The violations by Tran Duc Anh Son are very serious, creating negative public opinion among cadres, party members and the people,” Danang Online reported.
He was also accused of “defaming the prestige of ... the party organization and the institute where he is working,” it added, referring to the state-run research institute, where he has been employed since 2009.
The newspaper did not specify Son’s alleged misdeeds, although the historian has previously criticized the Vietnamese government for not standing up to Beijing in its fight over disputed territory in the sea.
The outspoken researcher has collected documents that he says justifies Hanoi’s claims in the waterway dating to the 19th century, namely over the Spratly (Nansha, 南沙群島) and Paracel (Xisha, 西沙群島) islands.
Son’s patriotic Facebook posts have argued in favor of those claims and against China’s 1979 invasion of Vietnam that sparked a bloody border war.
Son was not available for comment, but posted a cryptic message on Facebook after the news of his expulsion from the party broke.
“This is a happy moment,” he wrote, quoting anti-war Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh.
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