Vietnam organizes caricature contest to intensify fight against corruption

Vietnam organizes caricature contest to intensify fight against corruption

A caricature depicting a government official ‘feeding’ on public land. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A caricature contest on the topic of anti-corruption has been launched by Vietnam’s fine arts department as part of state-run activities in support of the country’s ongoing high-profile crackdowns on corrupt officials.

The contest is open to both professional and amateur cartoonists and illustrators who are Vietnamese citizens aged 18 and above.

Each contestant can submit up to ten works done between 2016 and 2018 that offer their reflection on issues related to anti-corruption, including criticism of corruptive behaviors or support of good deeds and self-criticism in the fight against corruption.

Submissions can be printed or hand-drawn on A3 or A4-sized papers and mailed to the headquarters of the Department of Fine Arts, Photography and Exhibition at number 38 Cao Ba Quat, Hanoi between September 4 and 7, according to the organizers.

Winning caricatures will be awarded prizes of up to VND30 million (US$1,300) and will be selected for an exhibition in October at the Vietnam Women’s Museum in the Vietnamese capital.

The caricature contest is the first of its kind to feature the topic of corruption in Vietnam.

Vi Kien Thanh, director of the Department of Fine Arts, Photography and Exhibition, promises an open-minded and “unrestricted” approach when it comes to judging the participating works.

However, Thanh admits it is a “tremendous pressure” to be the chief organizer of a contest with such a “sensitive” topic.

“The panel of judges will follow a set of guidelines when critiquing submissions,” he said when asked whether contestants could submit caricatures featuring government and Party leaders.

“It is not our duty to publish these guidelines to the press,” he added.

Ly Truc Dung, a panelist for the caricature contest, advised artists to avoid drawing characters who bear resemblance to certain Vietnamese leaders so as not to cause “unwanted effects.”

Le Quy Vuong, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Public Security, addresses a national anti-corruption conference in Hanoi on June 25, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Le Quy Vuong, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Public Security, addresses a national anti-corruption conference in Hanoi on June 25, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Vietnam is tightening its grip on corruption in an effort to restore public confidence in government officials.

Since 2016, Vietnamese authorities have launched legal proceedings against 1,412 people linked to economic management and corruption crimes in 589 separate cases nationwide, according to Le Quy Vuong, Deputy Minister of Public Security.

“The number of new prosecutions in 2017 was 50 percent more than in 2016,” Vuong said at a national anti-corruption conference in Hanoi on Monday.

Authorities were able to recover over VND21.5 trillion ($941.7 million) in state money from the legal proceedings last year, he added.

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