Vietnam/ 4. Current issues in cultural policy development and debate  

4.1 Main cultural policy issues and priorities

4.1.1. Nurturing healthy people, ways of life, cultural life and environment

Nurturing Vietnamese who meet the high demands of industrialisation and modernisation in the context of international integration and globalisation is a key task of cultural development. This activity needs to pay attention to create a comprehensive workforce, and consider virtues, knowledge and practical skill as major measures.

4.1.2. Safeguarding and promoting national cultural heritage

Safeguarding and promoting national cultural heritage are important tasks of the strategy of cultural development. It is necessary to collect, research, preserve and promote the typical values of tangible and intangible heritages. Vietnam makes it a priority to preserve and restore special national heritage sites, tangible and intangible heritage elements that are endorsed by UNESCO, ethnic groups’ heritage, traditional unique art forms, folklore in each region and cultural area, Sino-Vietnamese documents, traditional craftsmanship, handwritings of ethnic groups, and typical traditional ceremonies.

Vietnam identifies the following key areas concerning safeguarding and promoting national cultural heritage:

  • Investing in modern technical      equipments to store and archive documents and artefacts in museums and centres.      Synchronously combine the preservation and promotion with economic and      tourism development.
  • Creating favourable      conditions for people to organise and enjoy traditional cultural activities.      Introducing Vietnamese cultural quintessence abroad and to overseas Vietnamese.
  • Training young artists      in national art forms; bringing the education of traditional arts to      schools through different activities.
  • Conducting research,      collection and setting up a data bank on Vietnamese culture.
  • Implementing ways of      rewarding traditional artists and artisans, as well as putting forward new      mechanisms for artisans to transmit their knowledge and skills to the youth.

4.1.3. Safeguarding and promoting cultural heritage of ethnic minority groups

The culture of ethnic minority groups is a precious asset that contributes to the richness and diversity of Vietnamese culture and preserving the diversity of this culture is an important political and social issue in Vietnam.

Vietnam’s cultural policies pay attention to preserving and promoting traditional values as well as developing new values on culture, literature and arts of ethnic groups; preserving and developing the languages and scripts of ethnic groups; discovering, providing further training and organising ethnic artists, composers and researchers; training ethnic intellectuals; giving priority to investment for ethnic authors and artists who can create artistic works on ethnic topics and issues concerning life in the mountainous areas.

Vietnam’s cultural policies also focus on the following:

  • To improve intellectual      levels, erase backward custom and clear illiteracy; to build civilised      lifestyle, cultural family and to stabilise and improve ethnic people’s      life.
  • To strengthen the      collection, restoration and promotion of intangible heritage of ethnic      people.

4.1.4. Developing the work of literature and arts

The central task of culture and arts in the near future is to create many literary and art works with high artistic ideology, to absorb humanity and democratic spirit, to effect the building of a new Vietnamese identity, paying attention to both traditional and revolutionary topics while being closely linked with today’s key issues, to present significant art works to encourage and educate people and society, and to prevent works that are immoral and have a negative effect on society.

This involves developing mass culture by creating favourable conditions for people to take part in the creation, organisation and enjoyment of culture; maintaining and developing competitions and festivals in the field of cultural and arts activities; and considering these activities as an important task in motivating and organising people to build grassroots’ cultural life.

Another task is to develop talented artists with rich experience, patriotism and national spirit to serve people along with ensuring freedom and democracy for all cultural and artistic creations in conjunction with promoting the civil responsibility of artists. Taking care of cultural and artistic talent; carrying out favourable regulations suitable for professional work, and giving grants to artistic performers. Paying attention to the promotion and dissemination of valuable art works across different publication platforms.

Strengthening and improving the quality of theoretical activities, research and criticism of culture and arts; building consultancy and evaluation mechanisms for cultural and arts activities to help the leadership of the party and the management of the government; appreciating the opinion of the masses and their contribution to ideas and criticism on art works. Selecting and creating good conditions to publicise artistic and conceptually valuable art works and appreciating significant art works and discouraging substandard art works. Upgrading the content and activity methods of culture and art associations ranging from central to local ones.

Striving for the development of significant art works in the fields of literature, folklore, cinema, painting, sculpture, performing arts, etc is one of the tasks undertaken. Creating policies that provide support to patronage and order art works, especially those from

ethnic people; supporting art works and popular cultural activities created and organised by the masses. Protecting copyrights and relevant rights.

4.1.5. Paying respect and promoting the good cultural and moral values of religions and beliefs

Implementing religious philosophy in the orientation of “good life, good faith”, “glorious country, bright faith”, “living gospel life in the heart of the country” to serve the happiness of people.

Building new and advanced lifestyle as well as preserving and protecting national identities along with erasing superstitious and backward customs. Building “cultural villages” in the areas where diverse religions can coexist.

Promoting active agents in religious culture; encouraging healthy values, goodwill, humanity, advanced sensibilities; creating good conditions for religious activities and beliefs that promote general benefits to the nation and the rights of the followers.

Continuing to rank historical and cultural worship sites according to the regulation of the cultural heritage law. The government supports budgets for the preservation and restoration of these endorsed sites; at the same time, meeting the suitable religious demands of dignitaries and followers toward their place of worship, as well as religious publications to serve the research and study of dignitaries and followers, and training staff for performing religious affairs.

4.1.6. Strengthening the work of mass media

The government of Vietnam has adopted a strategy for media development wherein the strategy expresses that all information activities and institutions must work under the leadership of the Party, the management of the state, and follow the regulations of laws; both expand and promote socialist democracy and give priority to rules, discipline and laws.

In terms of mass media, the principle of cultural policy focusses on developing the information system so that it will perform better the work of distributing information, educating and protecting Marxism-Leninism and Hồ Chí Minh’s thoughts; protecting the guidelines and policies of the Party, and the policies and laws of the state; as well as the forum of mass. The main topic of information activities in the short and long run is national independence and socialism.

4.1.7. Intensifying international cooperation in culture

In the period of economic integration, especially after joining WTO, Vietnam’s cultural policies have focused on receiving development opportunities and overcoming new challenges to keep healthy national identities as well as absorbing mankind’s cultural quintessence, avoiding negative aspects of globalisation.

4.1.8. Building a system of cultural institutions

In order to build a system of cultural institutions the following are meticulously carried out

  • Completing the organisational system of cultural sector from central to grassroots levels to ensure the leadership of the Party and the effective management of the state, as well as the ownership role of mass and cultural actors. Building      and implementing the coordinating mechanism with other ministries, sectors, unions and associations to strengthen the effectiveness of cultural managements and activities.
  • Planning, synchronously forming and enhancing the effectiveness of cultural institutions; giving priority to institutions that support the community’s cultural activities such as museums, libraries, theatres, cinemas, art statues, parks, entertainment sites, etc.; building important cultural institutions in Hanoi and other big cities.
  • Deeply investing in modern equipment and technology to upgrade the quality of cultural products, to meet the increasing demands of people in Vietnam and its export abroad.
  • Implementing legislative documents and policies on culture and arts in the market economy; promulgating incentive policies to cultural creations and special art forms to create favourable condition for artists to devote their talents; as well as strengthening the privatisation and decentralisation of cultural activities.
  • Carrying out administrative reforms and arranging the management levels of culture sector.

Chapter published: 30-11-2013