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The New Vietnam Class War

When around 100 police and local officials came to seize their land outside the northern port city of Haiphong, the family of farmer Doan Van Vuon was ready and waiting, with shotguns in hand and improvised explosive devices planted in the ground. Six security officers were injured in the ensuing shoot-out on January 5, the culmination of a long-running land dispute between Mr Vuon and the local government. Foreign diplomats say that the government is concerned about the potential for such disputes to spiral out of control, at a time when it is facing other threats to social stability such as the record number of labour strikes and soaring food prices.Jairo Acuña-Alfaro, a policy adviser on the United Nations Development Programme in Hanoi, says that disputes over land use rights were “perhaps the largest source of corruption nowadays in Vietnam”, with many Vietnamese complaining that local authorities often set compensation prices for land too low.Following the path lai…