Monday, 15 October, 2018

Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang dies of illness at 61

Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang dead at 61 Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang has died
Kenny Thornton | 21 September, 2018, 22:10

Quang had not been seen in public for several weeks before his death was announced. Official media say the Vietnamese president died at age 61 due to illness on Friday.

Phil Roberston, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said that Quang would be remembered for "a multi-year crackdown on human rights and putting more political prisoners behind bars in Vietnam than any time in recent memory".

Reuters writes, "Originally from a small farming community [70 miles] south of Hanoi, Quang rose through party ranks to become a police general and member of Vietnam's powerful decision-making Politburo".

At one of his last appearances, during a visit by Indonesian President Joko Widodo to Hanoi on September 11, Quang appeared visibly unwell and stumbled as he stepped onto a platform to inspect a guard of honour.

"Before assuming the presidency in April 2016, a largely ceremonial role in the country, he served as minister of public security".

Quang was from Quang Thien Commune, Kim Son District, Ninh Binh Province in northern Vietnam.

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He had a reputation as a tough leader who was influential within the inner circles of the country's communist party.

In an interview with AFP in 2016 ahead of a visit by the former French leader Francois Hollande, Quang read from a prepared statement and was quickly escorted from the room by staff when a question went off-script.

While President Tran Dai Quang's role was mostly ceremonial, he was the government's most public face at high-profile events, including at the APEC meeting in Vietnam's Danang in November a year ago where he hosted world leaders including US President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping.

Vietnam cancelled at least one oil drilling project in the resource-rich region during Quang's tenure in an apparent bid to quell tensions.

Some 97 activists have been jailed as of April this year, according to Amnesty International.

He is survived by his wife and two sons.

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