McDonald’s has opened its first restaurant in communist-controlled Vietnam.
Hundreds of people queued for the opening of the restaurant in the southern city of Ho Chi Minh, AFP says.
Ho Chi Minh, known as Saigon during the Vietnam War, was where the US-backed government was based until it fell to communist forces 38 years ago.
The first McDonald’s restaurant in Vietnam is being run by the prime minister’s son-in-law.
Henry Nguyen flipped burgers at a McDonald’s restaurant while a teenager growing up in the United States, where his family fled at the end of the war.
The first McDonald’s restaurant in Vietnam is being run by the prime minister’s son-in-law
He said last July, after winning the franchise, it had been his dream to open a McDonald’s since returning to Vietnam more than a decade ago.
The move underlines Vietnam’s hunger for Western consumer brands and the attractions for foreign investors, say observers.
Despite the Vietnamese economy’s recent slowdown, foreign brands are popular among the youthful population whose parents had few of the food and lifestyle options now available in the country.
Starbucks, Subway, Burger King, and KFC all have a presence there.
Henry Nguyen is the founder of travel and food group Good Day Hospitality and managing general partner of investment firm IDG Ventures Vietnam. He is married to the daughter of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.
The Vietnamese authorities have jailed three bloggers accused of spreading anti-government propaganda, in a case criticized by human rights groups.
The high-profile but brief trial took place in Ho Chi Minh City under heavy security, reports say.
The trio was given jail sentences of between four and 12 years.
The government, which does not allow freedom of expression, has been under pressure from bloggers over corruption cases and human rights issues.
The three were accused of posting political articles on a banned website called Free Journalists’ Club, as well as articles critical of the government on their own blogs.
Vietnam has jailed three bloggers accused of spreading anti-government propaganda
Nguyen Van Hai, who uses the pen name Dieu Cay, received the longest sentence of 12 years.
The case of Dieu Cay, who was a soldier before he became a dissident writer, was raised by US President Barack Obama earlier this year.
Former policewoman Ta Phong Tan, who also wrote a blog called ”Justice and Truth”, was sent to jail for a decade. In July, her mother died after setting herself on fire in apparent protest against the detention of her daughter.
The third dissident writer, Phan Thanh Hai, was jailed for four years.
In a statement, the US embassy in Hanoi called on the Vietnamese government to free the group.
“We are deeply concerned by reports that the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court convicted and sentenced blogger Dieu Cay to 12 years in prison for peacefully expressing his political views,” the statement said.
Activists have accused the government of stepping up a crackdown against bloggers and peaceful activists.
“Vietnam’s arbitrary use of vaguely worded national security laws to imprison critics of the government means bloggers are bearing the brunt of this assault on freedom of expression,” Brad Adams, Asia director at the New York-based Human Rights Watch, said in a statement urging the release of the trio.
Earlier this month, Vietnam’s prime minister hit out at three blogs critical of the government.
A statement on a government website said PM Nguyen Tan Dung had ordered police to investigate and take action against those responsible.