The Transformation of Ethnic Conflict in Vietnam: The Case of the Khmer Krom in the Mekong Delta

  • Mikio OishiEmail author
  • Nguyen Minh Quang
  • Nguyen Van Minh


After the 1975 reunification, Vietnam has experienced a trend of ethnic conflicts in its Central Highlands and Mekong Delta, where ethnic minorities are struggling to preserve their traditions and claim political interests. This chapter exposes the major drivers causing the decades-long ethnic tension in Vietnam in the face of globalization forces. It first traces the development of Khmer Krom anti-Vietnamese government movement through which incompatibilities are identified. Given that globalization impacts and economic development may lead to increased political expectations among ethnic minority groups, the chapter analyses in what ways the current globalizing economy in Vietnam has bred and facilitated the resurgence of Khmer Krom ethnic tension in the Mekong Delta, especially when it has been fuelled by anti-Vietnamese sentiment in Cambodia and manipulated by ultranationalist activists, called Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF), and Cambodian opposition party leaders. The chapter then identifies and examines the Vietnamese approach to addressing ethnic tension. Three interlinked components constituting the country’s ethnic conflict management include (1) population resettlement and rural development programmes, (2) a propaganda machinery with an ethnic relations strategy, and (3) pre-emptive measures. The strong influence of Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh’s Thoughts in the Vietnamese ethnic policy is also discussed in this part. Since the Khmer Krom’s major claim to political autonomy remains unsettled, the chapter concludes that even though the Mekong Delta has witnessed some relative stability and improvement in Khmer Krom ethnic rights, it pays for the government of Vietnam to show greater liberal democracy and inter-ethnic equity.


Ethnic tension Vietnam’s ethnic policy Human rights The Khmer Krom Globalization The Marxist-Leninist approach to incompatibility management 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mikio Oishi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nguyen Minh Quang
    • 2
  • Nguyen Van Minh
    • 3
  1. 1.Universiti Malaysia SabahKota KinabaluMalaysia
  2. 2.Can Tho UniversityCan ThoVietnam
  3. 3.Tay Bac UniversitySon LaVietnam

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