This article explores the controversial life, writings, and death of Lieutenant General Trần Độ, a decorated war hero who became Vietnam’s leading political dissident during the final decade of his life. The general made use of his biography to author “open letters” that circulated via elite social networks and later the internet. In them, he called on the Vietnamese Communist Party to democratize itself in order to foster just and equitable development for all. The details illustrate the critical importance of an individual’s biography in shaping not only dissent, but official efforts to censor it as well.
- © 2013 by The Regents of the University of California