University of Pennsylvania Asian Law Review


The Constitution of Vietnam declares that “[t]he Socialist Republic of Vietnam State is a socialist rule of law State of the People, by the People, and for the People.” It also states that land is “under ownership by the entire people represented and uniformly managed by the State.” This means the entire people of Vietnam are collective landowners and the Vietnam State is their “representative.” Given that, how might the public execute its real ownership—rather than treating “people’s ownership” as just a slogan? This article analyzes the gaps in theory and practice in Vietnam, a country with a robust market economy where land user rights are marketable despite the lack of private land ownership rights. It reviews current Vietnamese land law and makes recommendations for reducing uncertainty about “entire people ownership,” and increasing the transparency and overall legitimacy of the legal regime governing private use of land. Specifically, the authors recommend that Vietnam grant lawful land users the status of “secondary owners” of land, effectively as coowners with the State and with protected property ownership rights.

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