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Friday, January 22, 2016

Hanoi mourns turtle Cu Rua - and Vietnams Communist Party is worried

The death of a turtle has shocked Vietnams Communist Party: The Yangtze giant softshell turtle Cu Rua was found dead in Hoan Kiem Lake in the centre of Hanoi. A legend says that the turtle - believed to be more than 100 years old - was the incarnation of a mythical creature living in the lake in the 15th Century. According to the legend Le Loi, who became emperor of Vietnam, borrowed a magical sword to fight against Vietnam's Chinese oppressors. After claiming independence, he came to the lake and returned the sword to a giant turtle in the lake. Thats how Hoan Kiem lake got its name: the Lake of the Returned Sword.

Some in the Communist Party, where a power struggle is ongoing and that started its Congress on Thursday, saw the death of Cu Rua as bad omen. Censors tried to prevent media to report the death, reported bbc.com. But the news of the death via Social Media could not be stopped.

The National Party Congress takes place every five years. Around the 12th Congress, opened on Thursday, there has been a lot of speculation about the outcome: the elections of the general secretary and the Prime Minister, the two top posts of the country. Anti-Chinese sentiments in Vietnam have grown in the past years after China’s actions in the South China Sea, where Vietnam and its larger northern neighbor both claim sovereignty over islands. The congress will end on January 28. General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong is expected to keep his post according to aljazeera.com, "albeit for half the five-year term in an apparent compromise with his rival, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung".

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