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Vietnam lists top leaders’ health information ‘top secret'
Linh Pham 14:35, 2020/08/31
All information relating health and medical records of Politburo and Secretariat members is deemed top secret.

Information on health of senior officials in Vietnam is regarded ‘top classified information’ in accordance with the Law on Protection of State Secrets that took effect on July 1, 2020.

 Time limit for protection of state secret in Vietnam lasts for 30 years maximum

Under the law, medical records, information, and results of medical examination and treatment of members of the Politburo and Secretariat are classified as top secret state information.

The Vietnamese government labels information as state secret when (1) the information related to a case, a circumstance, a document, an object, a location, a time, or a speech that contains important content in the fields of politics; national defense; national security; foreign affairs; economy; science; technology; or other subjects designated by the government; (2) the disclosure of the information may cause harm to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

There are three levels of state secrets namely ‘absolute secret’, ‘top secret’, and ‘secret’. Each of them enjoys different levels of protection.

The government determines and issues a list of information it deems to be state secrets in each sector.

There are no separate categories for sensitive data that does not constitute state secrets.

The prescribed time limit for protection of a state secret is a period of time that starts from the date of determination of level of classification and ends upon expiry of 30 years with respect to state secrets classified as absolute secret; 20 years for top secret; and 10 years for secret.

In a latest move, according to a decision issued Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on August 24, 2020, the list of state top secrets in the health sector also includes names, origins, virulence, contagious ability, and pathways of newly emerging microorganisms that have not been classified yet but cause impact on human health and life, and socio-economic development.

In addition, the list of state secrets include specimens, genetic resources, and the security and safety of medicinal plant growing regions with small quantity or in danger of extinction; the number of people infected or killed because of an unknown infectious disease that has not been disclosed by the Ministry of Health; data on size, distribution, and population in border areas and islands.

The classified fields also include source of raw materials and specifications for the production of traditional drugs, precious and rare biological drugs belonging to state projects, unannounced national product programs; name and address of Class-3 biosafety laboratory labeled failure of biosafety by the Ministry of Health.

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