The VII. Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam was held in June 1991 in Hanoi. The reports and programmes published reflect the difficulties of renewal in the political sphere in Vietnam. The difficult economic situation compelled the political leaders to allow extensive reforms. But there has been no liberalisation of political and ideological thinking so far. The reasons therefore do not lie only in the communist ideology. Nationalism, Confucianism and metaphysically interpreted Marxism are essential components of Vietnamese political culture. This is important for the theory and methodology. Large socio-cultural differences between East Asian and West European (Northamerican) intellectual history are obvious.