Vietnam has just lost a regime contributor, who is also an dissident activist to awaken conscience for incumbent leaders in Hanoi.
In 2014, General Vinh along with 60 party members such as former Deputy Minister of Science Chu Hao, senior economists Le Dang Doanh and Pham Chi Lan, sent an open letter to the Communist Party’s Central Committee saying that the party “leading the people in the wrong way of building socialism in the Soviet model, considered to be based on Marxism-Leninism.” They also asked asked the Communist Party of Vietnam “to give up the wrong way of building socialism, to turn completely towards the line of nationalism and democracy, and transform the political institution from totalitarian to democratic perseverance.”
The funeral of the late Ambassador of Vietnam in China, Major General Nguyen Trong Vinh in Hanoi on January 2, 2019 was held “quite thoughtfully”.
However, there are other opinions reflected also from the funeral that there were “unkind” behaviors at the funeral.
Dr. Nguyen Quang A shared what he observed and felt: “I attended the funerals of Gen. Vinh and Gen. Tran Do so in comparision, the funeral of the former was organized quite nicely by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“Of course, perhaps there are many security agents, because there are the presence of a large number of activists, from the people of Dong Tam, and the No-U team, the people of Duong Noi, and many Hanoi-based activists.”
Blogger Nguyen Lan Thang wrote: “Today at the funeral of General Nguyen Trong Vinh, the former Vietnamese ambassador to China during the war in which China invaded Vietnam’s northern border in 1979, there are some indescribable jokes.”
The funny story that Mr. Thang told was: “There is a funeral tape on the wreath that says: Descendants of No U pay tribute to the old man… but were drowned for about 20 minutes in the yard. Poor senior officials from the military rites were directed by some plainclotes agents.”
Mr. Thang continued: “After keeping a delegation of more than 30 people standing, they were forced to let us come in to pay tribute to the general.”
“This is a picture of some No-U’s members after making tribute.”
Dr. Nguyen Quang A continued:
“In 2011, Gen. Nguyen Trong Vinh was invited by the Hanoi People’s Committee, along with Professor Hue Chi, Mr. Chu Hao, Mr. Xuan Dien and me in order to ask us not to attend peaceful anti-China protests, although Gen. Vinh didn’t participate in the protests which lasted from May to November.
“Along with giving opinions on Vietnam-China relations, Gen. Vinh and other gave many opinions on other social and economical issues so they got respected from people.”
“As far as I know, a few days ago authorities agreed to hold the funeral in 75 minutes but three days ago, they agreed to extend the time to 2 hours. The organization from the eulogy to other things were very thoughtful and there are no obstacles to the wreaths, such as the No-U’s wreath or the people’s wreath Dong Tam people, called in a very official way.”
Dr. Nguyen Quang A commented there were a few concessions from the government “These are some of the points that I think might make a difference and an eulogy of the permanent deputy minister of Foreign Affairs, who is a member of the party’s Central Committee, is quite enough.”
However, the same day, Dr. Nguyen Xuan Dien, from the photo, a researcher at the Han-Nom Research Institute, who also attended Nguyen Trong Vinh’s funeral, talked about “some very bad behaviors” at the funeral.
According to Mr. Dien, “the wreaths of Bauxite Vietnam have been swapped into ribbons with only the words “Kính viếng” while the wreaths of No-U Hanoi, Professor Tuong Lai, Mr. Huynh Tan Mam and Mr. Huynh Kim Bau were taken awayby security officers.”
In addition, according to Dr. Dien, the introduction “A delegation of No-U Hanoi” was read as “Friends of Ms. Nguyen Nguyen Binh.”
Another opinion on the personal Facebook of a civil activist, Ms. Dang Bich Phuong, wrote: “It is very rare that a communist official’s funeral is visited by many organizations and individuals in the society such as Nguyen Trong Vinh. There were wreaths from the president and general secretary to ordinary people.
However, for the communists, there were differenciation in deaths, even with wreaths. The wreaths of Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong and Mr. Truong Tan Sang of course did not have any problems, but the wreath of the Bauxit group was stripped off the banner right from the yard, and exchanged with a banner that only recorded two words: Kính viếng!”
“So Bauxit’s wreath is left alone in funeral house, when the funeral ends like this.”
“Among the people attending the funeral, there was farmer Doan Van Vuon from Hai Phong. While many delegations came and left, I see him wandering on the yard. He told me that he had registered from the beginning but the organizers did not call him by name. I took him to the organizers to question. After that, I told him not to wait. So he came alone with his wreath.”
And activist Dang Bich Phuong added details on her Facebook page when meeting Nguyen Trong Vinh’s daughter:
“I went with the corps escort of wreaths of activists from the southt. Perhaps this is the first delegation of civil society, so when paying tribute, Nguyen Nguyen Binh hugged me and cried “Our team come!”
Also via social network, blogger Nguyen Dinh Am shared his feelings about the funeral, he wrote: “A special funeral – Mr. Nguyen Trong Vinh passed away at the age of 104 so there were many people coming to pay last tribute.
But it is special that he was a senior official but different people and state agencies attending the funeral, including victims of legal miscarriages.”
“Farmer groups Duong Noi, Hai Phong, Hung Yen, Dong Tam … Club Le Hieu Dang, Doan GS Future, Artist Kim Chi … from Saigon, there are a lot of people, intellectuals, and famous dissidents. Lan petitioner Doan Van Vuon also attended. They cannot be seen in funerals of other senior officials.”
A scholar from Hanoi, Assoc. Professor Dr. Mac Van Trang, who also attended the funeral on January 2, shared on his personal Facebook, saying this was a “popular” funeral, he wrote:
“It seems that at first there was a ‘tight direction but then ‘transformed itself’ into the right direction, morally and with the people’s expectation. There were many different comments around the authorities’ attitude about the organization of the funeral procedures for Mr. Nguyen Trong Vinh, but the participants in the funeral today have expressed their satisfaction about the behavior of the Government.
I observed that there were wreaths of President Nguyen Phu Trong, former President Truong Tan Sang, of the Party Central Committee Secretariat, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defense, the Central Party Organization Committee, wreaths of military units, the Veterans Association and previous units he had worked in the past; wreaths of the Embassy of Laos and Pakistan (the Chinese Ambassador to Vietnam was not present although Mr. Vinh was a plenipotentiary and plenipotentiary Ambassador of Vietnam to China for 13 years.”
“The eulogy of the Head of the Funeral Committee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has properly stated the merits in many aspects, the wise mind, the brave bravery, the outstanding diplomatic style, the pure ethics of the senior diplomat to back to the valuable lessons.”
At the station of the Van Dien universal incarnation, we also saw the military ritual orchestra.
“So the funeral of Mr. Nguyen Trong Vinh, a senior revolutionary, fought for the Independence of the Fatherland, for the Democracy, Freedom, and Happiness of the People until the end of his life, took place in accordance with the people’s expectations,” commented Dr. Mac Van Trang.
With the party’s General Secretary cum State President Nguyen Phu Trong sending a wreath to pay tribute, the security forces made less difficulties for representatives of civil society organizations coming to share their condolences with General Nguyen Trong Vinh’s family, it seems that the government has changed its mind.
But whether Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong dares to fulfill the late wishes of General Nguyen Trong Vinh and his intellectual group, we need to wait and see.
Lê Trung Khoa – Thoibao.de from Berlin, Germany. / Live video on Jan 4th, 2020