The meeting of Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh with some Vietnamese took place on the evening of May 17, 2022, in San Francisco, California, USA.
Although there are more than two million Vietnamese living in the United States, some of those who met the Prime Minister was said to represent the Vietnamese community in the country. At the meeting, Mr. Chinh said the pandemic affirms the Vietnamese people’s tradition that the more difficulties, the more efforts, the more solidarity… at the same time, he repeated late President Ho Chi Minh’s words: “Vietnam is one, Vietnamese people are ones. Rivers may dry up, mountains may erode, but that truth never changes.”
Dr. Nguyen Huy Vu commented to RFA on May 20:
“Mr. Chinh said that ‘Vietnam is one, the Vietnamese people are ones,’ that is from the point of view of the communists. In fact, if viewed from the point of view of governance, there are two Vietnams: a Vietnam of communists where they receive special privileges, enjoy many perks, are given priority to hold their power, and the exclusive right to rule the country; and a Vietnam of non-communists, who are ruled, have almost no power and are constantly afraid of being imprisoned by the authorities.”
According to Dr. Nguyen Huy Vu, Communist Party leaders never want to talk about this fact. They used the guise of class struggle to gain power, and after gaining power, they turned to using class discrimination to rule the people. Mr. Vu continued:
“Despite ruling over the people, communist leaders always try to build solidarity with the ruled because they know that the ruled are always outnumbered by the rulers. And if the ruled people unite to demand change, then surely the rulers will quickly lose their power and rights.”
Many people believe that there cannot be a method of great solidarity around one party, because ethnic groups always have differences. Great unity is to accept differences. If the Vietnamese state accepts differences, it does not need to call for great unity.
Returning to PM Chinh’s repetition of Ho Chi Minh’s words at a meeting with some Vietnamese in San Francisco, Doctor Dinh Duc Long, a Party member who had left the Party, answered RFA on May 20:
“This sentence is not from Mr. Pham Minh Chinh, but from President Ho Chi Minh said in 1946, before leaving for France to attend the Fontainebleau Conference. At that time, he sent a letter to his compatriots in the South saying, ‘Rivers may dry up, mountains may erode, but Vietnam is one country, the Vietnamese people are ones.’ Because at that time the South was a French colony, they wanted to separate the South, and Uncle Ho’s struggle was against that. Now, the leaders have reiterated that they only follow Mr. Ho’s orders. In fact, they really did it, because whoever, at any rank, goes in the wrong direction, wants to divide Vietnam, wants to place their locality outside the leadership of the central government, will immediately be punished. That’s what they certainly do, within themselves, but against the enemy, they do it even harder.”
Regarding the treatment of Vietnamese people under the Republic of Vietnam regime currently living abroad, is it possible to be treated fairly by the communist government as the leaders say? Doctor Dinh Duc Long said:
“Personally, I think it’s true that they do that, but the problem is that if you want to clap, you must have two hands, no one should clap with one hand. If they say so, will the overseas Vietnamese accept it or not? Whether to cooperate or not is up to each person. It is absolutely true that there are differences, but it varies from person to person. Unified Germany also discriminates against communists, but to different degrees. The second is that it depends on each specific person, there are people who still cooperate and vice versa, there are people who are within the communists but people also quit. So I think it’s a normal thing in society, but many people exaggerate it. Many times I think that it is the characteristic of the Vietnamese people, that is, ‘who wins to be king and who loses to be an enemy,’ we have to understand it is only different in degree. In short, when there is a conflict of interest, they will kill each other, if they can’t kill each other, they should cooperate and live together.”
If the leaders really want “Vietnam is one, the Vietnamese people are ones‘… then the rulers are the ones who have to go ahead, have to forget the past to pave the way for those who have left the country for political reasons… But they can’t keep trying to suppress and persecute domestic dissidents… and before the visits of senior Vietnamese leaders to Western countries, Hanoi authorities often release people jailed for dissent… and see it as a bargain.
Researcher Dinh Kim Phuc, when talking to RFA on May 20 from Saigon, commented:
“Leaders often confuse Vietnamese-Americans, overseas Vietnamese or international students… Therefore, most of them call Vietnamese living abroad whether they have citizenship of the host country or not, or go to the US for their own business are all overseas Vietnamese. This is not true of the nature and characteristics of each overseas Vietnamese community. We all see that between Vietnamese in the country and overseas Vietnamese, especially the Vietnamese community who left the country in 1975, people carry a different ideology and the vast majority of them self-identify as the Overseas Vietnamese and not Vietnamese in general so that they can distinguish between Vietnamese Nationalists and Vietnamese Communists.”
According to researcher Dinh Kim Phuc, because the war in Vietnam lasted so long, it resulted in millions of Vietnamese having to leave the country and it led to suspicion stemming from new policies of the new government after April 30, 1975. For example, being sent to prison to re-educate, having property confiscated, reforming the industry and commerce in the South, and have discrimination in education, etc. then the deep gap between Vietnamese and Vietnamese people after 47 years is also difficult to heal, while the US and Vietnam are former enemies, they have begun to move closer together, to develop the country and build a good friendship. Mr. Phuc continued:
“Therefore, every time a problem is raised with Vietnamese people in the country and overseas Vietnamese, it is once more painful for these Vietnamese people. I also say frankly, that many Vietnamese leaders go abroad, especially to the US, and no one has dared to invite the Vietnamese national community to the US to have a dialogue so that the two sides can understand each other. And I have never seen a Vietnamese official dare to step out of Little Saigon to meet the Vietnamese national community for dialogue.”
Researcher Dinh Kim Phuc said that because of those differences, the division between Vietnamese people in the country and overseas Vietnamese are getting deeper and deeper. And most importantly, according to Mr. Phuc, it is an ideological issue and a problem in running the country today, causing some overseas Vietnamese to disagree with the ruling regime’s shortcomings and the country’s problems which shouldn’t be happened in Vietnam.