Ahead of the 13th Congress of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc issued a century-long spatial \statement reaffirming a term of government leadership with historic speeches.
The PM has connected the date April 30, 1975, which the Communist Party still calls “the liberation of the South and the reunification of the country” to this day when Vietnam under the Party’s wise leadership has more than 50 days without a COVID-19 infection in the community and traveling across space from an international superpower located on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, where the founding of the country still adheres to the principle of “all men are created equal and they were endowed by the Creator with certain indispensable rights, including the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” to Vietnam – a country of the people by the people and for the people and the National Assembly and its Government are of the Party, by the Party and for the Party.
Specifically, the state-controled media reported in a discussion session of the National Assembly on June 8 on the socio-economic situation, PM Phuc said: “Before, after 1975, a long time, people said ‘If the electric pole knows how to walk, they would run to the US.’ But now, in according to the current situation in the US and many other countries in recent months, people say: ‘If the electric poles can walk in the US, it will come to Vietnam‘.”
The basis for this statement was pointed out by the PM that after 1975, Vietnam, from a country of “poverty, lack of food, high debt,” has become a “leading rice exporter in the world, while many countries are in very difficult.” The latest bright spot of Vietnam is stopping the COVID-19 pandemic. PM Phuc said that tens of thousands of people abroad have been registering to return to Vietnam.
The speech of the PM stirred up both Vietnam and the Vietnamese community in the world, drawing a lot of comments from the global Vietnamese.
The statement was later narrated by Radio Free Asia and received more than 10,000 emoticons, more than half of which were “Haha” on Facebook.
Just one day later, on June 9, domestic media reports related to the “American electric poles” were removed without giving any reason.
Professor Nguyen Van Tuan currently living in Australia has a long article analyzing the origin of the statement said by artist Tran Van Trach that “In Vietnam, the light pole wants to leave” describing the wave of boat people leaving the country from 1975 to the 1990s and the trend of Vietnamese living abroad today.
According to a report of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) published in 2000, between 1975 and 1995, about 1 million people from Vietnam crossed the sea to countries in the South Asia such as Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines or Hong Kong or on foot through Cambodia, and from there to Thailand, where hundreds of thousands of compatriots were waiting in refugee camps. Of these, it was estimated that 200,000 to 400,000 people who could not reach the free shore, either died from shipwrecks or were killed by Thai pirates … etc.
Mr. Tuan called it a “whole sky of memories and sorrow.” He recounted: “After 1975 the socio-economic situation in the South was very tragic. The new regime advocates a ‘cooperative’ of economic activities, resulting in a total paralysis of the society. From the world’s second-largest rice export economy, rice had become a shortage. I myself have also eaten wheat which was for animals. All the essential goods (at that time called ‘necessities’ under the Chinese communist) were through the state distribution and opened the door for embezzlement and harassment. North-South discrimination is extremely heavy, and people were suspicious of each other, no one believes anyone. People were proud to be “puppet”, because they were decent and have good educational and technical skills, in order to distinguish them from outside cadres and newly recruited guerrillas. In such a situation, one way was to leave the country. People at all costs find their way across the sea and across the border. At that time, nearly all my friends left the country. They still had coffee with me this morning, but I don’t see them in the morning, and everyone knew and understood “it’s gone.” Some were at the yesterday’s meeting and listened to criticism, today they disappeared, and everyone knows “one more left.”
According to Mr. Tuan, witnessing the scene of people leaving, the artist Tran Van Trach summarized with a simple sentence: “In Vietnam, the lamp post also wants to leave.”
Mr. Trach was the younger brother of Professor Tran Van Khe. The two brothers were in two different directions: his brother was sympathetic to the northern authorities, and his brother followed the Republic of Vietnam in the South.
Mr. Tuan affirmed: “Those who left when Mr. Tran Van Trach said that sentence – also called ‘boat people“- would probably not return to Vietnam to settle down. They have stable life and economic status, their children and grandchildren all have a decent education and they also have a stable life. I could not think of any reason why they should return to Vietnam to live.
If someone go back to Vietnam, maybe due to family circumstances or met difficulties in finding jobs. But I think the number of people in trouble on this side is certainly not much.
I know there are many who left at that time, but so far have not returned in Vietnam, and they will never return to Vietnam under the current conditions. For them, there is no return to the home country.”
At the same time, he cited the current situation of people leaving the country after nearly 35 years of “innovation.” In Australia alone, from 2014 to 2018, more than 5,000 people from Vietnam settled to Australia each year . This includes skilled migrants (about 1600-2000 per year) and reunions (3200-3500 per year). If counting from 2000 to present, the number of Vietnamese who left the country to Australia may be nearly 100,000. That’s a number in Australia, and the numbers of Vietnamese in the US and Canada could be even more.
He added: “There are quite a number of Vietnamese state officials leaving the country after getting retired. Some friends joked that there was an “deputy minister village” in Australia. Residents in this village probably have no plan to return to Vietnam.
He cited a “general trend and almost a law: Those who leave Vietnam are mostly talented (as Australian statistics show), and those who return can certainly not compare with those who leave. Because if you are good outside, you will not willing to return to Vietnam. Good students will not like to return to Vietnam, where the 5C (grandchildren of senior officials) or COCC (descendants of key officials) are numerous. Saying that to see Vietnam has nothing to be proud of the ‘returnees’.”
He made an ironic prediction: “Certainly this statement may bring humor for clients of cafeterias in Litle Saigon in Southern California, Ballaire in Houston, District 13 in Paris, and Footscray and Cabramatta in Australia“
Journalist Manh Kim from the US stated his comments on the Facebook messenger application: “The Prime Minister’s statement proved his absurdity, like other statements in the past.”
“How can the overseas Vietnamese community leave the US and return to their home country due to Covid-19 or temporary difficulties? What about their properties and children who are educated with modern education systems.”
Not only property, Vietnamese people in the United States also cannot and never accept to reject a democratic politics to return to Vietnam to accept living in a dictatorial regime in which they will have no right to freedom of expression like they have in the US.
There is a clear difference that there is no need to prove the entitlement between an American citizen (US citizen) and Vietnamese citizen (holding a passport of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam); not to mention the social security benefits that are enjoyed…”
According to data from the Ministry of Justice of Vietnam, 4,474 people renounced Vietnamese nationality in 2015. According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, it is estimated that between 1990 and 2015, 2.6 million Vietnamese citizens left the country to live in a developed countries. On average, nearly 100,000 people leave the country each year.
Radio for Free Asia (RFA) said that the figure of the Migration Policy Institute shows that in 1980, the number of Vietnamese residing in the US was 231,000; up to 988,000 in 2000 and 1,343,000 in 2017.
Regarding international students, the latest figure updated in March 2019 by the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System is 30,684 Vietnamese students studying in the US at all levels, an increase of 3% compared to August 2018. Many of them are princelings of key leaders of the Communist Party of Vietnam, including the son of Hanoi People’s Committee Chairman Nguyen Duc Chung.
Another paradoxical phenomenon with the Prime Minister’s statement is that there are many state officials sent to study in foreign countries but they have refused to return to the home country as they pledged but staying in the host countries. In a number of cases, they are ready to pay compensations worth billions of VND so they can stay after their study ends.