The Red Chinese Colonization of North Vietnam

Did you know that the Communist Chinese colonized North Vietnam? That is what the Vietnam Press (Việt Nam Thông Tấn Xã) in South Vietnam reported in 1960.

The report was a summary of a bulletin which had been published by the Association for International Policy Study and Information (AIPSI), an organization which I have never heard of before.

According to the report from Vietnam Press, Red China was taking various steps to “gobble up” North Vietnam, including helping to establish a Communist regime in the North, providing economic aid, and “colonization.”

I was particularly curious to know how the Communist Chinese were “colonizing” North Vietnam in the 1950s. This is what the Vietnam Press reported:

“In late 1954, Haiphong was visited by Chinese engineers who took over control of the Post and Telegraph Office, the harbor, and the cement plants. Now Haiphong is a Chinese town where the Vietnamese are working for Chinese ‘technicians.’

The following year Nam Dinh and its cotton weaving mills suffered the same fate. The open mines of Hong Hai and Kampha fell successively into Chinese hands.

Now Red China is sending equipment and spare parts to help the Viet Cong set up plants, under the supervision of Chinese engineers and foremen. Those plants are operating under Chinese management.”

The Vietnam Press report goes on to cite the AIPSI bulletin to say that “The (North) Vietnamese, a colonized people, are victims of the most ruthless exploitation.”

I wrote a post a while ago (here) about a scholar from the North’s view of Vietnamese-Chinese historical relations that was written in 1954. It is extremely “pro-Chinese.” In the article the author also makes some derogatory comments about the people in the South, referring to the rulers there as a “gang of traitors.”

I wish someone would study about the discourses about China in the South and North in this period. It’s very complex, and very interesting.

Just to make one small observation, it’s fascinating that an organization which was officially called (in perfect Chinese word order) the Việt Nam Thông Tấn Xã (越南通信社) could criticize North Vietnam for being colonized by the Chinese.

Yes, Communist China exerted a strong influence over North Vietnam in the 1950s, but at the same time that this was happening, an effort was underway to “de-Sinicize” the Vietnamese language and culture.

Meanwhile, the South was not under the direct influence of China (be that the PRC or ROC), as the North was, and yet the language and culture there maintained many elements which clearly were Chinese in origin.

So which of the two Vietnams was “colonized” by “China” in the 1950s? I think the answer to that question might depend on where one looks, in factories or minds, but it is a fascinating topic which I wish someone would examine.

The rest of this report is below.

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