34 years ago, 5 am on February 17, 1979, Deng Xiao Ping orderd the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to invade Vietnam with 400,000 troops in response to the Vietnamese military reprisal against Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouges’ repeated incursions in the Southwest border of Vietnam. Vietnamese People’s Army overran the Khmer Rouges in less than 2 weeks. Deng Xiao Ping wanted to protect the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot’s regime by invading Vietnam with full force in hope to force Vietnam’s regular army to withdraw from Cambodia and to defend Chinese invasion.
Vietnam’s authorities refused to withdraw the troops from Cambodia in order to reinforce the northern border being invaded by Chinese PLA, only 100,000 regular forces and 150,000 militia troops had to fight heroically to defend the country. In less than a month, the intended lesson that Chinese master wanted to teach Vietnamese student got a lesson from the student. Chinese side was inflicted with heavy loss and casualities: 26,000 killed, 37,000 wounded and 420 tanks destroyed, whereas Vietnamese also suffered similar loss: 30,000 killed, 32,000 wounded and 185 tanks destroyed. The border skirmishes continued until 1990.
China may have helped Vietnamese communists during the war against the Americans with 4,000 casualties. This did not give Chinese leaders the right to inflict Vietnam with another invasion, which was the 17th invasion by China since Vietnam regained its independence from China in 938. Any good deed of military and financial assistance from the red China during the wars against the French and Americans would have evaporated with this invasion. 30,000 casualties and 32,000 wounded were worth than any assistance that the communist China may have provided to the communist Vietnam.
Unfortunately, after the normalization between Communist Party of China (CPC) and Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) in 1990, the sacrifices of those Vietnamese soldiers have been neglected into the oblivion by the Party and the State of Vietnam. No official commemoration have been held nor media coverage was given to tout the heroism of Vietnam’s People Army. The CPV just sold out the Vietnam’s People Army in order to appease China.
On the other hands, after the normalization with the Americans in 1995, the CPV continues to celebrate the military campaign events during the war such as the so-called Dien Bien Phu-Air Victory, the Tet offensive and the Paris Peace Accords. The CPV disregards the fact that America and western countries have provided good home for Vietnamese refugees who escaped an oppressive regime. These 4 million overseas Vietnamese have been sending billions of dollars to Vietnam to help the people and the country. In 2012, Vietnam received $10 remittance. The nation should be grateful to the diaspora’s contributions.
A true patriotic and responsible government and regime would be thankful to the Vietnamese diaspora and their adoptive homelands. However, the CPV has always seen Vietnamese diaspora as a potential threat to the regime due to their appreciation of the real meaning of human rights and democracy.
Vietnam People’s Army (VPA) has been serving for the special interest of the Party since the day of its inception. The People’s Army is supposed to be “born from people, for people to fight and for people to serve.” However, the People’s Army has been under direct control of Central Military Commission of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam. Recently, the revised constitution draft demands that VPA pledge formally absolute allegiance to the Party ahead of the people and nation. This reminds of the allegiance oath that German Wehrmacht had to make to Hitler.
Today, some patriots and intelligentsia across the big cities wanted to pay private tributes to the sacrifices of the soldiers at the public monuments and statues. These people including retired high-ranking officials like former minister of Justice, Mr. Nguyễn Đình Lộc, former general and ambassador to China Mr. Nguyễn Trọng Vĩnh, and others were prevented from entering to the Martyr Monument Square in Hanoi by the security and the police forces.
You know that how your future would be if you had to serve against foreign ennemies. Your sacrifices would be in vain and into the oblivion.
You are the army of the people and from the people. You are supposed to the protect the regime’s motto: “Independence, Freedom, Happiness.” Vietnamese elders were not even able to come close to the public monuments to lay wreaths and take pictures to pay respect to the service of brothers-in-arms.
You are the young and heroic army of the people, can you still stand by to see the injustices inflicted on the martyrs and on the people that you are supposed to belong to and serve?
It is time for you to stand up to the yoke of the Communist Party of Vietnam and stand with the people. Can you hear the outcry of the ordinary citizens? It is time that 4 millions who had died in the wars for independence would not have become a waste.