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Ho Chi Minh in China/HK


Ian_Lee

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Since so many fellow posters show interest in the relationship between Guangdong and Vietnam, maybe they are also very interested in Ho Chi Minh.

Even though Ho was a widely recognized Vietnamese patriot, (Ho was famous in his speech of 1945 that he would rather tolerate some more years of French colonial rule than another 1,000 year Chinese rule), he was also very sinicized.

Ho had a Cantonese wife and his Chinese poems were much well-versed than those of Kim Il-Sung.

In mid-1920s, Ho (known as Nguyen Ai Quoc by that time -- Nguyen the patriot) was a dual member of CCP and KMT. He worked at the Farmers' Movement Training Center set up by Mao at the north side of Guangzhou.

When Chiang Kai Shek started the big purge within KMT in Shanghai in 1927, Ho and his Vietnamese comrades in Guangzhou felt the earthshake and decided to flee to HK.

However, Ho's whereabout was traced by the French agents in Hong Kong from the group photo that he took with Sun Yat Sen in Guangzhou.

In 1930, Vietnam's Communist Party was formed in Hong Kong and its first party conference was held in an old apartment building in Kowloon. (Compared with the CCP first party conference building in Shanghai which is well-preserved, the Kowloon building had long been demolished.)

In 1931, the British police in HK was tipped by the French and arrested Ho.

Ho faced the fate of deportation to French Indochina which meant possibly death.

But fortunately there was a British Human Rights lawyer, F.H. Loseby, who volunteered to defend Ho at no charge. After 9 rounds of court trial, Ho was set free.

If Loseby Esq. minded his own business at that time, probably Asian history would have been rewritten!

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liuzhou

Ho Chi Minh was detained by the Kuomintang police in Guangxi in 1942. The communist parties of Vietnam and China made concerted efforts to rescue him. After Ho was released in September 1943, he lived in Liuzhou, Guangxi (Liushi Road) for one year. His residence was restored in 2002 and is now a museum. He returned during the Vietnam war for meetings with Zhou Enlai, which took place in Liuzhou Hotel (Liuzhou Fandian.)

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Recently I read a book mentioning that Ho Chi Minh unnecessarily brought the French back after WWII.

The principal reason that Ho didn't reject the coming back of French was because he would prefer the French to the Chinese to stay in Vietnam.

Even though Chiang Kai-Shek was delegated by Allied Supreme Commander General MacArthur to accept the Japanese surrender in the region North of 17 degree in Vietnam, did Chiang have the ambition or intention to let his troops stay behind in Vietnam?

Most likely NO.

If Chiang had such intention, he would have not agreed to the clause of making Korea into an independent country after WWII in the Cairo Declaration in 1943.

If Chiang had no territorial interest in China's former tributary Korea, why would he have it in Vietnam?

Moreover, right after WWII, KMT fully devoted its elite troops into Manchuria in Civil War with CCP.

General MacArthur invited Chiang to send troops to station in Japan and Chiang refused. Would Chiang be interested to station troops in Vietnam? I seriously doubt him.

Moreover, FDR was against the colonialism of British and French and seriously urged Churchill and De Gaulle to let free their overseas colonies.

If Ho packaged himself and his party purely as nationalist like Gandhi did, probably he would gain Vietnam's independence much earlier without bloodshed.

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:nono Ho Chi Minh did not "bring back" the French to Vietnam, it was De Gaulle's will to reestablish French domination in Indochina which made the French send Leclerc and his 2nd armored Division (the one that liberated Paris) to reoccupy Vietnam in 1945.

:nono It was at the Potsdam Conference in July 1945,that the Allies agreed that the Chinese would accept the surrender of the Japanese in Indochina north of the 16°N parallel and the British, south of that line.

(Ho Chi Minh of course did not take part in the decision, for he was not invited to Potsdam...De Gaulle was not invited either)

:nono Jiang JieShi did not send his own troops, but ordered Yunnan's warlord Luhan to occupy Northern Vietnam. That was a "Three-Kingdoms-like" move to get rid of a warlord and to seize his fiefdom.

See this link:

http://www.drugtext.org/library/books/McCoy/book/29.htm

"At the end of World War II Lu Han (Yunnan warlord) had been ordered to occupy northern Indochina for the Allies while British forces moved into the southern sector. Eager for plunder, Lu Han sent his ragged divisions into Tonkin, where they ravaged the countryside like a plague of locusts. To satiate Lu Han's greed and win his tolerance for the Nationalist movement, Premier Ho Chi Minh organized a "Gold Week" from September 16 to 23, 1945. Viet Minh cadres scoured every village, collecting rings, earrings, and coins from patriotic peasants...

During Lu Han's absence, Chiang sent two of his divisions to occupy Yunnan. When the Chinese withdrew from Indochina in early June 1946, Chiang ordered Lu Han's best troops to their death on the northern front against the Chinese Communists, reducing the warlord to the status of guarded puppet inside his own fiefdom"

See this link for this highly complex period of Vietnam History:

http://countrystudies.us/vietnam/22.htm

It took all Ho Chi Minh's political and diplomatical genius (at that time, Vietnamese army was too weak) to be able to deal with Lu Han and Leclerc, to drive away Lu Han and make the French accept the existence of a new Vietnam. It was the French refusal to accept the unity of Vietnam which lead to the war.

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Nnt:

Ho Chi Minh did not "bring back" the French to Vietnam

You are right. But actually I only wrote Ho didn't reject the coming back of French.

It was at the Potsdam Conference in July 1945,that the Allies agreed that the Chinese would accept the surrender of the Japanese in Indochina north of the 16°N parallel and the British, south of that line.

I am afraid you are wrong on this aspect. Potsdam Declaration was quite general and did not specify who and who was going to accept Japanese surrender at whatever region on the end of WWII. Read script of Potsdam Declaration:

http://www.ndl.go.jp/constitution/e/etc/c06.html

On the other hand, Chiang Kai Shek was delegated by the Allied Supreme Commander General MacArthur on Japanese surrender in the China Theater and northern half of Vietnam under General Order One . Read:

http://www.taiwandocuments.org/surrender05.htm

Jiang JieShi (Chiang) did not send his own troops, but ordered Yunnan's warlord Luhan to occupy Northern Vietnam

Throughut the 22 year KMT reign on Mainland, its attribute was "Cliques and Cliques" within the party. Chiang could only maneuvre between various cliques. His elite troops were disciplined but hardly were those of other cliques. Many Chinese cities faced the same plight as North Vietnam did at 1945. Many Chinese teased such act by non-elite KMT troops as "Rob/Recover".

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I just reacted to this:

Recently I read a book mentioning that Ho Chi Minh unnecessarily brought the French back after WWII.

Point 9 in the Potsdam declaration

(9) The Japanese military forces, after being completely disarmed, shall be permitted to return to their homes with the opportunity to lead peaceful and productive lives

contained the reason for the Allies (the French were not invited) to send troops to disarm Japanese troops (the far away from home guys)... and there were Japanese troops in Indochina.

About American involvement at that period, you can see this link:

http://www.vwam.com/vets/early2.html

The war on the Asian mainland had been divided into two theaters. The Southeast Asia Command (SEAC) was formed in 1943 under British control. The China theater had been established in 1942, under Chinese command, acting in consultation with the U.S. China mission headed after 1944 by General Albert C. Wedemeyer. Indochina had been placed in the China theater in 1942, but when the British established SEAC, they argued that Indochina should be shifted to its jurisdiction. U.S. intelligence reported that the British planned to refuse cooperation with any native organizations in VietNam and to aid only the French. It was clear that Britain wanted wartime control of Indochina in order to restore the colony to France at the conclusion of hostilities.

Roosevelt was not deceived. He ordered that under no circumstances should any aid be accorded French forces Indochina consulted about the area's postwar future. The dispute between the U.S. and Britain over command jurisdiction in Indochina was not fully resolved until the Potsdam Conference in 1945, but an interim agreement worked out whereby the action in Indochina after first clearing its plans with the China command. At Potsdam, Britain's claims were partially conceded. To supervise the approaching Japanese surrender, Indochina was to be divided at the sixteenth parallel, British forces stationed south of the line and the Chinese occupying the northern portion.

True, Jiang was more realistic than Roosevelt concerning Indochina:

While Roosevelt was doing his best to prevent a return of the French to VietNam, he was also developing alternative plans for Indochina. One of his first proposals was to place VietNam under Chinese control. Chiang Kai-shek had not been known for his restraint during the course of wartime diplomacy, but in this instance he struck a rare note of realism. when asked if he wanted to govern Indochina, he replied, 'Under no circumstances." He then added, "'They are not Chinese. They would not assimilate into the Chinese people." Two thousand years of Vietnamese history had taught him a lesson that the French were soon to learn at a heavy cost.

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Nnt:

Of course Chiang had no territorial ambition in Vietnam. Neither had Mao. Nor have any modern Chinese leaders.

That is why I wonder how come Ho Chi Minh would have said that he preferred several more years of French rule rather than thousand years of Chinese rule.

The last time Vietnam was still a Chinese territory was in the early Ming period -- about late 14th and early 15th century.

For the subsequent 600 years, no Chinese regimes had ever claimed Vietnam as part of Chinese territory. Both China and Vietnam had co-existed more or less peacefully for most of the time. Vietnam had become China's tributary for part of the period. But those Chinese Emperors hardly interfered in the internal politics of Vietnam and in fact when France tried to colonize Indo-China in the late 19th Century, China even sent expeditionary force to aid Vietnam at the latter's request.

So I don't understand why Ho Chi Minh was so paranoid about China.

I also don't understand why so many history books depict Sino-Vietnamese relationship as eternal rivalries.

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Lu Han's 200000-men army (see my reply above) was a real threat (and not just a threat), not fantasies. It was a good relief for Vietnamese to (peacefully) drive them away, though with some help from the French (theoretically Jiang's and Lu Han's "allies").

Of course, LuHan's army cannot be considered as representatives of China's people. The situation in China and Vietnam was complex enough, and Vietnamese leaders at that time were too much aware of what was going on in the world to consider all Chinese people were like LuHan's clique.

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Why was ho chi min anti-chinese when he himself married a chinese ? And his kids are also half chinese. Maybe his ancestors himself was part chinese during the 1000 years rule as there were a lot of intermarriage.

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That is why I wonder how come Ho Chi Minh would have said that he preferred several more years of French rule rather than thousand years of Chinese rule.

Because the age of colonialism was over and French would leave but China would be always a great power just living next door. Very hard to stand on your own feet and resist forein interferences for countries like Vietnam, isn't it?

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I would not say Ho Chi Minh as anti-Chinese. But definitely he was a nationalist before he was a Communist.

Actually if you compare the history of Vietnam and Korea, you would find very striking similarities and differences.

Both countries have been tributaries of dynastic China until the late 19th Century. And before that, both countries were parts of China and later fought for their independence. But these events dated back 600 years ago (Vietnam) and 1,300 years ago (Korea).

Both countries directly or indirectly involved war with PRC in a larger scale (Korea) or a smaller scale (Vietnam).

Even though Korea (South) was traumatized to a much larger degree due to the involvement of PRC in the war, there was almost absolutely no anti-Chinese feeling. There has been large scale anti-US demonstration or anti-Japan demonstration in Seoul, but hardly any anti-China demonstration.

And hardly in any official or unofficial interview or poll, is there any suggestion that China is Korea's enemy.

But strangely even though the Sino-Vietnam border skirmish lasted just for merely 2 weeks in 1979, numerous official and unofficial interviews hint that China is Vietnam's eternal enemy.

And barely anyone remembers how Vietnam was helped by PRC during the decades long war against the French and the Americans.

So why the drastic difference in attitudes?

Here is my guess:

For Korea, they understand that if there will be any threat in the future, most likely it will not come from China. So even though dynastic China and PRC had/have been pretty arrogant towards them, the Koreans understand that China is not a threat.

For Vietnam, they also understand that China is not a threat. But Vietnam, which considers Laos and Cambodia as its sphere of influence, really don't like China to extend its influence in that region.

So when they mean threat from China, probably they mean threat to their own intent to extend.

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If any nation were to claim laos, it would be thailand as that land once belonged to thailand until the europeans split it apart. Most of the laos people speak a form of thai dialect.

As for cambodia, still controversial.

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