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Remembering a forgotten war: The Vietnamese state, war veterans and the commemoration of the Sino-Vietnamese War (1979–89)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 November 2022

Abstract

This article argues that in the last few years the Vietnamese state and the Vietnamese Communist Party have upgraded the commemoration of a Sino-Vietnamese War (1979–89) that had fallen into oblivion after the normalisation of Sino-Vietnamese relations in 1991. The first part of the article analyses the way in which Vietnam officially commemorated the 40th anniversary of the outbreak of the war against China in 2019. Vietnamese authorities such as the Department of Propaganda and Edcuation stepped up the commemoration of the war, but in comparison with that of the war against the Pol Pot regime it was much more subdued and low-key. The second part of the article shows that the veterans of the Vị Xuyên battle in Hà Giang province where fierce battles had taken place between 1984 and 1989 have actively shaped the commemoration of the war by organising commemorative activities on the old battlefield and reaching out to state media and social media. This highlights the significance of ‘agents of remembrance’ in Vietnam who, along with the official Vietnamese ‘memory machine’, also make important contributions to the commemoration of the past.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The National University of Singapore, 2022

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Footnotes

I would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers and my colleague Christopher Goscha for all their useful and helpful comments on my manuscript. I also thank the College of Humanities, Seoul National University, for giving me a generous grant from the Research Resettlement Fund for new faculty members, which made this research project possible. My thanks also go to the Institute of Vietnamese Studies and Development Sciences, Vietnam National University, that provided the necessary institutional support during my research in Vietnam. I am especially grateful to my wife, Ngô Thị Bích Thu, and her family in Hanoi, who helped me tremendously during my field trip in Vietnam in 2019. Last but not least, I thank the Hà Giang veterans who shared their information and experiences with me.

References

1 In this article I use the terms ‘First Indochina War’ (1945–54) and ‘Second Indochina War’ (1964–75) instead of First or Second ‘Vietnam War’ to emphasise that the whole of Indochina was a battlefield during both wars.

2 For an overview of Sino-Vietnamese relations during the First and Second Indochina wars see Zhai, Qiang, China and the Vietnam Wars, 1950–1975 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000)Google Scholar. On the Sino-Vietnamese War, see the classic studies by Chanda, Nayan, Brother enemy: The war after the war (London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1988)Google Scholar; and Chen, King C., China's war with Vietnam, 1979: Issues, decisions, and implications (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1987)Google Scholar; O'Dowd, Edward, Chinese military strategy in the Third Indochina War (London: Routledge, 2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; The Third Indochina War: Conflict between China, Vietnam and Cambodia, 1972–79, ed. Odd Arne Westad and Sophie Quinn-Judge (London: Routledge, 2006). For a good overview of the literature on the War, see Yin, Q. and Path, K., ‘Remembering and forgetting the last war: Discursive memory of the Sino-Vietnamese War in China and Vietnam’, TRaNS: Trans-Regional and -National Studies of Southeast Asia, 9, 1 (2020): 23Google Scholar. For a typical official Vietnamese-language work published during the low point of relations between Hanoi and Beijing and thus full of derogatory terms for China, see Sự thật về quan hệ Việt Nam—Trung Quốc trong 30 năm qua [The truth of relations between Vietnam and China in the last 30 years] (Hanoi: NXB Sự thật, 1979).

3 On Sino-Vietnamese relations and the flare-up of anti-Chinese nationalism in Vietnam see Dien Nguyen An Luong, ‘The growing salience of online Vietnamese nationalism’, Trends in Southeast Asia, no. 11 (Singapore: ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, 2021); Wang, Frances Yaping and Womack, Brantly, ‘Jawing through crises: Chinese and Vietnamese media strategies in the South China Sea’, Journal of Contemporary China 28, 119 (2019): 712–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Morris-Jung, Jason, The Vietnamese bauxite controversy: Towards a more oppositional politics, Journal of Vietnamese Studies 10, 1 (2015): 63109CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Hoang, Phuong, ‘Domestic protests and foreign policy: An examination of anti-China protests in Vietnam and Vietnamese policy towards China regarding the South China Sea’, Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs 6, 1 (2019): 129CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

4 Đoan Trang, ‘Những bài ca biên giới không thể nào quên’ [Unforgettable songs about the border], Nhịp cầu Thế giới, 16 Feb. 2009, http://nhipcauthegioi.hu/Van-hoa/NHUNG-BAI-CA-BIEN-GIOI-KHONG-THE-NAO-QUEN-1767.html (last accessed 8 Jan. 2020); Dân Trí, ‘Nhìn lại chiến tranh biên giới 1979 qua các tác phẩm điện ảnh’ [Looking back to the war of 1979 through movies], Petrotimes, 16 Feb. 2019, https://petrotimes.vn/nhin-lai-chien-tranh-bien-gioi-1979-qua-cac-tac-pham-dien-anh-528045.html (last accessed 7 Jan. 2020). There is even evidence that the Vietnamese leaders had assured their Chinese counterparts at an earlier meeting in September 1990 in Chengdu (Thành Đô) that they would play down the commemoration of the border war in the media in future. For details, see Grossheim, Martin, ‘Đổi Mới in the classroom? How national and world history are portrayed in Vietnamese textbooks’, SOJOURN: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia 33, 1 (2018): 163CrossRefGoogle Scholar. On the meeting at Chengdu, see also Dương Danh Y, ‘Hậu quả tai hại của Hội nghị Thành Đô’ [The disastrous consequences of the conference in Chengdu], BBC Vietnamese, 25 Oct. 2014, https://www.bbc.com/vietnamese/forum-45580658 (last accessed 10 Jan. 2020). See also Benedict J. Kerkvliet, Tria, Speaking out in Vietnam: Public political criticism in a Communist Party-ruled nation (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2019), p. 74CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

5 In this article, I have deliberately chosen the term ‘Sino-Vietnamese War’ to refer to the event and combatants. This war was part of the Third Indochina War, which also included the war between Cambodia and Vietnam. On the commemoration of the first two Indochina Wars, see Shaun Kingsley, ‘The fatherland remembers your sacrifice: Commemorating war dead in North Vietnam’, in The country of memory: Remaking the past in late socialist Vietnam, ed. Hue-Tam Ho Tai (Berkeley: University of California Press), pp. 46–76; and Edward Miller, ‘Across the Pacific and back to Vietnam: Transnational legacies and memories of the Vietnam War’, in Asia Pacific in the age of globalization, ed. Akira Iriye and Robert David Johnson (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), pp. 172–84.

6 Huy Đức, ‘Biên giới Tháng hai (2009-1979)’ [The border in Feb. (2009–1979), Facebook, Osin HuyDuc, 15 Feb. 2011, https://vi-vn.facebook.com/notes/truong-huy-san/bi%C3%AAn-gi%E1%BB%9Bi-th%C3%A1ng-hai-2009-1979/189934721029764/ (last accessed 7 July 2020).

7 Dương Danh Y, ‘Nhớ lại đêm 17 tháng 2 năm 1979’ [Remembering the night of 17 Feb. 1979], BBC Vietnamese, 18 Feb. 2009; https://www.bbc.com/vietnamese/indepth/story/2009/02/090216_duongdanhdy.shtml (last accessed 10 Jan. 2020).

8 See for example, Anonymous, ‘Remembering a forgotten war’, Thanh Niên, 23 Feb. 2013, http://www.thanhniennews.com/society/remembering-a-forgotten-war-3449.html (last accessed 1 Mar. 2017); and Anonymous, ‘Vietnam remembers martyrs of 1984 border war’, Thanh Niên, 15 July 2013, http://www.thanhniennews.com/politics/vietnam-remembers-martyrs-of-1984-border-war-1844.html (last accessed 17 July 2020).

9 See Lai, Christina, ‘A coercive brotherhood: Sino-Vietnamese relations from the 1990s to 2018’, Journal of Contemporary China 29, 123 (2020): 479–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

10 Vũ Dương Ninh, the editor of one of the history textbooks that had only reserved 11 lines for the military conflict, said in an interview that he was contacted personally by Vietnamese readers and criticised for this inadequate coverage (Vũ Dương Ninh, interviewed by the author, 21 June 2019); see Grossheim, ‘“Đổi Mới” in the classroom’, p. 167. More recent criticism of the way in which the war is presented in Vietnamese history textbooks can be found in Quốc Phong, ‘Chúng ta vẫn còn biết rất ít về cuộc chiến tranh biên giới ấy’ [We still only know a bit about that border war], Dân Việt, 17 Feb. 2020, http://danviet.vn/kinh-da-trong/danh-bai-60-van-quan-xam-luoc-khong-the-chi-la-cuoc-chien-dau-bao-ve-bien-gioi-1059623.html (last accessed 20 Feb. 2020).

11 Grossheim, ‘“Đổi Mới” in the classroom’, pp. 166–9. Phạm Hồng Tung, director of the Institute of Vietnamese Studies and Development Sciences, Vietnam National University, promised that the new school history textbooks would cover the Sino-Vietnamese War adequately; see Phạm Hồng Tung 2019, ‘Chiến tranh biên giới 1979 được dạy thế nào trong chương trình mới’ [How the border war of 1979 is presented in the new curriculum], Zing News, 15 Feb. 2019, https://news.zing.vn/chien-tranh-bien-gioi-1979-duoc-day-the-nao-trong-chuong-trinh-moi-post916438.html (last accessed 17 July 2020).

12 Tùng Đinh and Ngọc Anh, ‘Báo Trung Quốc tung video dối trá cuộc chiến 1979, tướng Lê Mã Lương: ‘Tôi còn lạ gì’ [A Chinese newspaper spreads a video lying about the war in 1979; General Lê Mã Lương: ‘I am not surprised at all.’], VTC, 6 Mar. 2015 (last accessed 7 Mar. 2015).

13 VTC1, ‘Vì sao Trung Quốc phát động chiến tranh xâm lược Việt Nam 1979’ [Why the Chinese launched the war of invasion against Vietnam in 1979], YouTube video, 5 Mar. 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Brhnj4oQ8mE (last accessed 21 Sept. 2020); and VTC1, ‘Gian nan hành trình tìm hài cốt chiến sỹ vùng biên ải’ [A hard journey to find the remains of the border soldiers], VTC1 Documentary, 26 July 2017, https://vtc.vn/truyen-hinh/gian-nan-hanh-trinh-tim-hai-cot-chien-sy-vung-bien-ai-ar338398.html (last accessed 21 Sept. 2020).

14 Personal observation.

15 Đức Hoàng, ‘Chiến tranh biên giới 1979. Không sợ kẻ thù, chỉ sợ lãng quên’ [The border war of 1979: Not fearing the enemy, only fearing oblivion], VnExpress, 17 Feb. 2017, https://vnexpress.net/interactive/2017/cuoc-chien-khong-the-quen (last accessed 20 Apr. 2017).

16 Doan Xuan Loc, ‘Breaking a taboo, Hanoi recalls war with China’, Asia Times, 23 Feb. 2017, https://asiatimes.com/2017/02/breaking-taboo-vietnam-recalls-war-china/ (last accessed 17 July 2020); David Hutt, ‘Vietnam's new view of an old war’, Asia Times, 20 Feb. 2019, https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/02/article/vietnams-new-view-of-an-old-war/ (last accessed 20 May 2020).

17 See Martin Grossheim, Celebrating the socialist past: The Vietnamese “memory machine” at work’, Journal of Humanities (Seoul) 77, 2 (2020): 327–56, on the term ‘memory machine’, its origin and its inner workings in Vietnam.

18 Hue-Tam Ho Tai, ‘Introduction: Situating memory’, in The country of memory, p. 7. On the term ‘agents of remembrance’, see Winter, Jay and Sivan, Emmanuel, ‘Setting the framework’, in War and remembrance in the twentieth century, ed. Winter, J. and Sivan, E. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), pp. 339CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Jay Winter, ‘Forms of kinship and remembrance in the aftermath of the Great War’, in ibid., pp. 40–60. I challenge the view presented in Yin and Path, ‘Remembering and forgetting’, p. 15, that ‘[t]he Vietnamese state has ensured that no other actors besides the party-state dominate the space of memorialising the 1979 war’.

19 The classic study is Hue-Tam Ho Tai, The country of memory, which includes chapters on different aspects of the commemoration of Vietnamese history. For a good overview of the way socialist Vietnam makes use of history, see Christoph Giebel, ‘Revolution, war, and memory in contemporary Viet Nam: An assessment and agenda’, in Ruptured histories: War, memory, and the post-Cold War in Asia, ed. Sheila Miyoshi Jager and Rana Mitter (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007), pp. 307–21; and the more detailed monograph by Patricia M. Pelley, Postcolonial Vietnam: New histories of the national past (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002).

20 See Schwenkel, Christina, The American War in contemporary Vietnam: Transnational remembrance and representation (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009)Google Scholar; and Thanh, Viet Nguyen, Nothing ever dies: Vietnam and the memory of war (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2016)Google Scholar, for example, which also analyse the transnational dimension of war memory.

21 See Malarney, ‘The fatherland remembers your sacrifice’; Malarney, Shaun K., Culture, ritual, and revolution in Vietnam (London: Routledge, 2002)Google Scholar; and Kwon, Heonik, After the massacre: Commemoration and consolation in Ha My and My Lai (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar. On the cult of war heroes, which is closely linked to the memory of war dead in Vietnam, see Tréglodé, Benoît de, Heroes and revolution in Vietnam (Singapore: NUS Press; IRASEC, 2012)Google Scholar.

22 For a comparison between the commemoration of the war in China and Vietnam, see Yin and Path, ‘Remembering and forgetting the last war’.

23 Grossheim, ‘Celebrating the socialist past’, pp. 329–30. Evans, Richard J., ‘Introduction: Redesigning the past: History in political transitions’, Journal of Contemporary History 38, 1 (2003): 512CrossRefGoogle Scholar, provides a good overview of how authoritarian regimes have tried to monopolise and control the representation of the past.

24 Quỳnh Vinh, ‘Ngành Tuyên giáo phải là lực lượng nòng cốt đấu tranh ngăn chặn tin xấu, độc’ [The Propaganda and Education branch must be the core force in the struggle to stop fake and poisonous news], Công an nhân dân Online, 23 Dec. 2019, http://cand.com.vn/Su-kien-Binh-luan-thoi-su/Nganh-Tuyen-giao-phai-la-luc-luong-nong-cot-dau-tranh-ngan-chan-tin-xau-doc-575230/ (last accessed 18 May 2020). This is in line with Central Committee Resolution No. 4 from 2016, which demanded ideological rectification of the VCP and propagated the struggle against the ‘self-evolution’ of Party cadres. See Ban Chấp hành Trưng ương Đảng. Đảng Cộng sản Việt Nam, ‘Nghị quyết hội nghị lần thứ 4 Ban chấp hành Trung ương Đảng khóa XII về tăng cường xây dựng, chỉnh đốn Đảng; ngăn chặn, đẩy lùi sự suy thoái về tư tưởng chính trị, đạo đức, lối sống, những biểu hiện ‘tự diễn biến’, ‘tự chuyển hóa’ trong nội bộ’ [Resolution No. 4 of the Party Central Committee, Twelfth Term, on Strengthening the Building and Reorganisation of the Party: Preventing and Reversing the Decline in Political Ideas, Morals, and Lifestyle, and Internal Manifestations of ‘Self-Evolution’ and ‘Self-Transformation’], Tuổi Trẻ, 30 Oct. 2016, https://tuoitre.vn/toan-van-nghi-quyet-trung-uong-4-khoa-xii-1211059.htm (last accessed 3 Sept. 2019); Nguyễn Huy Hiệu and Trần Nam Chuân 2019, ‘Tăng cường bảo vệ nền tảng tư tưởng của Đảng, đấu tranh phản bác các quan điểm sai trái, thù địch trong tình hình mới’ [Strengthening the protection of the ideological basis of the Party: The struggle to refute wrong and hostile allegations in the new situation], Tuyên Giáo, 6 Dec. 2019, http://tuyengiao.vn/bao-ve-nen-tang-tu-tuong-cua-dang/tang-cuong-bao-ve-nen-tang-tu-tuong-cua-dang-dau-tranh-phan-bac-cac-quan-diem-sai-trai-thu-dich-trong-tinh-hinh-moi-125763 (last accessed 21 May 2020).

25 Ban Tuyên Giáo, ‘Hướng dẫn tuyên truyền, kỷ niệm các ngày lễ lớn và sự kiện lịch sử quan trọng trong năm 2019’ [Guidelines for propaganda in commemoration of the great anniversaries in 2019], Tuyên Giáo, 14 Dec. 2018, http://tuyengiao.vn/ban-can-biet/huong-dan-tuyen-truyen-ky-niem-cac-ngay-le-lon-va-su-kien-lich-su-quan-trong-trong-nam-2019-117309 (last accessed 11 Apr. 2019).

26 Another document available online provides a historical outline of the war to be propagated: UBND Thành Phố Hà Nội, ‘Đề cương tuyên truyền 40 năm Cuộc chiến đấu bảo vệ biên giới phía Bắc của Tổ quốc (17/02/1979–17/02/2019)’ [Outline for propaganda of 40 years of struggle to defend the northern border of the fatherland (17/2/1979–17/2/2019)], 14 Jan. 2019, http://hn-ams.edu.vn/en/node/32902 (last accessed 20 Jan. 2020).

27 Hải Phòng, ‘Kế hoạch tổ chức tuyên truyền, kỷ niệm 40 năm cuộc chiến đấu bảo vệ biên giới phía Bắc của Tổ quốc (17/02/1979–17/02/2019)’ [Plan to organise propaganda and the commemoration of 40 years of struggle to defend the northern border of the fatherland (17/2/1979–17/2/2019)], Haiphong.gov.vn, 25 Jan. 2019, http://www.haiphong.gov.vn/Portal/Detail.aspx?Organization=QLC_Pnn&MenuID=7174&ContentID=142054 (last accessed 6 Jan. 2020).

28 Nguyễn Đức Độ, ‘Cảnh giác với những luận điệu sai trái, lợi dụng cuộc chiến tranh biên giới phía Bắc để xuyên tạc, kích động chống phá’ [Being vigilant about wrong allegations: Misusing the war at the northern border to distort (and) incite subversion], Tổ Quốc, 15 Feb. 2019, http://toquoc.vn/canh-giac-voi-nhung-luan-dieu-sai-trai-loi-dung-cuoc-chien-tranh-bien-gioi-phia-bac-de-xuyen-tac-kich-dong-chong-pha-20190215092256847.htm (last accessed 7 Jan. 2020).

29 Ban Tuyên Giáo, ‘Hướng dẫn tuyên truyền’; and Ban Tuyên Giáo, ‘Đề cương tuyên truyền kỷ niệm 40 năm Ngày Chiến thắng chiến tranh, bảo vệ biên giới Tây Nam của Tổ quốc’ [Outline for propaganda in commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of the victory day of the war to defend the southwestern border of the fatherland], Tuyên Giáo, 14 Dec. 2018, http://tuyengiao.vn/ban-can-biet/de-cuong-tuyen-truyen-ky-niem-40-nam-ngay-chien-thang-chien-tranh-bao-ve-bien-gioi-tay-nam-cua-to-quoc-117308 (last accessed 18 May 2020).

30 Thảo Nguyễn and Trọng Hải, ‘Lễ kỷ niệm 40 năm Ngày chiến thắng chiến tranh bảo vệ biên giới Tây Nam của Tổ quốc và cùng quân dân Campuchia chiến thắng chế độ diệt chủng’ [Ceremony in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the victory day of the war to defend the southwestern border of the country and of the joint victory with Cambodian soldiers and civilians against the genocidal regime], Quân đội Nhân dân, 4 Jan. 2019, https://www.qdnd.vn/40nam-chien-thang-chien-tranh-bao-ve-bien-gioi-tay-nam/tin-tuc/le-ky-niem-40-nam-ngay-chien-thang-chien-tranh-bao-ve-bien-gioi-tay-nam-cua-to-quoc-va-cung-quan-dan-campuchia-chien-thang-che-do-diet-chung-559699 (last accessed 15 July 2020).

31 The Vietnamese Fatherland Front comprises all mass movements in Vietnam aligned with the VCP. Q. Vinh, P. Hoạt, and X. Trường, ‘Đảng, Nhà nước không bao giờ quên đồng bào, CBCS đã chiến đấu bảo vệ biên giới phía Bắc’ [The Party and the State will never forget that the compatriots and soldier-cadres have fought to defend the northern border], Công An Nhân dân, 23 Jan. 2019, http://cand.com.vn/Su-kien-Binh-luan-thoi-su/Dang-Nha-nuoc-khong-bao-gio-quen-dong-bao-CBCS-da-chien-dau-bao-ve-bien-gioi-phia-Bac-530608/ (last accessed 15 July 2020).

32 The Vietnamese Association of Historians wanted to organise a conference on the 35th anniversary of the war in 2014, but it was not allowed to do so. Instead of doing that, it decided to hold an alternative conference on the question of historical sites during the war—a topic that sounded much less sensitive than the war itself, which was still more or less anathema in 2014. The conference had to be organised on a much smaller scale and without inviting the mass media. Anonymous interview, Hanoi, July 2019.

33 Thái Bình, ‘Cuộc chiến đấu bảo vệ biên giới phía Bắc: 40 năm nhìn lại’ [The Struggle to Defend the Northern Border: Looking back after 40 years], T/c Cộng sản, 15 Feb. 2019, http://www.tapchicongsan.org.vn/Home/Thong-tin-ly-luan/2019/54155/Cuoc-chien-dau-bao-ve-bien-gioi-phia-Bac-40-nam-nhin.aspx (last accessed 11 Apr. 2019).

34 Phạm Hồng Tung, ‘Cuộc chiến biên giới Tây Nam trong chương trình phổ thông mới’ [War at the southwestern border in the new public school curriculum], Vnexpress, 10 Jan. 2019, https://vnexpress.net/giao-duc/cuoc-chien-bien-gioi-tay-nam-trong-chuong-trinh-pho-thong-moi-3864804.html (last accessed 20 May 2020).

35 Sơn Lâm, ‘Hồi ức về những năm tháng chiến đấu trên mặt trận Vị Xuyên’ [Recollections about the times at the Vị Xuyện battlefront], VOV, 15 Feb. 2019, https://vov.vn/xa-hoi/hoi-uc-ve-nhung-nam-thang-chien-dau-tren-mat-tran-vi-xuyen-875725.vov (last accessed 28 May 2019).

36 Interview, Vũ Dương Ninh, 21 June 2019.

37 AnNinhTV, ‘Kỷ niệm 40 năm cuộc chiến đấu bảo vệ biên giới phía Bắc của Tổ quốc’ [40th anniversary of the struggle to defend the northern border of the fatherland], YouTube video, 15 Feb. 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APyUd0Bt-d8 (last accessed 20 July 2020).

38 Ban Liên Lạc Cựu Chiến Binh Toàn Quốc Mặt Trận Vị Xuyên-Hà Tuyên, Letter to Thường trực Ban Bí thư Trung ương Đảng Cộng sản Việt Nam [Permanent Secretary of the Central Committee of the Vietnamese Communist Party], 16 Apr. 2019.

39 Interview with Major General Nguyễn Đức Huy, Hanoi, 8 July 2019.

40 Ban Liên Lạc Cựu Chiến Binh Toàn Quốc Mặt Trận Vị Xuyên-Hà Tuyên, Chiến thắng Vị Xuyên. Ký sự lịch sử: Văn học, Tập 1 [The victory of Vị Xuyên: Historical and literary chronicle, vol. 1] (Hà Giang: n.p., 2018); and Nguyễn Đức Lưỡng, ed., Sư đoàn 356 và ký ức Vị Xuyên [Division 356 and memories of Vị Xuyên] (Hanoi: NXB Dân Trí, 2018).

41 Lương Kết, ‘Vị tướng tuổi 90 và ‘Hồi ức chiến tranh Vị Xuyên’ vừa xuất bản’ [A 90-year-old general and his ‘Vị Xuyên War Memories’, which have just been published], Dân Việt, 16 Feb. 2020, http://danviet.vn/tin-tuc/vi-tuong-tuoi-90-va-hoi-uc-chien-tranh-vi-xuyen-vua-xuat-ban-1059213.html (last accessed 22 Feb. 2020).

42 Cuộc chiến đấu bảo vệ biên giới phía Bắc (1979–1989): Góc nhìn báo chí [The struggle to defend the northern border (1979–1989): From the perspective of the press], ed. Đồng Xuân Thu and Lê Quang Long (Hanoi: NXB Thông Tin và Truyền Thông, 2019).

43 Hoàng Huy, ‘Cuộc chiến đấu bảo vệ biên giới phía Bắc (1979–1989) - Góc nhìn báo chí’ [The struggle to defend the northern border (1979–1989): From the perspective of the press], Hội Nhà báo Việt Nam, 19 June 2019, http://hoinhabaovietnam.vn/Cuoc-chien-dau-bao-ve-bien-gioi-phia-Bac-1979--1989---Goc-nhin-bao-chi_n51154.html (last accessed 24 July 2020).

44 Interview, Vũ Dương Ninh, 21 June 2019.

45 Nguyễn Đức Huy, Hồi ức chiến tranh Vị Xuyên [Memoirs of the war in Vị Xuyên] (Hanoi: NXB Thông Tin và Truyền Thông, 2020).

46 Lương Kết, Vị tướng tuổi 90; and Anonymous, ‘Ký ức Vị Xuyên và tâm nguyện của vị Tướng già’ [Memories of Vị Xuyên and the wishes of an old general], Yên Bái Online, 17 Feb. 2020, http://www.baoyenbai.com.vn/11/188327/Ky_uc_Vi_Xuyen_va_tam_nguyen_cua_vi_Tuong_gia.aspx (last accessed 17 Feb. 2020).

47 See, for example, Hoàng Dân, ‘Ký ức chiến tranh năm 1979: Quân Trung Quốc cướp phá khiến cả TX Cao Bằng chỉ còn 1 ngôi nhà cấp 4’ [Remembering the war of 1979: The Chinese soldiers looted and destroyed the whole town of Cao Bằng so that only one house was left], Soha News, 16 Feb. 2019, http://soha.vn/ky-uc-chien-tranh-nam-1979-quan-trung-quoc-cuop-pha-khien-ca-tx-cao-bang-chi-con-1-ngoi-nha-cap-4-20190130080947781.htm (last accessed 11 Apr. 2019); Thanh Hòa, ‘40 năm Cuộc chiến đấu bảo vệ biên giới phía Bắc: Ký ức của những người trong cuộc’ [40 years of struggle to defend the northern border: Memories of insiders], T/c Cộng Sản, 17 Feb. 2019, http://www.tapchicongsan.org.vn/Home/An-ninh-quoc-phong/2019/54170/40-nam-Cuoc-chien-dau-bao-ve-bien-gioi-phia-Bac-Ky.aspx (last accessed 20 Feb. 2019).

48 VTC1, ‘Đó là cuộc chiến tranh xâm lược’ [That is a war of invasion], YouTube video, 5 Feb. 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v#NGdTfeMrDeM (last accessed 20 Aug. 2020); and VTV4, ‘Kỷ niệm 40 năm cuộc chiến đấu bảo vệ biên giới phía Bắc’ (English subtitles) [The 40th anniversary of the Struggle to Defend the Northern Border], YouTube video, 9 Mar. 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fG6TrWB0NQ (last accessed 21 Sept. 2020).

49 Hayton, Bill, The South China Sea: The struggle for power in Asia (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2014), p. 157CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

50 Lê Đức Sảo, ‘Chiến sĩ công an Lê Đình Chinh—người đầu tiên bị sát hại trong cuộc chiến bảo vệ biên giới 1979’ [The soldier and policeman Lê Đình Chinh—the first to be killed in the struggle to defend the border in 1979], Soha.vn, 15 Feb. 2019, http://soha.vn/chien-si-cong-an-le-dinh-chinh-nguoi-dau-tien-bi-sat-hai-trong-cuoc-chien-bao-ve-bien-gioi-1979-20190215104002281.htm (last accessed 16 June 2020).

51 Anonymous, ‘Lực lượng CAND: Lưu lại thời khắc lịch sử chiến đấu bảo vệ biên giới phía Bắc của Tổ quốc năm 1979’ [The People's Public Security Forces: Keeping the historic moment of the Struggle to Defend the Northern Border of our fatherland], Bảo tàng CAND, 19 Feb. 2019, http://baotangcand.vn/luc-luong-cand-luu-lai-thoi-khac-lich-su-chien-dau-bao-ve-bien-gioi-phia-bac-cua-to-quoc-nam-1979.htm (last accessed 10 Apr. 2019).

52 See the museum's website, http://btlsqsvn.org.vn/Introduction/Army-Museum-System/bai-viet/bao-tang-bien-phong-299 (last accessed 21 July 2020).

53 The province of Hà Tuyên was formed in 1975. It was dissolved in 1991 and the former provinces of Hà Giang and Tuyên Quang were re-established.

54 Carlyle A. Thayer, ‘Security issues in Southeast Asia: The Third Indochina War’, paper presented at the Conference on security and arms control in the North Pacific, Research School of Pacific Studies (RSPAS), Australian National University (ANU), Canberra, 12–14 Aug. 1987, pp. 8–17.

55 Ibid., p. 20.

56 Nguyễn Đức Huy, interview, Hanoi, 8 July 2019; Trương Quý Hài, interview, Hanoi, 1 July 2019. See also Nguyễn Đức Huy, Hồi ức chiến tranh Vị Xuyên, p. 46.

57 Xiaoming Zhang, Deng Xiaoping's long war: The military conflict between China and Vietnam, 1979–1991 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015), pp. 147–50; and Thayer, ‘Security issues in Southeast Asia’. Xiaoming Zhang's assessment of the war in Vị Xuyên in the 1980s—‘Vietnam was neither a victim nor a passive actor [on] the border’ (Deng Xiaoping's long war, p. 161)—is quite a claim. Without taking sides, it is indisputable that the Chinese invaded Vietnamese territory in Hà Giang province.

58 Zhang, Deng Xiaoping's long war, p. 155.

59 Ibid., p. 156.

60 Tô Lan Hương, ‘Cái đấm tay đâu đớn của tướng Hoàng Đan’ [The painful fist-bump of General Hoàng Đan], Soha News, 15 Feb. 2019, https://soha.vn/chien-tranh-bien-gioi-viet-trungcai-dam-tay-dau-don-cua-tuong-hoang-dan-lich-su-la-gi-ma-lam-linh-toi-kho-the-20190214205427515.htm (last accessed 7 Jan. 2020). Xiaoming Zhang refers to a much higher number of Vietnamese casualties: 3,000 (ibid., p. 156). The lower number of Vietnamese casualties was given by Nguyễn Đình Tác in an interview, Thanh Thủy/Vị Xuyên, 4 July 2019.

61 Tô Lan Hương, ‘Cái đấm tay đâu đớn’.

63 Zhang, Deng Xiaoping's long war, pp. 159, 162.

64 Nguyễn Đức Huy, Hồi ức chiến tranh Vị Xuyên, pp. 70–73.

65 Ibid., pp. 83–4.

66 Ibid., pp. 41–87; Ban Thời sự, ‘Diễn biến 10 năm cuộc chiến biên giới phía Bắc’ [The border war in the north], VnExpress, https://vnexpress.net/dien-bien-10-nam-cuoc-chien-bien-gioi-phia-bac-3881788.html (last accessed 3 Aug. 2019); and Mai Thanh Hải, ‘35 năm cuộc chiến đấu bảo vệ Vị Xuyên (Hà Giang): Nằm lại núi đồi Vị Xuyên’ [35 years of struggle to defend Vị Xuyên (Hà Giang)], Thanh Niên, 12 July 2019, https://thanhnien.vn/thoi-su/35-nam-cuoc-chien-dau-bao-ve-vi-xuyen-ha-giang-nam-lai-nui-doi-vi-xuyen-1102255.html (last accessed 12 July 2019).

67 Interview, Nguyễn Đình Tác, Thanh Thủy/Vị Xuyên, 4 July 2019. See also Zhang, Deng Xiaoping's long war, p. 157.

68 C&V Channels, ‘Xúc động—ký ức mặt trận Vị Xuyên qua lời kể cựu chiến binh’ [Moved—Memories about the Vị Xuyên battlefield through the accounts of veterans], YouTube video, 28 July 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1KGbgAKyPI (last accessed 17 July 2020); and VTC1. ‘Quyết giữ biên cương’ [Determined to hold the border], YouTube video, 9 Mar. 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0WCBmOPbKU (last accessed 21 Sept. 2020).

69 VTC1, ‘Máu đỏ bi hùng cao điểm Vị Xuyên’ [Tragic red blood at the high peak of the Vị Xuyên (battle)], VTC1 Interview, 13 Feb. 2019, https://vtc.vn/truyen-hinh/mau-do-bi-hung-cao-diem-vi-xuyen-ar457291.html (last accessed 21 Sept. 2020).

70 Interview, Nguyễn Đức Huy, Hanoi, 8 July 2019; and Vĩnh Huy, ‘Tướng Nguyễn Đức Huy và những lời nhắn nhủ: Đừng quên ngày 17/2/1979’ [General Nguyễn Đúc Huy and his advice: Don't forget 17 Feb. 1979!], Cựu chiến binh Thành Phố Hồ Chí Minh, 20 Feb. 2017, http://cuuchienbinhtphcm.vn/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3030:tng-nguyn-c-huy-va-nhng-li-nhn-nh-ng-quen-ngay-1721979&catid=77:ky-niem-ve-chien-tran&Itemid=187 (last accessed 5 Aug. 2020).

71 Interview, Nguyễn Đức Huy, Hanoi, 8 July 2019.

72 Hải Minh, ‘Cuộc chiến khốc liệt ở Vị Xuyên: Tử chiến bảo vệ biên giới’ [The fierce struggle in Vị Xuyên: Dying during the struggle to defend the border], VTC News, 16 Feb. 2019, https://vtc.vn/phong-su-kham-pha/nhung-chuyen-khoc-liet-o-vi-xuyen-cuoc-tu-chien-bao-ve-bien-gioi-ar457661.html (last accessed 19 May 2020).

73 Hoàng Cư, ‘40 năm chiến tranh biên giới phía Bắc: Nỗi đau dai dẳng ở mặt trận Vị Xuyên’ [40 years of war at the northern border: The persistent sorrow at the Vị Xuyên front], eMagazine Soha.vn, 14 Feb. 2019, http://soha.vn/40-nam-chien-tranh-bien-gioi-phia-bac-noi-dau-dai-dang-o-mat-tran-vi-xuyen-20190213140733203.htm (last accessed 11 Apr. 2019).

74 Thayer, ‘Security issues in Southeast Asia’, p. 22.

75 Hoàng Thế Cương, interview, Thanh Thủy/Vị Xuyên, 4 July 2019; Nguyễn Đình Tác, interview, Thanh Thủy/Vị Xuyên, 4 July 2019; Trương Quý Hài, interview, Hanoi, 1 July 2019.

76 Nguyễn Đức Huy, interview, Hanoi, 8 July 2019. See also Tuổi Trẻ Online, ‘Tưởng niệm các liệt sĩ Vị Xuyên’ [Commemorating the heroes of Vị Xuyên], YouTube video, 12 July 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzJC4K-RRMQ (last accessed 21 Dec. 2020); VTC1, Quyết giữ biên cương; VTC1, ‘Cuộc chiến chống Trung Quốc xâm lược năm 1979: Day dứt Vị Xuyên’ [The war against the Chinese invaders in 1979: Feelings of guilt about Vị Xuyên], VTC Documentary, 14 Feb. 2019, https://vtc.vn/truyen-hinh/cuoc-chien-chong-trung-quoc-xam-luoc-nam-1979-day-dut-vi-xuyen-ar457545.html (last accessed 21 Sept. 2020); and VTC1, ‘Máu đỏ bi hùng.

77 Many veterans of the battle of Vị Xuyên decided to stay in Hà Giang province after the war and married local women. Trương Quý Hải, interview, Hanoi, 1 July 2019. See also Anonymous, ‘Vietnam remembers martyrs’.

78 Email, Nguyễn Đình Tác, 20 July 2020. See also Đơn Thương, ‘Chiến tranh biên giới 1979: Những hoài niệm không quên’ [The border war of 1979: Unforgettable memories], VTC, 16 Feb. 2014, http://vt.vn/chien-tranh-bien-gioi-1979-nhung-hoai-niem-khong-quen.394.475843.htm (last accessed 7 Mar. 2015); and Hà Hương, ‘Tưởng niệm các liệt sĩ Vị Xuyên’ [Commemorating the martyrs of Vị Xuyên], Tuổi Trẻ, 12 July 2015, https://tuoitre.vn/tuong-niem-cac-liet-si-vi-xuyen-776364.htm (last accessed 16 July 2015).

79 This was registered by BBC Vietnamese (BBC Vietnamese, ‘Báo Việt Nam viết về mặt trận Vị Xuyên’ [Vietnamese newspapers write about the battle of Vị Xuyên], BBC Vietnamese, 13 July 2015, https://www.bbc.com/vietnamese/vietnam/2015/07/150713_laoshan_anniversary (last accessed 29 Apr. 2019). See Hoàng Thùy, ‘Hàng nghìn chiến sĩ thương vong ngày cao điểm trận chiến Vị Xuyên’ [Thousands of soldiers died during the peak days of the battle of Vị Xuyên], VnExpress, 25 July 2014, https://vnexpress.net/thoi-su/hang-nghin-chien-si-thuong-vong-ngay-cao-diem-tran-chien-vi-xuyen-3022565.html (last accessed 19 Sept. 2019); and Thanh Thảo, ‘Khúc tưởng niệm Vị Xuyên’ [Memories about Vị Xuyên], Thanh Niên, 27 Feb. 2012, http://www.thanhnien.com.vn/chao-buoi-sang/khuc-tuong-niem-vi-xuyen-60609.html (last accessed 20 Apr. 2015).

80 Hoàng Cương, ‘Công trình tri ân các anh hùng liệt sĩ Mặt trận Vị Xuyên’ [Project as a tribute to the heroic martyrs of the Vị Xuyên battlefield], 9 July 2019, https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=643302672811517&id=100013953696303 (last accessed 20 Mar. 2020).

81 Trương Quý Hải, interview, Hanoi, 1 July 2019.

82 Hoàng Thế Cương, interview, Thanh Thủy/Vị Xuyên, 4 July 2019.

83 The song was written by Trương Quý Hải; Hoàng Thế Cương, interview, Thanh Thủy/Vị Xuyên, 4 July 2019. See also Hiền Hương and Thu Hiền, ‘Cuộc chiến 1979 và bức thư gửi mẹ kính yêu nhòe máu’ [The struggle of 1979 and the bloodstained letter sent to my beloved mother], Zing News, 15 Feb. 2019, https://zingnews.vn/cuoc-chien-1979-va-buc-thu-gui-me-kinh-yeu-nhoe-mau-post916478.html.

84 Trường Phong and Xuân Án, ‘Thăm nghĩa trang Vị Xuyên đầu xuân 2019’ [Visit to the Vị Xuyên cemetery at the beginning of spring 2019], Tiên Phong, 5 Jan. 2019, https://www.tienphong.vn/hanh-trang-nguoi-linh/tham-nghia-trang-vi-xuyen-dau-xuan-2019-1363737.tpo (last accessed 20 Mar. 2019).

85 According to an article from 2019, 1,797 soldiers were buried in the Vị Xuyên war cemetery: 1,500 of them had participated in the war against China (1979–89); 330 of the remains that were found were still unidentified. Mai Thanh Hải, ‘35 năm cuộc chiến đấu’.

86 Nguyễn Đức Huy, Hồi ức chiến tranh Vị Xuyên, pp. 123–4.

87 Mai Thanh Hải, ‘35 năm cuộc chiến đấu’.

88 Hiền Hương and Thu Hiền, ‘Cuộc chiến 1979’.

89 Kiên Trung, ‘Mặt trận Vị Xuyên: “Hãy về đồng đội ơi! Còn nằm khe đá hay thung sâu”’ [The battlefront of Vị Xuyên: Come back, fellow soldiers! Still lying in rock crevices or deep valleys], Vietnam.net, 26 July 2016, https://vietnamnet.vn/vn/thoi-su/chinh-tri/mat-tran-vi-xuyen-hay-ve-dong-doi-oi-317015.html (last accessed 28 Oct. 2019).

90 See Tuổi Trẻ Online, ‘Tưởng niệm các liệt sĩ Vị Xuyên’. The donors’ names are engraved on a plate in front of the incense burner. See also Hoàng Phương, ‘Ước nguyện của những cựu binh mặt trận Vị Xuyên’ [The wishes of the veterans of the battle of Vị Xuyên], VnExpress, 12 July 2015, http://vnexpress.net/tin-tuc/thoi-su/uoc-nguyen-cua-nhung-cuu-binh-mat-tran-vi-xuyen-3247214.html (last accessed 16 July 2015).

91 Hoàng Thế Cương, interview, Thanh Thủy/Vị Xuyên, 4 July 2019.

93 Nguyễn Đức Huy, interview, Hanoi, 8 July 2019. See also Trung Hiếu, ‘Tham mưu trưởng mặt trận Vị Xuyên: Nhiều hài cốt đồng đội đang nằm lại ở khe núi, hốc đá’ [Chief of Staff of the Vị Xuyên battlefield: Many remains of comrades are still lying in ravines and mountain folds], Thanh Niên, 26 July 2017, https://thanhnien.vn/thoi-su/tu-lenh-chien-truong-vi-xuyen-nhieu-hai-cot-dong-doi-dang-nam-lai-o-khe-nui-hoc-da-859333.html (last accessed 5 Aug. 2020); VTC1, ‘Quyết giữ biên cương’; and VTC1, ‘Máu đỏ bi hùng’.

94 Nguyễn Đức Huy, Hồi ức chiến tranh Vị Xuyên, pp. 126–7. The chapter of the Liaison Committee in Hanoi had around 700 members in 2019. See Thu Thủy, ‘Tháng Bảy, trở lại Vị Xuyên … ’ [July, returning to Vị Xuyên …], Tiên Phong, 14 July 2019, https://www.tienphong.vn/hanh-trang-nguoi-linh/thang-bay-tro-lai-vi-xuyen-1440126.tpo (last accessed 19 May 2020).

95 Nguyễn Đức Huy, interview, Hanoi, 8 July 2019. See also Nguyễn Đức Huy, Hồi ức chiến tranh Vị Xuyên, p. 126; and VTC1, ‘Cuộc chiến chống Trung Quốc’.

96 Nguyễn Đức Huy, Hồi ức chiến tranh Vị Xuyên, pp. 124–8; Hoàng Phương, ‘Hơn 4.000 chiến sĩ hy sinh bảo vệ biên giới Vị Xuyên’ [More than 4,000 sacrificed their lives defending the border at Vị Xuyên], VnExpress, 14 July 2016, https://vnexpress.net/40-nam-cuoc-chien-bao-ve-bien-gioi-phia-bac/hon-4-000-chien-si-hy-sinh-bao-ve-bien-gioi-vi-xuyen-3436441.html (last accessed 14 June 2019).

97 Ban Liên Lạc Cựu Chiến Binh Toàn Quốc Mặt Trận Vị Xuyên-Hà Tuyên, Chiến thắng Vị Xuyên, p. 15.

98Sống bám đá, chết hóa đá, bất tử.’

99 Trương Quý Hải, interview, Hanoi, 1 July 2019. The singer and Vị Xuyên veteran Trương Quý Hải composed a song in commemoration of Nguyễn Viết Ninh entitled ‘Lũy đá bất tử’ (Immortal Wall of Stones). See Tạ Hà Phú, ‘Nhạc sĩ Trương Quý Hải hát ’Lũy đá bất tử‘ trước đồng đội Vị Xuyên’ [Musician Trương Quý Hải sings ‘The wall of stones is immortal’ in front of the Vị Xuyên comrades], Chúng Ta, 15 Mar. 2019, https://chungta.vn/nguoi-fpt/nhac-si-truong-quy-hai-hat-luy-da-bat-tu-truoc-dong-doi-vi-xuyen-1124170.html (last accessed 5 May 2020).

100 Anonymous, ‘Vị Xuyên những ngày tháng 7’ [Vị Xuyên in the days of July], Infonet, 25 July 2016, https://infonet.vn/vi-xuyen-nhung-ngay-thang-7-no-di-la-di-mat-den-gio-cha-thay-ve-post204260.info (last accessed 2 Aug. 2019); Thái Bình, ‘Khánh thành nhà tưởng niệm anh hùng liệt sĩ mặt trận Vị Xuyên’ [Inaugurating the memorial house for the heroic martyrs of the battle of Vị Xuyên], Vietnam.net, 25 June 2016, https://vietnamnet.vn/vn/thoi-su/chinh-tri/khanh-thanh-nha-tuong-niem-cac-anh-hung-liet-sy-chien-tranh-bien-gioi-312225.html (last accessed 8 July 2019); Kiên Trung, ‘Mặt trận Vị Xuyên’; Vân Hương, ‘Đài hương trên núi Nậm Ngặt’ [The house of offerings on Mount Nậm Ngặt], Quân đội Nhân dân, 15 July 2016, https://sknc.qdnd.vn/dia-chi-do/dai-huong-tren-nui-nam-ngat-500216. (last accessed 21 Nov. 2020).

101 VTC1, ‘Gian nan hành trình’.

102 Interview, anonymous informant, July 2019.

103 Phan Mạnh, ‘Lễ bàn giao Nhà tưởng niệm Liệt sỹ Mặt trận Vị Xuyên’ [Ceremony to hand over the Memorial House for the Martyrs of the Vị Xuyên battlefield], Báo Hà Giang, 27 July 2018, http://hagiangtv.vn/tin-tuc-n13332/le-ban-giao-nha-tuong-niem-liet-sy-mat-tran-vi-xuyen.html (last accessed 5 July 2019).

104 See, for example, Hiền Hương and Thu Hiền, ‘Cuộc chiến 1979’; VTV, ‘Cuộc chiến đấu bảo vệ biên giới phía Bắc: Vị Xuyên hồi sinh’ [The struggle to defend the northern border: Vị Xuyên revived], VTV News, 17 Feb. 2019, https://vtc.vn/thoi-su/cuoc-chien-dau-bao-ve-bien-gioi-phia-bac-vi-xuyen-hoi-sinh-ar458007.html (last accessed 19 May 2020); and Hoàng Cư, ‘40 năm chiến tranh biên giới phía Bắc’.

105 See for example, Hà Giang TV, ‘Về đây đồng đội ơi—Mặt trận Vị Xuyên Hà Giang ngày 12_7_2019’ [Come back my comrade—the Vị Xuyên Hà Giàng battlefront on 12 July 2019], YouTube video, 12 July 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWHJxvuIqjY (last accessed 8 Mar. 2020); and Lê Hiệp, ‘Vẫn còn 4.000 hài cốt liệt sĩ dọc biên giới phía Bắc chưa thể tìm kiếm’ [4,000 remains of martyrs along the northern border still have not been found], Thanh Niên, 16 Feb. 2019, https://thanhnien.vn/thoi-su/van-con-4000-hai-cot-liet-si-doc-bien-gioi-phia-bac-chua-the-tim-kiem-1052230.html (last accessed 19 May 2020).

106 VTC1, ‘Quyết giữ biên cương’. In 2019 this sum was equivalent to about US$8.5 million.

107 VTC1, ‘Quyết giữ biên cương’; and VTC1, ‘Cuộc chiến chống Trung Quốc’.

108 Vũ Tân Long, ‘Lời tri ân muộn màng’ [Belated words of gratitude], 30 Dec. 2019, https://www.facebook.com/groups/254028305333217/permalink/629609677775076/ (last accessed 20 Feb. 2020); and VTC1, ‘Gian nan hành trình’.

109 Hà Giang TV, ‘Về đây đồng đội ơi’.

110 Nguyễn Đức Độ, ‘Cảnh giác với những luận điệu sai trại’.

111 Gia Tưởng, ‘Vị Xuyên—35 năm máu và hoa. Kỳ 1: Tháng 7, ngày giỗ trận của Sư 356’ [Vị Xuyên—35 years of blood and flowers. Part 1: July, Death Anniversary of Division 356], Dân Việt, 12 July 2019, https://danviet.vn/vi-xuyen-35-nam-mau-va-hoa-7777996003.htm (last accessed 5 May 2020); and Thu Thủy, ‘Tháng Bảy, trở lại Vị Xuyên’. Regarding the coverage of ceremonies in July 2018, see VTC1, ‘Vị Xuyên những ngày tháng 7’ [Vị Xuyên during the days of July], YouTube video, 26 July 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Csx6mA5593o (last accessed 6 May 2020).

112 See Thu Thủy, ‘Tháng Bảy, trở lại Vị Xuyên’. Even Major General Nguyễn Đức Huy seems to be at odds with the term ‘death anniversary’; Nguyễn Đức Huy, interview, Hanoi, 8 July 2019.

113 One veteran uploaded a poem in defence of the term ‘death anniversary’ in a Facebook discussion group. See Phương Minh, ‘Ngày giỗ trận’ [Death anniversary], 14 July 2018, https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100016470344917&__tn__=%2CdlCH-R-R&eid=ARCAXdHu_8el1yS0YWqzNF_V8YxiY2JGOOelP1tsEr3QSb9KOODeY1ihTx3NZEadqFmDDWg28KELXPzV&hc_ref=ARRCCKc4kV-3MghPiCWCQoSsN5rXCRV2_m3zi33xQwBparMEn_J6I3Op-196azfeLCg (last accessed 20 Jan. 2020).

114 Mai Thanh Hải, ‘35 năm cuộc chiến đấu’; and Viết Tuân, ‘Nguyên Chủ tịch nước Trương Tấn Sang dâng hương ở nghĩa trang Vị Xuyên’ [Former state president Trương Tấn Sang offers incense at Vị Xuyên Cemetery], VnExpress, 11 July 2019, https://vnexpress.net/thoi-su/nguyen-chu-tich-nuoc-truong-tan-sang-dang-huong-o-nghia-trang-vi-xuyen-3951318.html (last accessed 19 May 2019).

115 Vũ Dương Ninh, interview, 21 June 2019.

116 VietnamPlus, ‘Trưởng ban Tổ chức TW làm việc với Ban Thường vụ Tỉnh ủy Hà Giang’ [Head of the Central Organising Commission works with Standing Committee of the Provincial Committee of Hà Giang], Hải quạn Online, 7 July 2019, https://haiquanonline.com.vn/truong-ban-to-chuc-tw-lam-viec-voi-ban-thuong-vu-tinh-uy-ha-giang-107626.html (last accessed 6 Aug. 2020).

117 Hoàng Thế Cương, interview, Thanh Thủy/Vị Xuyên, 4 July 2019.

118 Email, Nguyễn Đình Tác, 20 July 2020. See Kiên Trung, ‘Mặt trận Vị Xuyên’; and VTC1. Máu đỏ bi hùng.

119 Thế Dồng, ‘Tỉnh Hà Giang truy điệu và an táng 7 hài cốt liệt sỹ’ [Hà Giang organises a memorial service and a burial for the remains of seven martyrs], Quân Khu 2, 9 May 2020, http://quankhu2.vn/tinh-ha-giang-truy-dieu-va-an-tang-7-hai-cot-liet-sy/ (last accessed 11 May 2020).

120 Thus the Hà Giang veterans’ movement differs from the activities of the so-called Club of Former Resistance Fighters (Câu lạc bộ Kháng chiến cũ) established in the south in 1986. According to Carlyle Thayer some of the Club's activities took place without VCP guidance and thus posed ‘a direct threat to the party's mono-organizational grip on society’. See Carlyle Thayer, Political development in Vietnam: From the Sixth to the Seventh National Party Congress’, Regime change and regime maintenance in Asia and the Pacific, Discussion paper no. 5 (Canberra: Dept of Social Change, RSPAS, ANU, 1992), p. 15. The veterans’ journal Truyền thống Kháng chiến (Tradition of Resistance) was banned by the security apparatus and leading Club members imprisoned or put under house arrest.

121 Nhân Dân TV, ‘Việt Nam thời đại Hồ Chí Minh—Biên niên sử truyền hình: Năm 1979’ [Vietnam in the era of Hồ Chí Minh—TV chronicle: The year 1979], YouTube video, 29:22, 11 Aug. 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H38riyDwlyo (last accessed 21 Dec. 2020).

122 The series started in February 2020 with five parts entitled ‘The thirst for independence and freedom’ (Khát vộng Độc lập—Tự do). See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I14i9ZbFzlY&list=PLXgK7xsVpqvRAPl9w6Qm2HnZAbs6AVIXt&index=1 (last accessed 20 Sept. 2020). Also see Đinh Hoàng Thắng, ‘Giải mã một hiện tượng truyền thông’ [Decoding a propaganda phenomenon], RFA, 15 Aug. 2020, https://www.rfa.org/vietnamese/news/blog/decipher-a-media-signal-08152020095638.html (last accessed 23 Dec. 2020).

123 Nhân Dân TV, ‘Việt Nam thời đại Hồ Chí Minh—Biên niên sử truyền hình: Năm 1984 [Vietnam in the era of Hồ Chí Minh—TV chronicle: the year 1984], YouTube video, 25:02, 29 Sept. 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ic-a-9uqo38 (last accessed 20 Dec. 2020); and Nhân Dân TV, ‘Việt Nam thời đại Hồ Chí Minh - Biên niên sử truyền hình: Năm 1985’ [Vietnam in the era of Hồ Chí Minh—TV chronicle: the year 1985], YouTube video, 27:41, 2 Oct. 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eebt3tWV9XY (last accessed 19 Dec. 2020).

124 Đinh Hoàng Thắng, ‘Giải mã một hiện tượng truyền thông’ [Decoding a propaganda phenomenon], RFA, 15 Aug. 2020, https://www.rfa.org/vietnamese/news/blog/decipher-a-media-signal-08152020095638.html (last accessed 23 Dec. 2020) argues that the documentary was just shown for tactical reasons before the 13th National Congress of the VCP in 2021. One should always bear in mind how carefully the Department of Propaganda and Education orchestrates the commemoration of the Sino-Vietnamese War.

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