Libmonster ID: VN-1223
Author(s) of the publication: R. SENIN


In the process of building a market economy in Vietnam and integrating it into global economic relations, the financial, economic and intellectual resources of the Vietnamese diaspora (vietkieu) abroad are becoming increasingly important. In recent years, the leadership of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) has sharply increased its attention to foreign compatriots, recognizing the important role of the diaspora in the process of modernizing the country and integrating it into the international community.

Until the early 1990s, Hanoi had virtually no dialogue with the foreign Vietnamese community and even discouraged political and economic emigration. Citizens who had relatives abroad could not become members of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), their way to the army and law enforcement agencies was blocked, and their promotion was significantly restricted. With the transition from the beginning of the XXI century to a multi-vector foreign policy under the slogan "Vietnam is a friend to all", the authorities of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam took a number of measures to encourage foreign compatriots to visit the country and, in general, were able to normalize relations with a significant part of foreign communities.


The intensive development of relations between the Vietnamese state and the diaspora, which has been observed since the early 2000s, was due to the desire to attract its resources to the development of the national economy. This was stated in the Political Report of the IX Congress of the CPV held in 2001 and in the resolution No. 7 of the Politburo of the CPV Central Committee "On integration into the world economy"adopted in November of the same year1.

The use of financial, economic, informational, intermediary and other opportunities of the diaspora is considered by the country's leadership as an important factor in strengthening the competitiveness of the country's economy in world markets, especially in view of Vietnam's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in January 2007.

It should be noted that the warming is mutual. On the part of the diaspora itself, the desire for contacts with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is partly dictated by socio-demographic changes in its environment. The generation of the first wave of emigration, whose members were born in the 1950s and 1960s in South Vietnam, but spent most of their lives abroad and were burdened with heavy memories of the war, was replaced by a new generation that treats their historical homeland with a much lower degree of bias and even with sympathy.2

Currently, the number of ethnic Vietnamese living abroad is about 3 million. However, only a few of them have significant economic potential, financial and intellectual resources that are so necessary for Vietnam at the present stage, have citizenship of their country of residence, and are united in various organizational structures with developed communication systems. These features are unique to the Vietnamese communities of the industrialized Western countries, i.e. North America, the European Union( EU), the English-speaking countries of the South Pacific, and Japan. This particular category of foreign compatriots is a priority for Hanoi.3

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According to researchers, the total annual income of the Vietnamese diaspora in Western countries is at least $ 30 billion, or 2/3 of Vietnam's GDP. 4 More than 400 thousand of its representatives have a higher education or academic degree and work in high-tech sectors of the economy.

The largest Vietkieu community (1.3 million people) was formed in the United States after 1975. It is the largest Asian ethnic community in the Americas after the Chinese, Indian and Filipino. The Vietnamese community of Canada (200 thousand) was also formed mainly after 1975 from emigrants from South Vietnam.

Among the EU countries (about 600,000 ethnic Vietnamese), France and Germany are the leaders in terms of the number of citizens of Vietnamese origin living in them, followed by the Czech Republic and the Scandinavian countries, in which the Vietnamese community has become the largest after the Chinese since the early 1990s. The Vietnamese community of France (more than 300 thousand people) lives mainly in Paris and other major cities, has a good internal communication system (print and online publications, numerous language courses and cultural Sunday schools). It is represented in municipal authorities of a number of regions and has a large number of socio-political associations. The peculiarity of the formation of a community in Germany is that a significant part of it (more than 30 thousand out of 120 thousand) are immigrants from the former GDR. One of the most significant communities (about 200 thousand people) was formed in Australia.

Considering the diasporas of Western countries as an important source of monetary and financial resources and investment in the national economy, Hanoi pays special attention to measures to ensure the influx of currency sent to the country by the Viet Cong to their relatives. As noted during a seminar held in Da Nang in the fall of 2005 on the prospects for using the potential of Vietnamese living abroad in Vietnam, the total amount of funds transferred since 1990 by the Viet Cong to relatives in Vietnam has amounted to more than $ 15 billion. This is equivalent to 59% of the total foreign direct investment in the country's economy over the same period, and slightly exceeds the amount of funds allocated to Vietnam by international donors since 1993.5 Remittances from abroad were of great importance during the most difficult period for the economy of Vietnam-the first half of the 1990s, when the flow of foreign direct investment the investment was still small.

The abolition in 2001 of the 5% tax previously levied on vietcieu transfers resulted in an annual increase of 35-40% in the volume of transfers, increasing to $ 4.5 billion per year by 2006.6 In addition to money transfers, Vietkieu's investment potential is also essential for the country. As of the end of 2006, about 2.5 thousand projects involving the capital of foreign compatriots were implemented in the territory of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. In 2006, Vietcieu invested more than $ 400 million. 7

Another key area of government policy in relation to vietkieu is the use of their intellectual capital, highly qualified specialists and scientific experts, primarily in the field of high and innovative technologies, as well as economics and finance. Currently, dozens of vietcieu representatives from Europe and the United States-physicists, chemists, programmers, doctors, economists-teach at universities and research centers in the country, act as consultants in the creation of large industrial and technological zones, stock market mechanisms, management systems, etc. to better coordinate efforts in this area at the end of 2005. In Vietnam, a group of foreign scientists of Vietnamese origin created a Scientific and Technical club, which is purposefully engaged in the search and invitation of researchers from among the Vietcieu to implement specific high-tech projects. Currently, it includes more than 100 scientists from Germany, France, Australia, the USA, and Japan.


An important milestone in the revision of the state policy towards the Viet Cong was the resolution of the Politburo of the CPV Central Committee adopted in March 2004. It marked the transition to a decisive rapprochement between official Hanoi and the diaspora. The document stressed that the Vietcieu are "an integral part of the Vietnamese nation" and "an important resource for its development"8. In accordance with the course of achieving "great national unity" proclaimed in the resolution, it was stated about "openness, mutual trust and aspiration to the future" of relations with foreign compatriots.

All ministries, departments and public organizations of Vietnam were focused on strengthening the work to protect the legitimate interests of foreign compatriots, creating favorable conditions for their return and residence in their homeland. In more detail, the objectives of the Vietcieu party directives were set out in the 2005 UN General Assembly Resolution. Action Plan of the Government of Vietnam on working with the Vietnamese community abroad.

The main organization for the implementation of the Plan is the Committee for Foreign Vietnamese Affairs under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, which has the authority to coordinate the relevant actions of various ministries and departments and manage the Fund for Assistance to the Vietnamese Community Abroad.

It is noteworthy that the Fund exists both at the expense of budget allocations and private sponsorship contributions of Vietcieu and is used to implement projects to assist compatriots in learning the language, organizing cultural events, youth and scientific exchanges. Any Vietcieu representative who wishes to implement a cooperation project in Vietnam or in their country of permanent residence can apply for assistance from the Foundation.

In addition to government agencies, recently significant work on developing contacts with the Vietcieu has also been carried out by public organizations. These include the Association for Relations with Vietnamese Compatriots Abroad, established in 2002. It coordinates more than 20 associations at the provincial level, organizes meetings with

page 31

representatives of the diaspora on a wide variety of topics: socio-economic problems, science, education and culture 9.

In order to successfully attract Vietcieu capital and representatives of the diaspora themselves to Vietnam, the country's legislation is being amended to provide them with various privileges. One of the most important steps taken in the first half of the 2000s is the introduction of amendments and additions to the Land Law in 2001. They provide, in particular, the right of the Vietcieu to acquire private residential buildings in Vietnam, as well as to use the same tariffs for transport and other services for Vietnamese citizens. Amendments to the law on the promotion of domestic investment were also adopted, which gave Vietkieu the right to acquire up to 30% of shares in Vietnamese enterprises.

The authorities of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam pay great attention to helping compatriots who have decided to return to the country. In particular, measures were developed to facilitate immigration procedures and ensure the property rights of the Vietcieu in relation to the ownership and inheritance of property located both in Vietnam and abroad. The visa regime has been significantly simplified. For a number of years, it has been the practice that Vietkieu can obtain an entry visa valid for up to three months at the country's international airports on arrival and without any invitation documents in the run-up to and during the Lunar New Year (Tet) celebrations. In early March 2007 The Vietnamese News Agency reported that the government of the country has decided to allow visa-free entry of Vietkieu to the territory of Vietnam 10.

All these measures have had a positive impact on the growth rate of the number of Vietnamese compatriots arriving home for business and tourism purposes. If in 1986 they were only 8 thousand people, then by 2003 - up to 380 thousand. In 2005, about 200,000 ethnic Vietnamese came to Vietnam to celebrate Theta alone, and in 2007, more than half a million came. According to estimates of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, in 2005 the Vietkieu made up about one-sixth of the total number of foreign tourists who visited the country11.


When developing and implementing State policies for foreign compatriots, the authorities also pay great attention to the promotion of Vietnamese national values among the Vietkieu. Great importance is attached to preserving their national identity, maintaining Vietnamese culture, customs and traditions among them, and strengthening their spiritual connection with their homeland.12 With the help of the Internet, satellite TV and radio, compatriots living abroad receive information about the state of affairs in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Since 2004, Vietnamese television has significantly expanded its broadcasting network to North America and Europe, and the country's Ministry of Culture and Information has created special web sites for publishing materials about Vietnam. Cultural exchanges are also encouraged by the authorities of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Comprehensive support of the Vietnamese language abroad is highlighted as a separate important area of the government plan. Vietnamese language lessons are included in the foreign language programs of Vietnam Radio and Television (VTV4), Hanoi sends textbooks and standard language training plans abroad, and helps establish Vietnamese schools and language courses.

Since 2004, a program of organizing summer camps for children from Vietkieu families in Vietnam has been implemented.

Nevertheless, there are still a lot of administrative and legal problems in working with compatriots who have foreign citizenship, primarily due to the absence of the institute of dual citizenship in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The country also has not yet created conditions for adaptation and elimination of the difference in the legal and economic status of permanent residents and those who have moved to Vietnam for permanent residence.


Although Vietnamese business magazines often publish articles about employees of foreign firms of Vietnamese origin who have left a highly paid position in their country without regret and settled in Vietnam on a permanent basis, most repatriates face objective difficulties in their historical homeland, the main one being low wages. The majority of vietciu who come to the country seek to get a position as a programmer, sales manager, marketing specialist with a monthly salary of at least $ 1.5 thousand. Meanwhile, the maximum official salary in Vietnam does not exceed a tenth of this amount.

In relations with foreign compatriots, as in Vietnam's relations with Western countries in general, the state policy of Vietnam clearly shows a tendency to de-ideologization. The above-mentioned resolution of the Politburo of the CPV Central Committee refers to the prevention of discrimination and prejudice against the Viet Cong, who during the war supported the Saigon administration and fought on its side.

page 32

This trend has been reflected in carefully planned propaganda campaigns related to visits to Vietnam by some well-known leaders of the Saigon regime, most notably former Vice-President Nguyen Kao Ki (currently holds the public position of adviser on attracting foreign investment in the economy of Ho Chi Minh City), prominent Buddhist figure Thit Nhat Hanh (visited Vietnam twice, in May 2005 August and February 2007), the famous composer Pham Zui. In the national press, these events were presented as evidence of the success of the "reconciliation and consent" policy.

The Vietnamese authorities ' encouragement of these visits was designed to change the country's image in the eyes of the US administration and Western human rights organizations. The same goals were set for organizing a meeting between Vietnam's Prime Minister Phan Van Khai and representatives of the Vietnamese community during his visit to the United States in the summer of 2004.


Official Hanoi's relations with the Western Viet Cong, despite the progress made, are still characterized by serious contradictions that arose after the end of the war and the collapse of the pro-American regime in the south of the country. First of all, these contradictions are related to the problem of non-recognition of the legitimacy of the CPV government by some Vietcieu groups and respect for human rights in Vietnam.

A significant part of the Vietnamese diaspora in Western countries still considers itself a "community of exiles" and is opposed to the existing communist regime in its historical homeland. Virtually all of the 50 largest political exile groups - from the Vietnamese Constitutional Monarchist League to ultra-right terrorist groups - deny the legitimacy of the CPV and demand its unconditional removal from power in the country.

By the early 1980s, leading organizations of Vietnamese emigrants were finally convinced that a forceful change in the social order in Vietnam was impossible. Then these organizations shifted the focus of their activities. Since the early 1990s, they have increasingly resorted to using slogans about the need to democratize Vietnamese society and strictly observe human rights and constitutional freedoms in Vietnam. Moreover, it gave them the opportunity to express their opinions in influential American government and public structures, at international conferences, and to have incomparably wider access to representatives of the world's media compared to the state bodies of Vietnam.

Often, the activities of the Vietcieu significantly complicate the implementation of certain foreign policy tasks in Vietnam. Some expat organizations are trying to discredit official Hanoi in the eyes of the US Congress. For example, the majority of senators and congressmen who in 2005-2006 opposed the adoption of the most-favored-nation trade law that was vital for Vietnam's successful accession to the WTO were closely associated with former Saigon administration officials living in the United States.

The rejection of any violent methods of struggle and calls for peaceful regime change are traditionally preached by organizations operating in France, but having, in fact, a pan-European character. Through their contacts with the European Parliament, human rights organizations, and numerous print and online publications (primarily the magazines Thong Luan13 and Democracy and Development 14, which have online versions in two or three languages), they are highly critical of the social and economic policies of the CPV and the country's leadership. These organizations offer their own options for liberalizing various areas of public life in Vietnam.

It can be assumed that it is precisely the sharp rejection of communist power in Vietnam by the leading political associations of the Viet Cong that is the main factor hindering the use of the political opportunities of the diaspora abroad in Vietnam, following the example of the PRC, which the country's leadership is certainly striving for. Therefore, in recent years, the Vietnamese media has begun to publish more material about the success of American entrepreneurs, as well as statesmen of Vietnamese origin15. Official Hanoi seems to send a signal to foreign compatriots that past differences are forgotten.

Currently, according to analysts of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Vietcieu organizations that are radical and resort to the use of methods of terrorist struggle against the communist regime still continue to operate in the world. The most famous of these are the" Free Vietnam Government "(PSV) led by former Saigon administration official Nguyen Hui Tien and the "Acting People's Party" led by Nguyen Chi Binh. After 2001, taking advantage of the surge in international anti-terrorist activity, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam took a number of steps to include these groups in international lists of terrorist organizations. In the EOM's 2001 report on national counter-terrorism measures sent to the relevant committee of the UN Security Council, the EOM is referred to as a terrorist organization. 16

* * *

The Vietnamese leadership's policy of transforming the Vietcieu "community of exile" in Western countries into a solidarity community friendly to Vietnam has achieved some success. However, relations between official Hanoi and the Viet Cong are still controversial. Although the leadership of Vietnam would like to use the political potential of the diaspora, working with Vietcieu is mainly aimed at attracting their financial resources. At the same time, an increasingly important task of Vietnamese diplomacy in this area is to mobilize their intellectual capabilities in the interests of socio-economic development of the country.

page 33

Given the overall growth of Vietnam's political ambitions in the international arena, it can be assumed that in the coming years Vietnam will make additional efforts to consolidate the Vietkieu into a politically powerful, manageable and capable of concerted actions community that could, following the example of the Chinese diaspora, successfully lobby for the interests of Vietnam in the countries of residence.

1 Ngi kuet sho 07 kua Bo tinh chi "Ve hoi nyap kin te quoc te", ban han ngai. 27.11.2001. (Resolution No. 7 of the Politburo of the CPV Central Committee "On integration into the world economy"). - Cit. by: Chin Thi Hoa. Dai hoi IX kua Dang ta voi niem vu doi ngoai chong zai doan hien nai (IX Party Congress and foreign policy tasks at this stage). See: Kua chinh chien khai thik hien tinh shat doi ngoai kua Dai hoi IX Dang Kong shan Viet Nam (The process of implementing the foreign Policy of the IX Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam). Hanoi, 2005, pp. 41-42.

Tran Nam Binh. 2 Mobilizing Overseas Vietnamese Human Capital to Promote Economic Growth in Vietnam //Asian Analysis, November 2005 -

3 Ngi kuet sho 36 kua Bo tinh chi "Ve kong tak doi voi ngyoi viet Nam o nyok ngoai", ban han ngai. 26.03.2004. (Resolution No. 36 of the Politburo of the CPV Central Committee "On work with compatriots living abroad"), - Cit. By: Kong dong nguyoi Viet Nam o nyok ngoai. Nyung van de can biet (Community of Vietnamese living abroad. Current issues). Hanoi, 2005, p. 136.

Pham Do Ti, Pham Quang Zieu. 4 Thiem nang kin te nguy Viet o hai ngoai (Economic Potential of Vietnamese living abroad) -

5 Ibid.

6 Vietnam Needs More Expats' Participation in National Construction -

7 Ibid.

8 Resolution No. 36 of the Politburo of the CPV Central Committee ...

9 Dai hoi thanh lap Hoi lien lak voi ngyoi Viet Nam o nyok ngoai (The founding congress of the Association for Relations with Vietnamese Compatriots Abroad was held) / / Nyanzan, 05.02.2002.

10 Overseas Vietnamese to be Exempted from Visa Procedures // Vietnam News Agency Daily Bulletin. March 1, 2007.

11 Interview Granted to AP by Vice Foreign Minister, Chairman of Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Nguyen Phu Binh. Hanoi, March 18th, 2005 -

12 Viet Kieu See Need to Preserve Traditional Culture // Vietnam News Agency Daily Bulletin. February 22, 2007.



15 For example, in 2005-2006, the Vietnamese press repeatedly mentioned the first female candidate for senator of Vietnamese origin in the history of the United States, Nguyen Thi Chan, the White House adviser who oversees social policy for Americans of East Asian origin, J. R. R. Tolkien. Quoc Zuong, former Deputy Attorney General of the United States, developer of the anti-terrorist "Patriotic Act" Viet Dinh, etc.

16 Report of Viet Nam to the Counter-Terrorism Committee Pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001) -


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