Quỳnh Lưu Uprising
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The Quỳnh Lưu Uprising (Cuộc nổi dậy Quỳnh Lưu, Nghệ An 1956) was a rebellion against the North Vietnamese communist government in the rural Quỳnh Lưu District in Nghệ An Province, from November 2–14, 1956.
Background and Origins
The North Vietnamese regime instituted their land reform and collectivization program from 1953 to 1956, with the government's stated aim was to break the power of the traditional village elite, form a new class of leaders (communist-aligned peasants), and redistribute the wealth (mostly land) to create a new class that has no personal property ownership. This was an element of Communist revolutions. However, the land reform resulted in many rural villagers being executed (after accused of being "landlords", "class enemies", "counter-revolutionaries" or other charges in public village show trials), land being taken away even from poor peasants, paranoia among neighbors, and mass executions across the North - some of which were witnessed by foreigners. A number of sources suggested that about 30% of the "landlords" executed were actually communist party members. Former North Vietnamese government official Nguyen Minh Can, told RFA’s Vietnamese service: "The land reform was a massacre of innocent, honest people, and using contemporary terms we must say that it was a genocide triggered by class discrimination". Between 50,000 and 172,000 perceived "class enemies" were executed. In the Quỳnh Lưu area, locals had been discriminated against by local authorities because of their opposition to the land reform and other reforms carried out by the government.
Communist Prevention of Emigration
According to the 1954 Geneva Accords, of which North Vietnam was signatory to, Vietnam was partitioned into two halves, with a communist Viet Minh-controlled North Vietnam, and an anti-communist State of Vietnam (which became South Vietnam) with Bao Dai as head of state. There would be a 300-day period, ending May 18, 1955, where people could relocate freely to 1 of the 2 Vietnams of their choosing before the border at the 17th parallel was sealed. However in late 1954 and early 1955, along with counter-propaganda, the Viet Minh sought to prevent would-be refugees from leaving. As the American and French military personnel were only present in the major cities and at air bases and on the waterfront, the communists tried to stop people from trying to leave through a military presence in the inland ruralside to interdict the flow of would-be refugees. The communists were most effective in Nghệ An and Thanh Hóa Provinces, which they had long controlled; only 20% of Catholics in neighboring Thanh Hóa migrated.
As well, the majority of Quỳnh Lưu's residents was Catholic, who already had pre-existing grievances and tension with Communist authorities concerning their right to migrate South, religious freedom, and the Communists' suspicions of the loyalty of Catholics.
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- Time, July 1, 1957, p. 13, says they were given a proper burial.
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- RFA. "Vietnamese Remember Land Reform Terror" June 8, 2006.
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- Robert F. Turner (1975), Vietnamese Communism: Its Origins and Development (Hoover Institution Press), pp141-3, 155-7.
- The History of the Vietnamese Economy (2005), Vol. 2, edited by Dang Phong of the Institute of Economy, Vietnamese Institute of Social Sciences.
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- Frankum, p. 159.