During the nation’s glorious history, from the struggle for national independence and reunification to the period of Doi Moi (renewal) and deep international integration, the overseas Vietnamese (OV) community has made an important contribution.
Work and policies related to OV have become a pillar in the country’s foreign policy. In the new situation, the role of the OV community in terms of the cause of national construction and defence should have even more importance. The requirement, which has a strategic importance, has posed a new and more comprehensive mission for the OV work in the near future.
|Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and other leaders attending the programme "Homeland Spring" 2019. (Photo: VGP)|
An inseparable part and resource of the Vietnamese ethnic community
Solidarity and respect toward one’s origin has always been a valuable tradition for all Vietnamese people. No matter how far away they live, what they do and what numerous difficulties they face, the OV always remember their homeland and wish to contribute to national construction and defence.
Since the early days of the Vietnamese revolution, under the mobilisation and guidance of our beloved Uncle Ho, movements of patriotic OV in France, Thailand and Laos were formed, calling for Vietnamese expatriates to turn towards their fatherland. During the fights for national independence and reunification, the OV contriburtedgreat spiritual and material support; proactively participated in movements to oppose the wars against Vietnam; and called on people and political authorities in their host countries to support Vietnam right up until until national reunification day.
During the Doi Moi period, the OV have raised their voices to mobilised many foreign countries to remove embargos and other barriers and establish diplomatic ties with Vietnam as well as joining the struggles to protect the country’s sovereignty over the seas, islands and territorial integrity in general and contribute their economic resources and knowledge to build and develop their fatherland, bringing Vietnam to the world and the world to Vietnam.
Supporting OVs to integrate and connect with their homeland
Understanding thoroughly the important role and great resource of the OV community, the Vietnamese Party and State have always paid much attention to the work related to the OV through various guidelines and policies over history. In particular Resolution No.36-NQ/TW dated March 26, 2004 and Directive 45-CT / TW dated May 19, 2015 by the Politburo affirmed the consistent policy: “The OV are an inseparable part and a resource of the Vietnamese nation”. The innovation of thinking that was reflected in the major directions mentioned in the above documents created a fundamental change in both awareness and action, promoting the strength of the whole political system and people in all work related to the OVs.
Following the 16-year implementation of Resolution No.36 and five years of Directive No.45, one outstanding result is the comprehensive development of supports for the OVs, helping them gradually improve their legal status, stabilise their lives and positively integrate into their host countries. During foreign activities and the gatherings of OVs in the homeland, Party and State leaders often met with them and listened to their thoughts and aspirations as well as asking leaders in the host countries to create favourable conditions for the OV. In many countries, the OV have become a bridge to enhance friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and the host governments.
For difficult areas or when the OV face troubles due to natural disasters and epidemics, the Party and State have always accompanied with them with the spirit of ““no one will be left behind”. During the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite numerous difficulties in the country, the Government has provided the OV with food and medical supplies as well as advisory documents and recommendations on epidemic prevention and control. Nearly 190 flights have been conducted to bring over 53,000 citizens home from over 50 countries and territories as of mid-October.
The work of supporting the OV community to enhance solidarity has been focused. So far, there are over 500 organisations and associations regularly in contact and coordinating with Vietnamese representative missions abroad to organise activities for the community and implementing Vietnamese courses and programmes contributing to preserving and promoting the nation’s cultural identities. Dozens of Vietnamese schools and classes have been created and operated under the Vietnamese State; and hundreds of teachers have received salaries and training. Through foreign affairs, Vietnamese has been recognised and taught as a second language in schools in various countries and territories where a large number of OV are living. Cultural and arts activities have been regularly updated to meet the spiritual demands of the OV.
The implementation of requirements and missions mentioned in Resolution No.36 and Directive No.45 on the mobilisation of more OV to further contribute to the country’s development, the development and implementation of policies related to the OV, from nationality to house ownership, immigration, investment, have been boosted and have gained many positive results, creating more favourable conditions for them to return home to live, work, invest and do business.
In the context of fourth industrial revolution, the mobilisation and attraction of the OVs’ resources have been increasingly developed. Over the past five years, a series of conferences, seminars and forums were held to connect overseas Vietnamese experts, scientists and entrepreneurs with domestic partners and colleagues. The mechanisms and policies related to encouraging the OV experts and intellectuals, especially young people, to return home to make scientific and technological activities and contribute their ideas to the country’s important issues, have been gradually perfected. Authorities have also enhanced support, consultation and the removal of obstacles for OV enterprises when they return home for investment and business; mobilised the OV to introduce, consume and develop the distribution channels of Vietnamese products abroad; and connect domestic enterprises with OV enterprises.
In addition to focusing on promoting OV resources, the mobilisation of OV aims to inspire patriotism, national pride and responsibility for their home country among them. Through the participation of practical activities such as Xuan Que Huong (Homeland Spring), summer camp and a visit to the Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago and the DK1 offshore platform, the expatriates witnessed the changes of the country and thoroughly grasped Uncle Ho’s teachings on solidarity. In response to the calls of Party General Secretary and President Nguyen Phu Trong, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and the Vietnam Fatherland Front, OV around the world have made practical efforts to support local people in overcoming the consequences of natural disasters and epidemics. When “the country calls out”, the hearts of milliosn of Vietnamese people around all five continents “share the same heart beat”, creating a great strength to protect independence, sovereignty, unification and the territorial integrity of the fatherland.
The above results prove that the work related to the OV has met the responsibilities assigned by the Party and State as well as the aspirations of the OV. However, it is also necessary to frankly admit that this work still faces many shortcomings and limitations. The support of the OV is vital in improving their legal status and stabilising their lives across several difficult areas. Despite positive achievements, the attraction of the OVs’ resource has not fully exploited in terms of the advantages of the OV in the fields of investment and trade as well as in promoting Vietnam’s image in the host countries. The teaching and studying Vietnamese and support of the OV in preserving national cultural identities have not met the needs of expatriates.
Consolidating national great unity bloc to serve development goal and integration
In the coming years, the world situation will continue to be complicated, affecting many aspects of the security environment and the development of the country, alternating advantages and challenges. Vietnam is entering a new strategic period (2021 - 2030) with higher requirements on development and integration. Therefore, the work related to the OV should seek strong, comprehensive and deep changes. On the basis of promoting the results achieved in the implementation of Directive No.45 and Resolution No.36, the OV work should focus on implementing the following major tasks:
Firstly, it is crucial to thoroughly grasp and consistently implement the Party's guidelines on strengthening the great national unity bloc in the new context as well as consider the OV community as “an inseparable part and resource of the Vietnamese nation” in building and implementing related policies. Vietnam will continue to develop relations with other countries in a deep, stable and sustainable manner to create favourable conditions for the OV to consolidate their legal status and feel secure in their work, study and business to better integrate in their host countries.
Secondly, the relevant agencies need to pay adequate attention to studying and assessing the potential and strengths as well as the legitimate demands, aspirations and interests of the OVs as a basis for the modification, supplementation and improvement of the efficiency of policies related to the OVs.
Thirdly, specific programmes and plans should be developed soon to enhance the attractiveness of both economic and knowledge resources, especially in the fields of the digital economy, society and government. The strengths of the OV intellectuals, especially young people, need to be upheld through their role as a “bridge” for cooperation and technology transfer.
Fourthly, it is crucial to review activities to support and connect Vietnamese people both in the country and abroad to make appropriate improvements in terms of content and form as well as making good use of information technology and the positive aspects of social networks, focusing on practicality and efficiency, in order to attract expatriates, especially the younger generation, to return home.
Fifthly, the enhancement of work related to the OV in the new situation is a common task for all ministries, agencies, localities and Vietnamese representative missions abroad. Therefore, the relevant agencies need to continue to consolidate their organisational structure and apparatus and improve the capacity of the cadres in the OV work; raise the efficiency of the collaboration among domestic and abroad resources to synchronously and promptly implement policies on the OV.
With great attention from the Party and State, the determination of agencies and organisations across the whole political system, and the consensus of the Vietnamese people both in the country and abroad, work related to the OV will continue to gain new achievements, contributing to firmly consolidating the great national unity bloc and developing the country even further. That is also the aspiration and belief of all Vietnamese people across all five continents. NDO
Pham Binh Minh
Ambassador Le Thi Tuyet Mai, head of the Permanent Mission of Vietnam to the UN, WTO and other international organisations in Geneva,
Recently, many documents have been issued, showing the guidelines of the Party and the State in creating conditions for overseas Vietnamese.