HO CHI MINH’S TRUE COLORS
By Nguyen Minh Can
The following article, “Some More Stories of Ho Chi Minh’s Life,”appeared on “The Ky 21” (21st Century Magazine) edition # 96, April 1997, published in Garden Grove, California, in Vietnamese. This is the most important facts about Ho Chi Minh private life ever revealed. Viet Quoc Home Page is thankful for the permission of The Ky 21 to publish this article on our home page.
Image: A typical People’s Court during the so-called “Land Reform Campaign” that killed hundreds of thousands of innocent peasants in North Vietnam (1953-1956)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR.
Mr. Nguyen Minh Can, born 1928, joined the Resistance against the French colonialist armed forces since 1945 when he was a student in Hue (Central Vietnam). He became a Communist Party member in 1946, serving in Hue areas as a member of the Thua Thien Provincial Party Standing Committee.
From 1951 to 1954, he served the clandestine party organization in Ha Noi, then under French control. When the Ho Chi Minh government took over Hanoi after the Geneva Agreement in October 1954, he was appointed a member of the Hanoi City Party Standing Committee.
In 1962, he was sent to Moscow for schooling in the Soviet Communist Party Superior Institute. He turned against the policies of the Ho Chi Minh regime, was threatened by and broke up with the Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP) – then “Workers’ Party” – in 1964. It was at the time when many VCP cadres and North Vietnam Army officers were arrested and sent to jail in the raids against the so-called “Anti-Party Revisionism.” He has been living in Moscow since then.
This article is one of his most recent writings that disclosed the true stories of Ho Chi Minh and his close subordinates for the first time. It is expected that after his disclosures, other VCP top figures would unveil more secrets behind the red curtains that cover the backstage of the VCP regime.
SOME MORE STORIES OF HO CHI MINH’S LIFE
The writer of this article hopes to supplement some more “stories” into the book “Stories of President Ho’s Life in (Revolutionary) Activities” by Tran Dan Tien, who – as orally explained “from Above” (1) when the book was published for the first time in North Vietnam – was an eminent journalist having opportunities to grasp knowledge of His life.” Actually, in the 1950’s, none of the great majority of the cadres, let alone the (common) people, had ever heard of that name and known who was that “eminent journalist” Tran Dan Tien, the author of that “immortal” book. Only a handful of high ranking cadres whispered in each other’s ears the state secret: “…Who else?”
Not until much later, after several decades, were people dumbfounded by the fact that the “who else” author, the legendary Mr. Tran Dan Tien, was just Mr. Nguyen Tat Thanh, also just Mr. Nguyen Ai Quoc and at last, just Mr. Ho Chi Minh. So far, however, the state media in Vietnam is still keeping mum about the story (hiding the story as a cat buries its waste). To my knowledge, it seems that in the Communist “world,” there have been only two leaders, Stalin and Ho Chi Minh, who have directly participated into “creating” their own biographies to be handed down to posterity. I say “seems” because I do not know accurately how Mr. Kim Il Sung has cast a spell on his own biography. The blood-stained dictator Stalin did not blatantly write his biography himself, but he assigned the task to a group in the party central committee who compiled the book under his guidance, and at last he “only” revised his biography before publishing. But “a man like our President Ho, with such modesty…” (quoted from “Stories of…” page 7), himself wrote his own biography, extolling and praising himself to repletion, then taking advantages of the confusion of the people, he signed the author’s name as Tran Dan Tien. It was indeed a disgrace to human conscience.
However, I truthfully advise those of you who have the book “Stories of President Ho’s Life in His Activities” not to angrily throw it away, thus wasting your money. On the contrary, you should read it again once in a while to be well aware of the true portrait of the man who wrote it. Right from the first pages, you have seen this passage: “Many writers, journalists in Vietnam and from foreign countries wanted to write the biography of the President of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, but so far, none of them succeeded. The reason is simple: President Ho Chi Minh does not like to speak about his life.” in another section: “I,” said the legendary Tran Dan Tien, “clearly express my intention. The President listened to me attentively. Then He laughed and said: ‘Biography. That’s a good idea. But there are many things the more essential. So many compatriots are in needy circumstances. After eighty years under foreign domination, our country was devastated, now we have to reconstruct it. We should do those extremely urgent tasks first! As to my biography …we’ll talk about it later.'” Then Tran Dan Tien (!) concluded: “A man like our President Ho, with such modesty while He was very busy with so much work, how could He recount to me His whole life.” Or in the passage about the time “when President Ho Chi Minh was only a young boy of fifteen years old,” but that fifteen-year-old boy had enough knowledge and was impudent enough to carp at elders, even the heroes in our history who were at the age of his father or uncles, such as Phan Dinh Phung, Hoang Hoa Tham, Phan Chu Trinh and Phan Boi Chau. Or in another passage: “And the Vietnamese people, one and all, obey President Ho, because they completely trust in President Ho, they completely respect President Ho. Nothing can be compared to the Vietnamese people’s reverence for leader Ho Chi Minh. Many foreign journalists and friends have been very surprised about the reverence of the Vietnamese people for The Old Father Ho Chi Minh. But to us Vietnamese, it is easy to understand.”
There are many, a great many such “gems” (2). But let me stop. By the way, it is just mentioned in general. However, the objective of the author of this article is not to talk about the book “Stories of President Ho…” but to supplement the portrait of Mr. Ho Chi Minh with some more features on the occasion of “His” birthday in May, although it has been well known that even the date, the month and the year of “His” birth were all “phia” – or fibs- (please allow me to use this [Vietnamese] oral term, that means blatant lies), and at the worst, for many years, even the date of “His” death was “phia” as well. Naturally, in the latter case, ‘He” held no responsibility. However, to a man whose date, month , year of birth and death were all made up, is there anything to assure that “Stories” related by “himself” have not been concocted? Anyway, May is also an occasion to “memorize Him!” Some “stories” I am going to tell are those about President Ho Chi Minh which were related to “the women issue.” (Of course they are not about the liberation of women) and not in the periods he was in France, Russia, China (because there have been a lot of articles on newspapers about these periods). ” These “stories” took place during his time in Vietnam, and only in a few years after the communist government took over the French “temporarily occupied areas.”
AN AUTOMOBILE HOMICIDE
After leaving Hanoi for Moscow to attend the party advanced school of the Soviet Party Central committee in 1962, and particularly after I had denounced (Vietnamese) communist party membership in early June 1964, my mind have been always haunted by an event that I felt more and more clearly that there had been something full of injustice, shady, very serious that while being abroad for decades, many times I felt my hands tied, unable to find the truth.
Here how the story was: in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when I was the vice chairman of Ha Noi City administration committee, I used to visit the subordinate organizations daily. But that morning of Spring as far as I could remember, I am working on my shift at the City Administration Committee. Mr. Nguyen Quoc Hung, a member of the committee in charge of its office came to me and anxiously said: “I would like to report to you an event. An woman was run over by an automobile on Nhat Tan street toward Chemvillage…” I quietly looked at him with a little surprise. A quick thought flashed in my mind, usually, an auto accident in Hanoi is not a rare case, why did he report it to me?. He continued while I calmly listened: “But, after the investigation, it was not a car running over a person, but looked like a set-up accident… ” He paused for a moment then added: “According the report, the car involved in the accident drove from the President Palace.. ” His last words …”from the President Palace..” caused a strong impact on me. At that time, however, I never thought this might have related to the president whom I truthfully respected and trusted. A quick thought came through my mind: May be those who served the President Palace had done something dirty to her, murdered her then staged the fake auto accident. After thinking for a moment, I said to Mr. Hung: “According to a decision from the Higher, every police and court matter will be handled by the secretary, specially any thing related to the Higher. This matter is not under the authority of the City administration committee or party committee. So today you’d better go report promptly to Mr. Tuyen for his decisions.
Seeing me the next day, Mr. Quoc Hung told me that he had already reported the accident to Mr. Tuyen and that Tuyen said he’ll work directly with Mr. Than on that matter. ( Mr. Le Quoc Than, Director of the Hanoi Public Security department at that time. Later, he became vice minister of the Public Security Ministry). About a week later, I met Mr. Tran Danh Tuyen, secretary of the City party committee and also vice chairman of the City administration committee. I asked him about the investigation, but he chillybrushed it aside: “Done. It is already done.” I understood that it was not favorable for an open dialog, so I kept silent
In July 1993, I met the writer Vu Thu Hien who was “in the same boat” with me, that is both of us had involved in the “trial of the revisionists – party antagonists,” when he successfully fled to Moscow, and I told him that mystery. He jumped for apparent joy. It seemed that because he had just found out another person who knew that “inner royal palace secret,” and the story I told him once more confirmed what his father Mr. Vu Dinh Huynh had entrusted him. He promptly said: “The car was not driven from the President Palace but from Hang Bong Nhuom to Nhat Tan village…” I replied: “It was Mr. Quoc Hung told me so!.” He slowly unbosomed himself: “One day, my Daddy took me for a drive. We went to Ho Tay (3), then followed Quang Ba road toward Nhat Tan village. We were at Dao village, you knew the place, didn’t you?” I answered him in Northern style: “Known too well, naturally. Since 1951, I was in charge of the very suburbs. ..” Being sure I knew well the terrain of this area, he continued that his father stopped the car, both left it, then his father led him to a place on the road with a grove of guava trees on one side, so it seems, and told him: “Son! Remember what I am going to tell you. This is the place which marked a terrible injustice, a murder that Mr. Tran Quoc Hoan (member of the Politburo, Minister of Public Security) was the main culprit. Memorize the story and when you have an opportunity, speak up the truth…”
Here how it happened: There is a young girl from the Nung ethnic group in Cao Bang, called Nong Thi Xuan She was brought in to “serve” Uncle Ho. She brought her younger sister Nong Thi Vang and a female cousin with her to Hanoi. Later she had a boy child with Uncle Ho. The boy was named Nguyen. Tat Trung. There was also a rumor that she had with him another girl child named Nguyen Thi Trinh. Then Mr. Tran Quoc Hoan raped her at the house in Hang Bong Nhuom, murdered her and covered the crime by fabricating an auto accident on Nhat Tan. After the older sister was killed, the younger sister ran back to Cao Bang and was also be murdered to get rid of the clues. Her cousin could not escape his bloody hands either. Vang’s fiancé already wrote a letter to inform against the culprit.
The story Mr. Vu Thu Hien told me did cast some more lights but could not fulfill my desire to find out the facts; so I continued to try to clear up the case. In recent years, thanks to the situation being easier for people to go back and forth between Vietnam and Russia; some people related to me more valuable details to complement my information. However, all of those stories were only whispered by one to another, without any evidence or substantial document confirming them to support my confidence. Fortunately, a person I knew has shown me lately a document with concrete details that basically verified my findings during the past years.. After carefully examining the document, I strongly believed it was trustworthy. The document was a five-page letter of the fiancé of Vang, who was murdered. The letter was dated July 29, 1983, and sent to Mr. Nguyen Huu Tho, then president of the National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Also attached was a single page letter of some disabled veterans, his comrades-in-arms. The letter was not dated, probably sent on the same date to Mr. Nguyen Huu Tho, chairman of the National Assembly, Mr. Le Duan, the General Secretary of Vietnam Communist Party, Mr. Pham Van Dong, the prime minister, Mr. Pham Hung, Vice Primier. It denounced the criminal acts of the culprits who murdered many innocent people. But there was a “dilemma,” because, the friend who gave me the document twice reminded me “not to publish the document,” so I could not do anything against the wish of the document “owner.”
However, I always hoped that he will reconsider his decision and he himself, or someone he entrusts if he feels inconvenient, soon release the complete document to fulfill the wishes of the innocent people who were murdered, and of those who, in spite of risks “wrote this letter with blood mixed in tears as ink .” wrote this letter… (original).” Frankly to say, the authors of the letter were so brave and respectable.Because of Truth, they defied death, when they wrote lines full of grief, irony and defiance to the current rulers and regime; their voice resounded like screams of agony and resentment that have been suppressed and stifled by the communist rulers for decades. … “We, the disabled soldiers who shed ourblood for the independence of the country, for freedom and justice of people, sincerely request Your Honors, for the sake of truth, investigate to find and fairly sentence the murderers by hanging them publicly or secretly. Otherwise, if because of your gang, you must protect the culprits, so you are unable to punish this cruel ring, we would ask Your Honors’ permission to widely publicize this dirty crime to all disabled veterans and soldiers so that they SACRIFICE THEMSELVES TO PROTECT YOUR THRONES. Furthermore, we would announce the dirty murder of Mr. HO CHI MINH’s wife to the whole world, so that all the humankind could believe in Your Honors’ excellent regime. We are the half-dead disabled veterans. If because of this matter Your Honors would send us to prison or get rid of us, we will not be afraid at all, but probably (such measures) may spare us from the suffering.”
THE CASE OF MS PHUONG MAI.
At this point, I recalled Nguyen Chi Thien, who risked his life and defied all dangers to burst in the British Embassy in Hanoi to hand over his poems so that they could be sent abroad. Without such brave persons, how could we protect Truth against wickedness? Following my friend’s instruction, I do not announce this document in full. But I realized that I have an obligation to share with everybody what I have found out in the last few years, in order to make clear the fact that has been concealed for the past 40 years, and to partly respond, though too late, to the last wishes of the souls of victims died from injustice who are harboring resentment in the other world. Moreover, right inside Vietnam, the brave clandestine journal “Nguoi Sai Gon” (the Saigonese), “the voice of people who crave for freedom of speech” also raised this issue last year in the article “Writing to Dao Duy Tung.” And I am certain that the writer Vu Thu Hien could not ignore this in his memoir “Dem Giua Ban Ngay” (Darkness at Noon). But what I want to make clear is that the crimes of the vile culprits in the massacre of the serial victims, though really horrible and terrible, are not the principal subjects of this article, because my intention is only to complement some strokes of truth into the portrait of the first president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
Before relating the above-mentioned story, I would like to tell another story, that sounds really nonsense at first, but it could help us understand a lot of facts. Generally speaking, at that time when I was still in Vietnam, cadres in the North (and maybe in the South as well), even in private conversation, never dared to utter a word about the leaders other than adoration and praises beside stipulated patterns, such as “grateful to the Uncle, to the Party.” The leaders’ personality cult has been sown so deeply in the cadres’ and people’s subconscious that everyone assumed talking about the leaders without eulogy and adoration, particularly speaking of the leaders’ private life was a horrifying “taboo,” and that was the most forbidden, firstly because it was very dangerous to the speakers. There were only certain high ranking cadres who, sometimes filled with enthusiasm, could have allowed themselves to lightly “touch ” on the leaders to the extent that would not cause them to be “guillotined.” Naturally, such actions were not without risks. Once I happened to join a similar “disordered chat.” On a day after a meeting of the City Party committee, most of the members left, only three of us stayed: Tran Danh Tuyen, secretary of the Hanoi City Party Committee, Tran Vy, deputy secretary, and I. While we were exchanging trifling talks, Tran Vy suddenly asked in a low voice: “How about it, does the Phuong Mai affair succeed?” Tran Danh Tuyen said: “Failed!” Tran Vy continued: “She is pretty enough, isn’t she? Why does it fail?” Carried away by the talk, I chipped in a remark: “Pretty enough… so why General Nguyen Son (4) cried down her flat bosom, useless…” All of the three burst out laughing then Tran Danh Tuyen lowered his voice and said: “She wanted to make it official but… the Uncle and the men (the Politburo) said that the Uncle staying single would be beneficial to his political prestige..”
Here is the story: At that time, there was a suggestion that Ho need a wife so that his “sex life” could be regulated, and this would be good for his health. After the 1954 Geneva Agreement, they selected the most “cute” among the young women cadres, that was Nguyen Thi Phuong Mai, a member of Thanh Hoa Province Party Committee and brought her from the 4th Region (5) to Hanoi to introduce her to him. As you have known from the “disordered chat” above, she raised the issue of an official marriage. That was why the attempt failed. Later, she was appointed vice minister of the Disabled Veterans Ministry and she settled permanently in Hanoi.
HOW WAS XUAN MURDERED?
Now, going back to the story of the Cao Bang women. From recently told stories verified by documents, there are two slightly different details (those women’s last name was Nguyen, and Xuan only had one child with Ho), besides that, other details basically are similar. The actual incidence happened as follows: Nguyen Thi Xuan (nickname Sang), and her female cousin, Nguyen Thi Vang, 22 years old, born at Ha Ma hamlet, Hong Viet village, Hoa An district, Cao Bang province; in the late 1954, Xuan volunteered as a ward orderly in a quartermaster unit. After few months, a member of the Party Central Committee, Quartermaster General Tran Dang Ninh, talked to Xuan a few times, then at the beginning of 1955 had Xuan driven to Hanoi, saying “to serve uncle Ho.” A few months later, Xuan also asked to have Vang andNguyet (daughter of Hoang Van De, Xuan’s maternal uncle) live with her at 66 Hang Bong Nhuom, Hanoi. As the other leaders did not let Xuan stay with Uncle Ho in the president palace, Tran Quoc Hoan, minister of the Public Security Ministry, was asked to directly supervise Xuan, that was why Xuan was living at 66 Hang Bong Nhuom, a house belonged to the Public Security Agency. At the end of 1956,Xuan gave birth to a boy. Ho named him Nguyen Tat Trung.
“My duty was to take care of the boy,” Vang said to her fiancé before she was murdered. Thanks to what Vang related, now we know the following events. Around Feb. 6 or 7, 1957, Tran Quoc Hoan visited them, after some idle talk, he pulled Xuan to a small room, and was about to rape her. Xuan uttered stifled sounds, Vang screamed in fear, Nguyet was so scared that she coiled herself up in a corner. Fortunately, there was the sound of window slammed against the wall from the ground floor, Hoan was startled and let Xuan free and drew his pistol to threaten them: “Be quiet or I will kill you all.” He walked downstairs, got in a car and drove away. A few days later, Hoan came again, walked upstairs, stepped right into the room, embraced Xuan and kissed her. Xuan pushed him away: “Behave yourself, I am the president’s wife.” “I know that you are important, Madam, but your life is in my hands.” said Hoan. He pointed the gun at her chest, and pulled out a parachute cord with a slip knot and noosed it around Xuan’s neck, pulled her onto the bed, took off her clothes, feasted his eyes on her, then raped her. She was ashamed and covered her face with her hands. He pushed her hands away and said: “Isn’t it better to have sex with a young guy than with an old man, but you pretend to be a virgin.”
From then on, Xuan became Hoan’s sex toy. He told Xuan to warn her sister and cousin to keep their mouth shut, otherwise, they all would be killed. They were then very afraid of being killed, so in a discussion Vang suggested that they run away but Xuan said: “After Trung was born, I asked uncle Ho: ‘Now that I have a son, please make me and our son known to the public.’ Uncle Ho said: ‘Such request of yours is equitable. But it must be agreed by the Politburo, especially Truong Chinh, Le Duc Tho, Hoang Quoc Viet. So you have to wait for a while…’ A few weeks ago, uncle Ho again asked me that whether or not there were strangers visiting us. I told him we did not have any acquaintance here, and our relatives in Cao Bang did not know where we were. Uncle Ho said ‘isn’t it possible that the minister of Public Security was lying?’ I am thinking a lot before figuring out that he (Hoan) wanted to calumniate us of being related to some spies or secret agents, to save himself if his crime is exposed. If we should run away now, we would not be able to escape from his hands, but he would make false accusations to get our brothers and sisters killed. It serves me right if I am killed now, I only repent having brought you here to share my doom..”
On Feb. 11, 1957, at 7 o’clock in the evening, a command car (6) which usually drove Xuan to see Ho stopped at the front of the house. Ninh, nickname Ninh Xom (Shaggy Ninh), Ho’s bodyguard, told Xuan: “Come to see uncle Ho.” She got dressed, wore some perfume then got in the car. Ta Quang Chien (a member of Ho bodyguard team, later became the deputy director of the General Department of Gymnastics and Sports) drove the car away. In the next morning, Feb. 12, a Hanoi public security cadre came to inform that Xuan was killed in an auto accident, her body was at the dead house in the Phu Doan hospital. Hurriedly, Vang gave the boy to Nguyet, got in the public security car for the Hospital, but she was not permitted to get inside the dead house. After about one hour, a doctor came out, read a report that generally said: the corpse bore no wound, no sign of beating or cutting. Internal examination found nowound on the insides, no poison in the stomach, no sperm inside the uterus as a sign of rape. Only the top of her skull was cracked, a liquid oozed out. The doctor said the victim could have been enveloped in a blanket then hit by a hammer right on her crown. After that, Vang rushed home to tell Nguyet. Both were crying.
Some time later, a public security cadre came and took Trung away, the two cousins did not know where Trung was taken to. Later, Vang was sent to a nursing training course of the Viet Bac Autonomous Region in the town of Thai Nguyen. Vang did not know Nguyet’s whereabouts, alive or dead. After fewmonths of training, Vang was transferred to Cao Bang hospital and luckily meeting her fiancé there, she told him what happened. She told her lover: “I think you only have a minor wound, you might live longer, please tell all the people about this dirty incident. I am sure that they will kill me because I have told thisstory to many friends here. The murderers are still following me. Here, in Cao Bang, once I saw Ninh Xom coming to see the doctor in charge of the hospital, later they said I am mentally ill, and transferred me to Hoa An hospital for treatment.”
This story is from Vang’s fiancé: “I only saw Vang for about one month. On Nov. 2, 1957, Vang came home to visit her maternal uncle Hoang Van De, the assassins followed then killed her, her body was thrown into Bang Giang river, the corpse had not emerged until Nov. 5th at Hoang Bo. At the news, I ran back to Hoang Bo when her body had already been examined and buried. According to some rumors, her skull was crushed; her money and a wristwatch were intact and her relatives had already claimed her corpse to bury. There were many people killed in this criminal case: Xuan, a wife of Mr. Ho Chi Minh, my fiancée Vang, Miss Nguyet, and many from Thai Nguyen Nursing School whom Vang told the story were also killed when they retold it to others. It has been many years, I am heart-broken to find ways to revenge Vang, but I am helpless, I have to bear this injustice in silence awaiting for the end of my life.”
QUESTIONS ABOUT HO CHI MINH
As to the little boy Nguyen Tat Trung, after his mother’s death, he was left in the care of Mr. Nguyen Luong Bang (7), at around 4-5 years old he was entrusted to Mr. Chu Van Tan (8); when he was 13 years old in 1969, after President Ho died, he was adopted by Vu Ky, Ho’s former special secretary, and his name changed to Vu Trung. I would like to pass over other details and stop here, as up to now, it has been enough to draw some primary conclusions related to the main topic:
1) I always remind myself that not to “snoop” into the others’ personal life, even of the leaders. It is normal for them to have wives, and children. Ho, as well as any leader, or anyone else, can have a normal sex life, family life, wife, children, can divorce and remarry … They are matters that nobody should interfere in.. The extreme cases such as a married leader committing adultery, having an affair with some woman, as in the case of Lenin, or at the quite obvious presence of the wife, shamelessly sleeping with other women, one after another, as in the case of Mao Tse Tung, or going wild with women and fathering children with them, as in the case of Karl Marx, (these cases as I mention are not groundless, many historians and journalists have already written enough about, with undeniable evidence), should be criticized, but that do not matter, the skies will not collapse because of that! Probably only the stupid, feudalistic mind of the arrogant communist leaders, who think of themselves as “wisdom, honor, and conscience of the era” or “the summit of human wisdom,” still insist on polishing the leaders’ images to make them living gods, at least supermen, no wife, no children … to enhance their political prestige. Then the private life of the leaders keeps being covered up as the national top secrets, whoever just touch upon it will be unmercifully punished. Look at it ! The recent incident where the party harshly disciplined Kim Hanh, Tuoi Tre Magazine’s editor-in-chief, for the only reason that the magazine dared to slightly refer to Ho’s marriage when he was in China, is the proof of the stupid, dictatorial, and ridiculous heads of such a ring. Obviously, how a man treats women, his wife, his children reflects the entire manner, quality, virtue of a human being, and those are what should be mentioned about and used to judge a leader. a. If Xuan was truly his wife, why he did not let her stay at his own place inside the President Palace, instead of letting her live at 66 Hang Bong Nhuom, (whoever knows the ways around Hanoi could easily figure out the distance between the two places) the house owned by the public security department, under the direct supervision of the Minister of Public Security Tran Quoc Hoan and only when Ho “needed to be served” her, was a car sent to get her to the President Palace? In those years, Ho was not losing his power to a degree that Truong Chinh, Le Duc Tho, Hoang Quoc Viet could interfere in his romantic life and control Ho in such a way. He was still a declared supreme leader, chairman of the party.
b. If Ho truly treated Xuan as his wife, why after her giving birth to a boy, he still let both of them stay at 66 Hang Bong Nhuom and when the boy’s mother passed away, he did not take care of his son, but passing him around from one guardian to another until the boy was 13 years old, which was the year Ho died, “someone” (it is difficult to know whether it is the Politburo’s decision or the will of the boy’s own father?) had Vu Ky adopt the child? And be noticed that Vu Ky (who would never by his own idea) changed the boy’s name to Vu Trung, to erase the sinful trace of a man whose family name is Nguyen Tat! (9) Objectively speaking, it seemed that Ho did not have any love for his own son. How such a man could love the others’ children?
3) In my opinion, it is difficult to deny that from the beginning to the end, Ho and his courtiers, the members of the Central Committee, the members of the Politburo, did badly delude Xuan, an innocenthighland woman, misleading Xuan into thinking that Ho was really planning to marry her. After giving birth to the boy, she asked Ho to make her and her son “known to the public” (to legalize the status), Ho acted as if he understood and approved her request as equitable, but on the other hand, he pointed to the members of the Politburo to tell her that those gentlemen, not him, had the right to decide and he had to wait for their opinions, as if he were not the “supreme leader,” nor the chairman of the party, as if he were under the other members of the Politburo. He also gently persuaded Xuan: “You have to wait for a little longer!” Poor Miss Xuan, she was waiting, waiting … until she was killed!
4) There are many other unsolved mysteries which until now, are unable to find the answer: Why could Tran Quoc Hoan behave in such a shameless and disgraceful manner to Xuan? Even though she was not Ho’s legal wife, still she was the leader’s “mistress” (as it is a common term now in Vietnam)! How could he has the guts to commit such sacrilege? Might he know well that Xuan was out of Ho’s favor, namely some of his unpassionate attitude toward her, so he boldly committed such a dirty act? Might he know in advance some decision on her fate, so he thought that “if he did not make use of her, he would let a godsend opportunity pass,” as she would die sooner or later?
As to the questions he raised to Xuan about whether or not strangers often visited her place, what do they mean? Was it true that Ho had been primed about what to say by the minister of Public Security? Were the murders of Xuan, Vang, Nguyet, etc. coming from Tran Quoc Hoan’s personal plot , or from the contention of a group, if it was from a group, which group, did Ho know anything about it? What was the responsibilities of Ho, the Politburo, the Public Security Ministry, and Tran Quoc Hoan? Why those events, from the birth of Trung (around the end of 1956) to the time Hoan raped Trung’s mother (Feb. 6 or 7, 1957), as well as from the rape to the date Trung’s mother was killed (Feb. 11, 1957) were so close. What did it means? etcetera and etcetera…. Hopefully, there would be a day, best detectives like Maigrets, or criminal specialists could put together their minds and their efforts to help bring several questions to light.
Ho Chi Minh was a historic figure who greatly influenced the fate of Vietnam and its people in many decades of the 20th century. Like it or not, nobody could deny that fact. That influence is good or bad, both good and bad, more good than bad or vice versa? How about his credits, his wrongdoings, only credits without any wrongdoing, or only wrongdoings without credits, or half and half? Was he a saint, a superman, or a commoner, a beguiler, a scoundrel? Was he a symbol of virtue with kind heart, or an immoral, unethical person with a dishonest heart? All these questions will not be answered until an objective, careful, in-depth, detail, overall study is completed, and ultimately, we have to wait for the pondering and judgment of History. History has been inferred from many thousand credible facts. Profoundly aware of that, the author of this article is not ambitious at all to judge the life of the first president of the Republic Democratic of Vietnam. As stated at the beginning, my little wish is only to contribute “few stories” from which the readers can see some true features of the large scale and giantportrait which has been embellished with great efforts by the Vietnamese Communist rulers. By the way, the following is a side story which is meaningful. When Vu Thu Hien was still living in Moscow, “they” ferreted out that he was writing some memoir, and probably guessed that he might have certain “stories.” So one day, the Vietnamese muggers, lay in wait for Hien getting in the elevator then rushed in, stabbed him in the buttock, snatched the key ring, and broke in the apartment. They did not touch his money at all, only looked for documents and took with them computer diskettes which stored his unfinished memoir. When they got away, Hien called me right away. A few days later, he let me know that one of them called and told him to get “there and there” in Moscow if he wanted to get back the computer diskettes, and according to him, the said place was in the apartment building of the Vietnamese Embassy staff in Russia. To assure me, Hien said, “Fortunately, I have taken preventive measures against this incident. You are not to worry.” Not long after that, Hien came and gave me his 74-page memoir (10). Some more time later, he quietly left Russia to find a safer place to “settle”. I am telling this story to show the highly sensitivity of certain people toward stories which do not flow within the channels of their leaders, and “they” are ready to launch out into any criminal, insane, adventurous acts just to … cover up the truth.
However, for the sake of truth, is there any reason that we have a right to bury or let someone bury the truth? On the contrary, at all costs, we must find every way to return to History all real, objective, undistorted, uncolored facts so everything and everybody can be judged precisely and fairly. Justice so requires!
March 10th, 1997
Notes by translators:
(1) From the leadership, respectful term used only in Vietnamese Communists’ language.
(2) Beautiful passages in a writing.
(3) “West Lake, ” a large and beautiful lake just outside Hanoi.
(4) A well-known general during the Anti-French Resistance, who was in disagreement with Ho Chi Minh and Vo Ngyen Giap, was said to be once a commander of a Red Army unit in the Korean War.
(5) Former administrative region from Thanh Hoa to Quang Binh, the panahandle area.
(6) A military jeep of Soviet model.
(7) The vice president to Ho Chi Minh
(8) A three-star general, also a leader of Tho ethnic group which included Nong Thi Xuan.
(9) Ho’s true family name and middle name.
(10) The memoir “Dem Giua Ban Ngay,” (Darkness at Noon) by Vu Thu Hien , about 750 pages, was published in Vietnamese and could be available at Vietnamese bookstores in Western countries. Vu Thu Hien is the son of Vu Dinh Huynh, former private secretary of Ho Chi Minh.