Vietnam Intelligence Agencies
https://www.history.navy.mil/research/library/online-reading-room/title-list-alphabetically/d/the-drvn-strategic-intelligence-service.html The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is an authoritarian state ruled by a single party, the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV). The Ministry of Public Security is responsible for internal security and controls the national police, a special national security investigative agency, and other internal security units. The Vietnam People’s Army aids civilian authorities to provide relief in times of natural disaster. Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the security forces. The law provides for an independent judiciary and lay assessors, but the judiciary was effectively under the control of the CPV, through the Ministry of Public Security. During the year there were credible reports political influence, endemic corruption, bribery, and inefficiency strongly distorted the judicial system. Most, if not all, judges were members of the CPV and underwent screening by the CPV and local officials during their selection process to determine their suitability. There continued to be credible reports that authorities pressured defense lawyers not to take religious or democracy activists as clients and questioned their motivations for doing so. Authorities also restricted, harassed, arrested, and disbarred human rights attorneys who represented political activists. While the new penal code maintained the requirement for attorneys to violate attorney-client privilege in cases relating to national security or other serious crimes, it did away with such requirements for other, less serious offenses. Courts use an inquisitorial system, in which the judge plays the primary role of asking questions and ascertaining facts in a trial. Significant human rights issues included: unlawful or arbitrary killings by the government; forced disappearance; torture by government agents; arbitrary arrests and detentions by the government; political prisoners; significant problems with the independence of the judiciary; arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy; the worst forms of restrictions on free expression, the press, and the internet, including arbitrary arrest and prosecution of government critics, censorship, site blocking, and criminal libel laws; substantial interference with the rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of association; significant restrictions on freedom of movement including exit bans on activists; restrictions on political participation; significant acts of corruption; outlawing of independent trade unions; trafficking in persons; and use of compulsory child labor. NGOs estimated that as of November 2019 authorities held between 100 and 260 individuals for political or religious reasons. According to an NGO, from January 1 to September 25, authorities detained 19 and convicted 31 individuals (most detained in previous years) who were exercising internationally recognized human rights, such as freedom of expression and association. The majority of these convictions were linked to blogging and street protests. Prison officials often held political prisoners in small groups separate from the general inmate population and treated them differently. Some political prisoners enjoyed better material conditions but were subject to more psychological harassment. In other cases, political prisoners were subject to harassment from both prison authorities and other inmates, the latter sometimes at the instigation of officials. In many cases, political prisoners’ daily schedules were different from those of the general inmate population and they were not afforded the opportunity to leave their cells for work or interaction with the general prison population. The CPV, government, and partycontrolled mass media organizations exercised legal authority over all print, broadcast, online, and electronic media, primarily through the Ministry of Information and Communications under the overall guidance of the CPV Propaganda and Education Commission. The law requires editors in chief to be CPV members; many outlets apply this to additional managers as well. Many nongovernmental entities, however, produced and distributed publications by subcontracting, joint-publishing, or buying permits from government or other public publishing entities. State-run media reported private entities produced more than 90 percent of all publications in the country, although outright private ownership or operation of any media outlet or publishing house was prohibited. Media independent of government authority operated on a limited basis online, primarily via blogs and social media, but independent journalists faced government harassment. There continued to be a significant number of reports of security officials attacking, threatening, or arresting journalists because of their coverage of sensitive stories. Propaganda officials forced editors of major media outlets to meet regularly to discuss what topics were off-limits for reporting. More often, pervasive selfcensorship, including among independent journalists and bloggers, due to the threat of dismissal and possible arrest, enabled the party and government to control media content. The government punished journalists for failing to self-censor, including by revoking journalists’ press credentials. The constitution affords individuals the right of association, but the government severely restricted freedom of association. Seeking to suppress unwelcome political and religious activities, the country’s legal and regulatory framework includes mechanisms particularly aimed at restricting the freedom of NGOs, including religious organizations, to organize and act. The government generally prohibited the establishment of private, independent organizations, insisting that persons work within established, party-controlled mass organizations. Citizens must register with local police when staying overnight in any location outside of their own homes; the government appeared to enforce these requirements more strictly in some Central and Northern Highlands districts. Foreign passport holders also needed to register to stay in private homes, although there were no known cases of local authorities refusing to allow foreign visitors to stay with friends or family. There were multiple reports of police using the excuse of “checking on residency registration” to intimidate and harass activists and prevent them from traveling outside of their place of registration. Authorities did not strictly enforce residency laws for the general population, and migration from rural areas to cities continued unabated. Moving without permission, however, hampered persons from obtaining legal residence permits, public education, and health-care benefits. http://bocongan.gov.vn/
Ministry of Public Security / Bo Cong anThere were reports indicating officials or other agents under the command of the Ministry of Public Security or provincial public security departments committed arbitrary or unlawful killings, including reports of at least seven deaths implicating law enforcement officers on duty. In most cases, authorities either provided little information on investigations into the deaths or stated the deaths were the result of suicide or medical problems. Authorities sometimes harassed and intimidated families who questioned the police determination of cause of death. In a small number of cases, the government held police officials responsible, typically several years after the death. Despite guidance from the Supreme People’s Court to charge police officers responsible for deaths in custody with murder, such officers typically faced lesser charges. Family members of individuals who died in police custody reported harassment and abuse by local authorities. The Ministry of Public Security maintained a system of household registration and block wardens to monitor unlawful activity. While this system was less intrusive than in the past, the ministry closely monitored individuals engaged in or suspected of engaging in unauthorized political activities. Family members of activists reported numerous incidents of physical harassment, intimidation, and questioning by Ministry of Public Security officials. Harassment also occurred at workplaces and included threatening telephone calls and insulting activists in local media and online and attacks on activists’ homes with rocks, gasoline bombs, and shrimp paste. The government also continued to use broad national security and antidefamation provisions to restrict freedom of expression. Such laws establish the crimes of “sabotaging the infrastructure of socialism,” in addition to “sowing divisions between religious and nonreligious people” and “propagandizing against the state” as serious offenses against national security. It also expressly forbids “taking advantage of democratic freedoms and rights to violate the interests of the state or lawful rights and interests of organizations or individuals.” In 2017 the Ministry of Public Security released a five-year review of its implementation of criminal judgements covering 2011-16, the most recent period for which such information was available. The report acknowledged a lack of quality infrastructure, and that overcrowding was an ongoing challenge. The report stated the average floor space was 5.44 square feet per prisoner, compared with the standard requirement of 6.6 square feet per prisoner. Former prisoners reported police beat individuals in custody with books to prevent visible bruising. Prison officials failed to prevent prisoner-on-prisoner violence. On March 19, prisoner Nguyen Tien Anh killed his cellmate Tran Van Loi with a knife in the Xuan Ha (Ha Tinh province) prison canteen following a drunken fight. Some former and serving prisoners and their families reported prisoners received insufficient, poor-quality food. Family members continued to make credible claims prisoners received extra food or other preferential treatment by paying bribes to prison officials. Detention without warrants is a common practice. Lawyers and human rights NGOs reported that, in many cases, police officers “invited” individuals to present themselves at police stations without being given a clear rationale. These individuals might be held for hours and questioned or requested to write or sign reports. Many such cases had nothing to do with political or sensitive circumstances. There were, nonetheless, numerous instances where activists were taken into custody by plainclothes individuals without an arrest warrant. The criminal code imposes a time limit for detention while under investigation, including for “serious” and “particularly serious” crimes. For the latter, an individual may be held for 20 months. The allowable time for temporary detention during an investigation, equivalent to pretrial detention, varies depending on the offense: three months for less serious offenses, 16 months for the most serious cases, and 20 months for “especially serious” crimes. These limits were exceeded with impunity, and police and prosecutors used these lengthy periods of pretrial detention to punish or to pressure human rights defenders to confess to crimes, activists said. The law allows the Supreme People’s Procuracy to detain an individual “until the investigation finishes” in cases of “particularly serious crimes,” including national security cases. Only after the investigation is completed are suspects formally charged. While a suspect is detained, authorities may deny family visits; they routinely denied such visits for those arrested under national security and related laws, such as laws against “disrupting public order.” Arbitrary arrest and detention, particularly for political activists and individuals protesting land seizures or other injustices, remained a serious problem. Activists reported Ministry of Public Security officials assaulted political prisoners to extract confessions or used other means to induce written confessions, including instructing fellow prisoners to assault them or making promises of better treatment. Some activists also reported that authorities used routine police interrogations to obtain incriminating information concerning other human rights activists. Authorities subjected many religious and political activists to varying degrees of arbitrary detention in their residences, in vehicles, at local police stations, at “social protection centers,” or at local government offices. Officials also frequently detained human rights activists upon their return from overseas trips. Such detentions were most common around and during events that were likely to draw significant public attention. By law security forces need public prosecutorial orders to enter homes forcibly, but Ministry of Public Security officers regularly entered homes, particularly of activists, without legal authority. They often intimidated residents with threats of repercussions for failure to allow entry. Without legal warrants, authorities regularly opened and censored targeted private mail; confiscated packages and letters; and monitored telephone conversations, email, text messages, blogs, and fax transmissions. The government cut telephone lines and interrupted cellphone and internet services of several political activists and their family members. The role, functions, missions and structure of the People’s Public Security Forces are regulated in the Law on People’s Public Security Forces (revised) passed on December 20th, 2018 by the 14th National Assembly in the 6th working session. The Law on People’s Public Security Forces (revised) takes into effect on July 1st, 2019, but the regulations on the rank of general takes effect on January 11th, 2019. I. Role of the People’s Public Security Forces The People’s Public Security Forces are part of the People’s Armed Forces, plays a core role in protecting national security and ensuring social order and safety as well as fighting crime and law violation related to national security and social order and safety. II. Functions of the People’s Public Security Forces The People’s Public Security Forces are responsible for: - Advising the Party and State on matters relating to national security, social order, control of crime and law violation; - State management of national security, social order and safety, and control of crime and law violation; - Fighting plots and activities of hostile forces, crimes and violations against national security, social order and safety. III. Missions and authority of the People’s Public Security Forces 1. To collect information, analyze and evaluate the situation and predict its developments, and recommend the Party and the State to issue appropriate policies, laws and strategies on the protection of national security and maintenance of social order and safety, the fight against crime and law violation as well as to direct the implementation of these documents; participate in fully evaluating impacts of socio-economic plans and projects on matters relating to national security and social order and safety, and suggest coupling strategies on protection of national security and social order with strategies and policies on socio-economic development, national defense and foreign affairs in a safe and efficient manner. 2. To actively prevent, detect and defeat any plots and acts of violation against national security and eliminate any threats to national security; protect the Fatherland’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity; protect the Party, State, people and socialist regime; protect political security, security in the fields of ideology, culture, economics, national defense, foreign affairs, information, society, environment, science and technology; protect the great national unity bloc; protect life, health, dignity, property, rights of freedom and democracy of citizens and legitimate interests of agencies, organizations and individuals. 3. To conduct intelligence operation under the laws. 4. To protect high-ranking officials of the Party and State, visiting international delegates; protect important events and targets significant in terms of politics, economics, international relations, science, technology, culture, society; protect critical infrastructures related to national security, international representative agencies and organizations in Vietnam; protect persons who keep or involved in State secrets; protect shipments of special goods in line with legal provisions. 5. To manage activities of national security protection and State secrets protection; take the lead in managing the entry, exit, transit and residence of Vietnamese citizens; coordinate with the People’s Army, related branches and local authorities in managing and protecting national borders, border gates, islands, seas and airspaces; perform tasks of protecting national security; and ensure social order and safety in border areas in line with the Vietnamese laws, international treaties and deals to which the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a member. 6. To be responsible for management and protection of network security, and prevention and fight against cybercrime in line with the laws. 7. To be responsible for management of criminal investigation and suppression; assume the prime responsibility for the tasks of preventing and fighting terrorism, riots, and handling complicated situations related to national security and social order and safety; actively prevent, detect, and fight against crimes and acts of violation of the laws on social order and safety, environmental protection, natural resources and food safety; receive and handle denunciations and reports on crimes; investigate and prosecute crimes in line with the laws; work on criminal statistics; discover causes and conditions for crimes and violations of laws on public order, security and environmental protection, and propose solutions; educate law offenders in the community in line with the laws. 8. To hold responsibility for management of criminal judgment execution, temporary custody and detention as well as for management of prisons, detention camps, custody houses, compulsory educational centers, correctional schools; to execute criminal judgments and decisions and judicial measures; to supervise and educate under-18-year-old subjects exempted from criminal liability, and early-released prisoners; to be responsible for interpretation, escort, management of material evidence stock, protection of the trial; and perform other judicial support tasks in line with the laws. 9. To hold responsibility for management of penalties for administrative violations of national security, social order and safety; to impose fines or other administrative measures for administrative offences in line with the laws; to maintain security and order during conducting the enforcement of decisions at the requested of the competent agencies. 10. To hold responsibility for residence management, national database on population and citizen identification database, stamps, traffic safety, public order, weapons and explosives, precursors of explosives, police support tools, fire prevention, fighting and rescue; grant and manage citizenship cards and other personal papers; grant and manage number plates of road vehicles; to be in charge of overseeing fire prevention and fire safety, and conducting firefighting and rescue; to manage conditional business lines for investment under the laws. 11. To assume the prime responsibility for managing and implementing information and education on national security protection, social order and safety, fight against crimes and law violations; to inspect and handle complaints and denunciations, to handle wrongdoings in protecting national security, ensuring public order and safety, preventing and fighting crimes and offences of national security, public order and social safety. 12. To play the core role in building the people's security, the people's security posture, and the movement of “All people protecting national security”; to instruct agencies and organizations to protect internal political security, economic security, ideological-cultural security, network security, information and communication security, environmental security. 13. To provide professional guidance and training on knowledge of the laws for mass organizations participating in ensuring public order and security at the grassroots level as well as for civil defense force, and other legal civil security forces under the laws. 14. To conduct mass mobilization and take legal, diplomatic, economic, scientific and techonological means as well as professional measures and the use of force to protect national security, social order and safety, and fight crimes and other offences of the laws on national security, social order and safety. 15. To use weapons, explosives, support tools and other legal means to attack and chase criminals, to stop people from committing crimes and other offences of the laws, and to exercise the right of self-defense under the laws. 16. To decide or suggest suspending activities of agencies, organizations and individuals with acts undermining or threatening national security, social order and safety; request agencies, organizations and individuals to provide information, documents and objects related to activities of infringing upon national security, social order and safety. To mobilize and requisition means of communications, transport and other platforms, as well as people using the means in urgent circumstances to protect national security and social order, safety or to prevent possible consequences and damages to society. 17. To protect national security, social order and safety in a state of war, an emergency situation or when national security, social order and safety are at high stake but not to the extent of a state of emergency. 18. To manage and develop the security industry; to research, apply and mobilize scientific and technological advances for the protection of national security, maintenance of social order and safety, fight against crimes and law violations, and building of the People's Public Security Forces. 19. To build elite, modern public security forces, to play the core role in protecting national security and ensuring social order, preventing and combating crimes and offences against national security, public order and safety. 20. To implement international commitments and obligations; to expand international cooperation in prevention and fight against crimes and law violations, as well as for the building of the People's Public Security Forces; to implement criminal and justice assistance. The Ministry of Public Security is the central agency of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in charge of extradition and transfer of sentenced persons. The Ministry of Public Security conducted a survey on the situation of the person sentenced to death nationwide; Accordingly, the number of people sentenced to death tends to increase, but only in localities with complex social order crimes, drug crimes, the rest of the localities, the number of people convicted. the death penalty is few, there are even localities in recent years not detained people sentenced to death. In this regard, the Ministry of Public Security reported and approved by the Government: In the current situation, it is not necessary for all localities to build a death penalty execution house. On the basis of the conclusion of the State Appraisal Council, on June 27, 2012, the Prime Minister issued Decision No. 800 / QD-TTg approving phase 1 of the Project on implementing the execution of the death penalty. form by way of lethal injection at 15 local police (Hanoi, Bac Giang, Quang Ninh, Thai Nguyen, Lao Cai, Son La, Hoa Binh, Nghe An, Da Nang, Khanh Hoa, Dak Lak, Dong Nai, Ho Chi Minh City, Vinh Long, Hau Giang). Currently, the Ministry of Public Security has put into use 11 death penalty execution houses in the form of lethal injection and divided into 11 areas for the execution of the death penalty. These are localities with favorable traffic conditions for neighboring localities to escort people sentenced to death to execute their sentences. The Vietnam People’s Public Security Organization (PPS) was founded by the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) and President Ho Chi Minh in the August Revolution (the General Uprising in August 1945). Since its inception, the PPS has always received direct leadership, continuous trainingandcare from the CPV and Uncle Ho, as well as great support from the people to become a key force in the cause of protecting national security and maintaining social safety and order. Precursors of the People’s Public Security Forces of Vietnam Since its foundation and during its leadership of the Vietnamese revolution, the Communist Party of Vietnam headed by President Ho Chi Minh has always attached great importance to building, consolidating and developing revolutionary armed forces to suppress anti-revolutionary forces and crimes, to protect the Party, the State and the people. During the revolutionary movement of 1930-1931 with its height of the Nghe-Tinh Soviet uprising, the first revolutionary armed force called the “Red Guard” was formed to protect the newly-established Soviet Government in Vietnam, the revolutionary masses and Party officials; to fight enemy operations to destroy revolutionary bases; to suppress and punish the reactionaries and Vietnamesetraitors or village bullies; and to maintain security and order in the revolution-controlledvillages and communes. During the period of the national liberation mobilization in the period 1939-1945, the Party had a policy to develop self-defense activities in various ways and forms based on armed and quasi-armed groups, such as Food Safeguard Group, Anti-traitor Group, Safe Zone Protection Committee, Viet Minh Honor Group in Hanoi, “Steel” Self-Defense Group in South Center, and Ca Da Self-Defense Group in Tay Nguyen provinces... On May 15, 1945, the Northern Region Party Committee established the Group “Anti-traitor”, then renamed the Group “Viet Minh Honor”, which was divided into various smaller teams operating in major cities. These teams were in charge of collecting intelligence about enemy situations, and eliminating enemy spies and Vietnamese people serving Japanese and French armies. These groups were the precursor of the Vietnam People’s Public Security Forces. Inception of the People’s Public Security Forces of Vietnam organization The August Revolution achieved success in Hanoi on August 19, 1945. The People’s Public Security of Vietnam organization was founded on the very day when the people overturned the oppressing apparatus of French colonism and Japanese racism, and established a revolutionary government of the people. At first, the People’s Public Security Forces had no a united organization but three agencies with different names: Security Service Bureau, Scout Bureau and National Self-Defense Force, were established relatively in the three regions: North, Center and South. Neverthless, the three agencies took the same functions and missions: fighting counter-revolutionary and hostile organizations, maintaining social order and security, protecting the Party, the revolutionary government and the people. On February 21, 1946, President Ho Chi Minh signed Decree No. 23/SL to unify the three forces into “Vietnam People’s Police Department” (with its main functions of policing the society and maintaining social security and order) under the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and appointed Mr.Le Gian as the Director of the PPS Department of Vietnam. On April 18, 1946, the Ministry of Internal Affairs issued Decree No. 121-NgÐ on the organization of the Vietnam Police Department, stipulating the organizational structure of the police force at three levels, namely Vietnam Police, Regional Police and Provincial Police. Public Security Forces in the national resistance war against French colonialists (1946-1954) After its establishment, the Vietnam Public Security forces immediately engaged ina life-and-death fight against foreign enemies and domestic reactionaries. The Vietnam People’s Public Security Forces (VPPSF) lauched attacks on counter-revolutionary and reactionary organizations, controlled crimes and directly protect the newly established revolutionary governments in the three regions of Vietnam. The outstanding victory of the VPPSF was the case at No.7 On Nhu Hau street, in which they detected, cracked down on and brought to light an insidious plot of reactionary nationalists, who in collaboration with the French colonists planned to overthrow the young revolutionary government on July 14, 1946. The force continued to gain more and more victories on the silent battlefield during the national resistance war against the French colonialists. A good example is the victory of the A13 Intelligence Team of the VPPSF, which wrecked the France’s aviso of Amyot d'Inville, killing over 200 French troops and defeating the plot of the enemy to build and develop their forces inside the revolutionary rear to sabotage Vietnam’s national resistance war against the French colonialists. Inside the enemy’s rear, the fight of VPPSF officers was even fiercer. Undergound revolutionary police officers inside the enemy occupied areas launched attacks on traitors and lackeys, which in part contributed to disintegrating the puppet government and defeating the “using Vietnamese to rule Vietnamese” policy of the French colonialists. During the fighting against the enemy in all battlefields many VPPSF officers, heroic martyrs Bui Thi Cuc, Vo Thi Sau and Nguyen Thi Loi stood out with their great deeds of arms, contributing to the glorious history of the whole VPPSF. Particularly, the VPPSF made a large contribution to the historic victory of the Dien Bien Phu Campaign, totally defeating the French colonialists, wiping out them from the country and restoring peace to the nation. VPPSF in the national war against America’s invasion (1954-1975) After 1954, Vietnam was temporarily divided into 2 regions: North and South with two strategic missions. The VPPSF actively fulfilled given tasks in various fields and made excellent feats of arms in both fighting the enemy in the southern battlefield and protecting the socialist rear in the North. In the North, the security and police forces used various methods and forms to implement their tasks while promoting the movement of “All people protecting national security”, preventing, detecting and cracking down on enemy spy organizations on time as well as arrestingthousands of enemy scouts and promptly suppressed emerging reactionary organizations. The Northern security and police forces also defeated the psychological war and sabotage war of the enemy, actively protected the internal security, national defense, the armed forces and the socialist property, effectively prevented and fought crimes and social evils, and sent reinforcements and supports to security forces in the South. Thanks to the great supports from the North, the security forces of the South managed to form a network of security agencies at all levels, from the Central Department to regional sub-Departments, provincial Divisions, district and communal branches. In the fighting against the enemy, the security forces in the South brought into full play their proactiveness, self-reliance and self-control while relying on the people, coordinating closely with the mass movements and other revolutionary armed forces to continuously attack the enemy in all areas from the highlands and countryside to towns and cities, eliminate anti-revolutionary thugs and informers for the enemy, defeat enemy plans to form “strategic hamlets” and enemy operations “searching and killing, and pacifying”. They also smashed various crafty enemy schemes and policies, including “Chieu hoi” (Open arms), “Phuong Hoang” (Phoenix), “Thien Nga” (Swan) and “Hai Yen” (Seabird). Particularly, the Southern security forces also made a great contribution to the victory of the 1968 Uprising, the 1972 strategic offensive and the Great Victory in the Spring of 1975, liberating the South and unifying the country. Public Security Forces in the country-restoration, construction and protection (1975 to present) April 30, 1975 marked the unification of the country, and security and police forces in the country were also merged into the united Vietnam People’s Public Security Forces (VPPSF). Although the VPPSF has no longer had to fight foreign enemies in the battlefield, it has still suffered a lot hardships, difficulties and sacrifices in the new front. To meet the requirements of its new missions assigned by the Party, State and people, the VPPSF strengthened its organization, increased its personnel, developed its facilities, equipment and human resources, and rolled out its tasks across the country in a comprehensive and synchronous manner. Under the direct, centralized and united leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) and in close coordination with the Vietnam People’s Army and Central agencies and local authorities at all levels, the VPPSF actively participated in building and consolidating the revolutionary government in the newly liberated areas; organized, managed and re-educated the old Saigon regime’s troops and civilian officials; pursued and arrested ramnants of the old Saigon army; cracked down on reactionary organizations and intelligence networks planted by CIA and the old Saigon regime under their postwar plan; discovered and captured hundreds of groups of secret agents and rangers of hostile forces infiltrating into the country from other countries; defeated plots and activities of overseas Vietnamese reactionaries and domestic dissidents to cause riots and overturn the people’s government. The typical victory of the VPPSF in this period with its great political and social meaning was the special case coded KHCM12, in which the VPPSFdefeated the scheme and completely cracked down on the operational network of the anti-revolutionary organization named “National United Front for the Liberation of Vietnam” led by Le Quoc Tuy and Mai Van Hanh and sponsored by international hostile forces, with the aim of overturning the people’s government. Since 1986, Vietnam has been carrying out renewal (Doi Moi), building and defending the country in the context where the socialist model of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe had collapsed, and international imperialism and hostile forces have hectically implemented the strategy of “peaceful evolution” to cause riots, overthrow the revolutionary government, reject the CPV’s leadership and eliminate the socialist country of Vietnam; and at the same time, they have made full use of “ethnic”, “religious”, “democratic” and “human rights” issues in Vietnam to provoke the public and break the great national unity bloc. Under the leadership of the CPV, the VPPSF actively took complete control of the situation, resolutely prevented and defeated all sabotage conspiracies and activities of hostile forces and opportunists, preserving socio-political stability. The VPPSF actively advised the Party, State and authorities at all levels to well implement the Party's resolutions on security and order affairs in the new situation; effectively implemented the “National security protection” strategy, the National Program on Crime Prevention and Suppression and the National Program on Drug Prevention and Fighting while promoting the movement of “All people protecting national security”. The VPPSF proposed approaches and directly solved many complicated cases related to religion, ethnicity, economic security as well as rural, cultural and ideological security; coordinated closely with the involved forces to firmly protect the country's important political, cultural and social events; took the initiative in actively preventing and effectively fighting organized crime, drug-related crime, hi-tech crime, terrorism, transnational crime and other social problems; and promoted traffic order and safety and preserved the peaceful life for the people. In its construction and development process, the VPPSF have always the nation and the people in both wartimes and peacetimes. During wartimes, the forces drilled in fume and fire of the national liberation wars as well as the national protection wars. Based on the acquired lessons and experiences from the past wars, the forces today continue building up their political stance and enriching their knowledge and professional expertise to better perform their missions in the country’s construction and defense. Over the past more than 70 years of development, the VPPSF have been rewarded many noble awards by the Party and the State, including 16 “Gold Star” Orders; 100 “Ho Chi Minh” Orders; 268 “Independence” Orders; 1,072 titles of “Hero of the People's Armed Forces”; tens of thousands of “Military Exploit” Orders, “Feat of Arms” Orders, and “Fatherland Protection” Orders, for their numerous great victories and achievements (up to 2015). Following and promoting the glorious traditions, the current generation of public security officers and soldiers is committed to overcoming all challenges and difficulties, persistently continues the path chosen by the CPV and Uncle Ho Chi Minh, is determine to fight and defeat all sabotage conspiracies and activities of hostile forces, and stands side by side with the entire armed forces and people to implement successfully the two strategic tasks of building and defending the socialist Fatherland, for the sake of a prosperous people strong country, democracy, justice and civilisation. Public Security Vietnam did not have a secret police force of the same kind as Nazi Germany's Gestapo. on than many outsiders believe. Four clusters of agencies were responsible for crime prevention and the maintenance of public order and internal security under the 1985 Criminal Code. The enforcement bodies were the People's Security Force (PSF) or People's Police, operating chiefly in urban areas; the People's Public Security Force (PPSF), called the People's Security Service or PSS at the village level; the plain-clothes or secret police; and the People's Armed Security Force (PASF), a quasi-military organ, including some PAVN personnel, operating chiefly in the villages and rural areas and concerned both with crime and antistate activities. The PPSF (or PSS at the village level), a plainclothes internal security organization charged with handling sensitive security threats, bore the closest resemblance. Actually, the secret police function in Vietnam appeared to be distributed among the Ministry of Interior, the party, PAVN, and the Paramilitary Force, with the PPSF as the pivotal element. The PPSF was more a party than a state organization, and observers believe that its chain of command ran from the district level through a hierarchy to the Political Bureau Secretariat in Hanoi. In its reporting responsibilities as an organ of the party, the PPSF largely bypassed or coordinated only laterally with the minister of interior, its nominal superior in the government hierarchy. This organizational arrangement was instituted in the early 1950s by two top party security figures, Le Giang and Tran Hieu, at the time the director and deputy director respectively of what was then the First Directorate for Security of the Ministry of Public Security. Some observers believe that the PPSF was in reality an institution of professional police and trained security agents disguised as ordinary party administrative cadres. During the First Indochina War, the PPSF supervised the issue of travel permits and identification cards, checked on the movements of marine fishermen, identified strangers in the villages, and maintained family census and travel records. At one point it also monitored and reported on public health, apparently in the belief that North Vietnam was to be subjected to chemical warfare attacks. The PPSF assumed new importance in the late 1970s with the rise of the China threat and the increased prospect of a serious sabotage and espionage effort by outsiders. In order to cope with these developments, authorities in 1980 enlarged the hamlet-village- level structure. A nationwide system was instituted, with a PSS chief and two cadres detailed to every hamlet and a chief and five cadres assigned to each village. In many instances, they replaced PASF personnel. At the same time, higher recruitment standards were established (for education and age), a six-month training program was introduced, and an effort was made to create a more professional service with more sophisticated operations. In 1983 plans for putting the PPSF into uniform were announced, but in 1987 they had yet to be acted upon. In the South, the PPSF (or PSS) was more or less under direct party control. Members wore yellow armbands with a red inscription, Order and Security Control, to differentiate them from PAVN security units, whose members wore red armbands with a yellow inscription, Military Control, and from the PASF forces, whose red and blue arm bands bore the yellow legend Order. The rise of the China threat highlighted certain weaknesses in the security system related to the proper division of labor between the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of National Defense. In 1981 a concerted effort was launched to increase and improve coordination between the two ministries: they signed two inter- ministerial directives, one establishing the mechanism for systematic, joint security work and the other spelling out the respective duties of each in "the three tasks of maintaining political security, strengthening social discipline, and insuring public safety." Under the new arrangement, there was unified recruiting for the two services. A recruit could choose the service he would enter and, in many instances, the province to which he would be assigned. PAVN made available to the Ministry of Interior some of its mili- tary hardware, including such highly desirable items as equipment used by special weapons and tactics teams. The Ministry of Interior relieved the Defense Ministry of its responsibility for guarding for- eign missions in Hanoi and for supplying guards to the country's prisons. Personnel also were transferred, most from the Ministry of Interior to PAVN, and a new PAVN unit called the Police Protection Regiment was formed. Transfers from this ministry to strengthen PAVN units along the China border were probably due to the growing China threat, the nature and size of which was perceived as simply beyond Ministry of Interior capabilities. Some PASF units were converted into PAVN Border Defense Command regiments, although their duties, like those of the Police Protection regiments, were not known in 1987. Some observers noted that the net effect of the security reorganization initiated in 1981 was the Ministry of Interior's improved ability to check on the actions and loyalties of high-ranking PAVN generals. Others observed that PAVN authority now extended deeper into the civilian sector. The new arrangement also highlighted the underlying competition between the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of National Defense with respect to security responsibilities and authority. One other dimension of security activity was the use of youth and youth organizations for internal security purposes. Hanoi appeared to have calculated that young people tended to have greater loyalty to the existing order than their elders, and that they represented a vast manpower pool ideally suited to mass surveil- lance work. The mass media commonly referred to Vietnam's three security forces as PAVN, public security, and "fourth generation" youth (that is, the fourth generation since the founding of the VCP). The security role of youth was stressed more in southern Vietnam, where, through an umbrella youth group called the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM), the energies of the young were harnessed in the name of social improvement. Much of this activity was economic and related to various nation-building programs; some, however, concerned political security, social order, and safety, areas of activity commonly given the collective label of "revolutionary action against negativism." RAM had a large corps of organizations from which to draw. In the mid-1980s, the total party youth force was about 4.5 million; this included the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth League (2 million) and the organizations for those younger in age—the Vanguard Teenager Organization, the Ho Chi Minh Young Pioneers, and the Ho Chi Minh Children's Organization (2.5 million). A front organization called the Vietnam Youth Federation included about 10 million party and nonparty youth. The most important RAM subgroup was the Ho Chi Minh Assault Youth Force (usually termed the AYF), the core of an amor- phous organization called the Young Volunteers Force or Volunteer Service. The AYF was open to males seventeen to twenty-five years of age and females seventeen to twenty, who volunteered for two years' service (the males thus could escape the military draft). The AYF was organized along quasi-military lines and was assigned chiefly economic duties, mostly in the rural areas of the South. Within the AYF were smaller organizations, such as the Assault Security Team and the Assault Control Team, which had security assignments. Some teams focused on ordinary crime; others were engaged in covert surveillance, particularly of other youth. The most elite of these were the Youth Union Red Flag teams, which were made up entirely of Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth League members. (AYF teams, by contrast, were a mix of party and nonparty youth.) Red Flag teams were entrusted with the most sensitive assignments given to the young. The high point of AYF security activity apparently came in the few years immediately following the 1979 China incursion. After that, vigilance in security matters tapered off somewhat. Internal Security Internal security was never much of a problem in North Vietnam; it was probably somewhat more tenuous in unified Vietnam. Unification, understandably, introduced new internal threats, which the regime in the 1980s was able to keep in check. As perceived in Hanoi theoretical journals, the most significant internal threat was the danger of counterrevolution, a possibility that had both internal and external implications. Hanoi feared that a resistance effort in Vietnam would mount an effective guerrilla war aided by outsiders who sought either to roll back communism in Indochina or to effect change in Hanoi's leadership. These outsiders might include not only foreign governments but also emigre Vietnamese seeking to destroy the ruling system. There was widespread latent opposition to the regime, particularly in the South. In general it was low-level, widely scattered, and poorly organized and led. Opposition activities ranged from graffiti and similar token gestures to fairly large-sized guerrilla attacks in the Central Highlands. In the early 1980s, an active mili- tant resistance force was estimated by observers abroad to number about 25,000 combatants. That figure tended to dwindle later in the decade. Given the extraordinary amount of social control in Vietnam, as in other Marxist-Leninist societies, it would be difficult for a resistance force to achieve sufficient size, strength, and cohesiveness to present a serious challenge to the existing sys- tem. The regime's strategy, therefore, was to keep the opposition off balance and prevent it from organizing. Police, crime-detection, and law-enforcement activities tended to be treated collectively under the heading of "public security." These activities were conducted by overlapping, but tightly compartmentalized, institutions of control, separated by only hazy lines ofjurisdiction. In particular, there was no sharp division between the internal security duties of PAVN forces and those of the civilian elements of the Ministry of Interior. This amorphous organization of law enforcement and internal security work can be traced to the VCP's early heritage and its experiences in the First Indochina War when functional distinctions within the party organization were less pronounced. Contributing to it is the clandestine character of such activity and the penchant for secrecy and covert action endemic in Vietnamese culture. Both party and state have paid enormous attention to the maintenance of public order. Perhaps it is for this reason that internal security has always been well managed and security threats have always been contained. The methods employed are sophisticated, often subtle, and there is less use of naked repres- sion than many outsiders believe. Four clusters of agencies were responsible for crime prevention and the maintenance of public order and internal security under the 1985 Criminal Code. The enforcement bodies were the People's Security Force (PSF) or People's Police, operating chiefly in urban areas; the People's Public Security Force (PPSF), called the People's Security Service or PSS at the village level; the plain-clothes or secret police; and the People's Armed Security Force (PASF), a quasi-military organ, including some PAVN personnel, operating chiefly in the villages and rural areas and concerned both with crime and antistate activities. These agencies of control had the broad responsibility of mobilizing the general population to support internal security programs, in addition to performing internal auditing, inspection, and general monitoring of both party and state activity. The judiciary promoted security and law enforcement. The courts, i.e., the investigative elements of the judicial system, were charged with uncovering evidence in addition to prosecuting the accused. These institutions were charged under the Criminal Code with protecting the public from crime, broadly defined as "any act dangerous to society." Supporting them, although independent of them, was the party apparatus, which reached to the most remote hamlets of the country. In the mid-1980s, both urban and rural geographic areas were divided into wards, sub-wards, and blocks and were administered by security cadres, who were aided and supported by the mass organizations. Each of the basic units (generally the ward or block) had a security committee. In addition, in key or sensitive areas, there was a special party unit (called Red Flag Security) also organized at the ward or block level. The philosophy of this internal security system was that self-implemented, self- motivated, social discipline was required for true internal security and that this was both the duty and the right of the individual citizen. An important characteristic of the public security sector was that, although it extended equally across the civilian (the Ministry of Interior) and the military (PAVN, especially its paramilitary forces) sectors, the dominant influence was civilian and, ultimately, the party. Problems North Vietnam, before and during the Second Indochina War, experienced few serious internal security challenges. Disorders were recorded, however, the most famous being the so-called Quynh Luu uprising in 1956, in which farmers in predominantly Roman Catholic Nghe An Province demonstrated and rioted against the agricultural collectivization program. During the war, however, and despite South Vietnamese and American clandestine efforts to provoke resistance to the Hanoi regime, little internal opposition resulted. After the war, security problems were experienced in the newly occupied South, and a rise in dissidence was recorded in the North. As far as can be determined, however, in neither case were the problems serious enough to be considered a challenge to the regime. In 1987 public attitudes in the south remained widely anticommunist and there was greatly increased antipathy for the party in the North. In official circles, these conditions were labeled negative phenomena and were explained in the press as rising criminal and counterrevolutionary activity caused by a decline in social responsibility. The most dangerous negative phenomenon was organized inter- nal resistance to the regime that occurred chiefly in, but was not limited to, the South. For the most part this resistance found expression in graffiti, antiparty poetry, outlaw theater, rumor mongering, and general disinformation efforts. Less common, but still in evidence, were more militant resistance elements, who attempted, but rarely succeeded in, sabotaging the transportation and communication systems, party and state facilities, and economic enterprises. Finally, there were the armed resistance groups, which engaged in guerrilla war. By far the most challenging resistance effort was carried on by the people of the Central Highlands in the South, who are usually called Montagnards (see Ethnic Groups and Languages, ch. 2). Many were associated with the organization known as the Unified Front for the Struggle of Oppressed Races (Front Unifie pour la Lutte des Races Opprimees—FULRO) and operated in the region known in the Hanoi press as the "nameless front," that is, the area between Buon Me Thuot and Da Lat. They were supplied and supported by Khmer Rouge forces in Cambodia and, through them, by the Chinese. Hanoi handled the Montagnards in the South after the Second Indochina War far less skillfully and effectively than it had managed the northern Montagnards a generation earlier. The primary reason appeared to be that in the North in the mid-1950s the problem had been handled by trained party cadres, some of them Montagnards themselves, who had dealt carefully with their ethnic brethren. In the South in 1975 (because the war ended so unexpectedly), responsibility was given to combat troops, who were ill-prepared to handle such a sensitive problem. Since the war's end, large battles reportedly have taken place occasionally in the Highlands, some involving as many as 1,000 resistance fighters. The Montagnard resistance has not represented a revolutionary movement in the modern sense because it has not tried to over- throw or change the government in Hanoi. Rather, the upland dwellers of southern Vietnam have sought autonomy, and they would settle for being left alone. In 1987 a stabilized condition of local accommodation appeared to have been achieved between local PAVN commanders in the "nameless front" region and indigenous Montagnard tribes. The second most important resistance elements were the mili- tant southern socioreligious sects called the Hoa Hao (see Glossary) and Cao Dai (see Glossary), whose total membership was more than a million (see Religion, ch. 2). The Hoa Hao sect is concentrated in Chau Doc Province and adjacent provinces. The Cao Dai is headquartered in Tay Ninh Province, and most of its followers live in this region. In the early years after the Second Indochina War, the two sects offered considerable armed resistance to the new government. By the mid-1980s, however, resistance had fallen off because it was widely believed local accommodation had been achieved. A third resistance element comprised various nationalistic and patriotic groups, many of whom came under the generic term chu quoc or "national salvation." The bulk of these were members of the Dai Viet and the Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang, two militant anti- communist nationalist organizations dating from the 1930s, or were ARVN holdouts in the far south. Other resistance groups, with more exotic names, reported by emigres included the Black Sail Group (Catholics in the Ho Nai region); the Black Dragon Force (ex-ARVN 7th-Division Catholic soldiers in the My Tho vicinity); the Yellow Crab Force (Cao Dai in Tay Ninh Province); the White Tigers (Hoa Hao in An Giang Province); the Laotian National Cobra Force (Vietnamese and Lao along the Laos-Vietnam border); and the Cambodian Border Force (a similar group in the CambodiaVietnam border region). Armed resistance, as practiced by these groups, commonly consisted of attacks on reeducation camps, remote military installations, and VCP offices. Reported resistance activities during the 1980s included launching rocket attacks on a Phan Rang reeducation camp and on a Xuan Loc camp (during which 6,000 inmates escaped), dynamiting a Ho Chi Minh City water pumping station, detonating a bomb near that city's Continental Hotel, and throwing a grenade into the yard of the former United States ambassador's residence, which had been transformed into living quarters for several PAVN generals. There were also reports of road mining incidents and booby-trapped railroad switching equipment. Catholics in Vietnam, who number almost 3 million, have represented a significant potential resistance force of increasing con- cern to Hanoi officials. Initial policy was to control the church as an institution, while allowing free religious expression. In the late 1970s, however, all religious groups increasingly were harassed, and attendance at religious services was discouraged. A few well publicized trials of clergy followed. By the mid-1980s, it was apparent that the initial tolerance for religion had waned. Some observers, including church officials in the Vatican, speculated that Hanoi officials were concerned because of the growing appeal of religion to the young. Intellectual dissent also was reported to be increasing in the mid-1980s. Fueled by the obvious failure of the party and state to solve the country's more pressing economic problems, intellectual dissent took the form of psychological warfare conducted by liter- ary and cultural figures and ordinary people alike. There had been a similar outbreak of intellectual dissent in North Vietnam in the 1956-58 period, when the regime experimented, to its regret, with a "hundred flowers movement" similar to that in China. In the late 1980s, the most common medium was graffiti such as "Born in the North to Die in Cambodia" and "Nothing is More Precious than Independence and Liberty—Ho Chi Minh" (a famous Ho quotation used as an ironic commentary by southerners). The slogan Phuc quoc, or "restore national sovereignty," was reported to have been seen on walls in Ho Chi Minh City and in Hue. Propaganda leaflets also were scattered along city sidewalks at night or left in schoolroom desks, and underground literary societies were founded, including the Hanoi Barefoot Literary Group, the Danang Han River Literary Society, the Ho Literary Society of Hue, and the Stone Cave and Literary Flame societies of Ho Chi Minh City. According to editorials in the official press, the writings of these subversive groups "depict resentment and incite antagonism" through the use of "ambiguous symbolism and double entendres. ' ' An example cited by Lao Dong (August 22, 1985) was the following excerpt from a poem: "Biting our lips, hating the North 291 Vietnam: A Country Study wind/We lay with aching bones/Lamenting the West wind. ' ' Poets have been incarcerated for their works. A cause celebre in 1984 was the arrest of a leading novelist. Doan Quoc Sv. of the Danang Han River Literary Society. Resistance activity is supported by the nearly 1 million Viet- namese emigres living abroad. There is a welter of supportive organizations—more than fifty in California alone—about which little reliable information is available. The broadest-based group is the Overseas Free Vietnam Association, which has chapters in the United States. Europe, and Australia. Development of the Internal Security System During the First Indochina War. police and internal-security functions were regarded as a single activity. Security cadres and personnel had three duties: guarding Viet Minh facilities, highlevel personnel, lines of communication, and troop movements: insuring public safety in the Viet Minh-controlled areas: and con- ducting counterintelligence and antisabotage work. At the time of the DRVs formation in 1945. all of this activity was vested in the Ministry of Interior. Within the ministry was a large sub-element called the Directorate General for Security, concerned with counterrevolution. This arrangement was abolished in 1954. when the police and internal- security functions were separated and the Ministry of Public Security was created. After the takeover of the South in 1975. which imposed new internal security tasks, the two functions were again combined, this time into the Ministry of Interior, wmich was then vastly enlarged. By the mid-1980s, the ministry was composed of seven major departments: the People's Police Department, responsible for general law enforcement: the Traffic Police Department, responsible for traffic control: the Public Security Department, responsible for general internal security; the Social Order Department, responsible for detention, the family registration system, immigrationemigration, border control, and port-of-entry security: the Public Security Forces, responsible for both law enforcement and inter- nal security in the rural areas: the Counterespionage Department, chiefly responsible for investigative work and dossier compilation; and the Counterreactionary Department, chiefly responsible for investigation of religious organizations in the South. Also in the ministrv were smaller, more specialized offices under vice ministers, including those concerned with counterintelligence, foreign intelligence coordination (shared with PAVX intelligence agencies and primarily concerned with Cambodia and Laos), official communication systems operations (including mail censorship), political indoctrination of ministry personnel, and ethnic minorities' activities. The Ministry of Interior was again enlarged and restructured in 1979, when, according to Hanoi, China launched its "multifaceted war of sabotage." This brought increased and more sys- tematic coordination with PAVN, especially in the China border region. The restructuring moved the ministry closer to the Soviet model of internal security organizations, a development undoubtedly encouraged by Soviet Komitet Gosudavstvennoy Bezopasnosti (KGB, Committee of State Security) advisers. It is possible that in these shifts the ministry gained a certain degree of autonomy from the VCP. Tran Quoc Hoan created Hanoi's state security system in the 1940s and ran it until he stepped down or was forced out in 1982. He then served as a director of the Central Committee's Proselytizing and Front Department. Hoan continued to publish extensively on security problems, and he remained an influential figure in the field until his death in late 1986. Pham Hung replaced Hoan as Minister of Interior in 1982 and served until December 1986, when he relinquished the post to Mai Chi Tho. Before his elevation to the ministry and the Political Bureau, Tho was in charge of security in southern Vietnam as the mayor of Ho Chi Minh City.
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