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Cablegate: Winning the Hearts and Minds of the Ethnics

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.


UNCLASSIFIED PTQ7687

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INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AID-00 AMAD-00 ACQ-00 CIAE-00 DINT-00
DODE-00 DOEE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00 EB-00 ED-01 FBIE-00
UTED-00 VC-00 HHS-01 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 IO-00
L-00 VCE-00 AC-01 NSAE-00 NSCE-00 OIC-02 OMB-01
OPIC-01 PA-00 PM-00 PRS-00 ACE-00 P-00 SP-00
STR-00 TEST-00 TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00 DSCC-00 PRM-00
DRL-02 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /010W
------------------180D8F 160036Z /38
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8346
INFO AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY
AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
AMEMBASSY VIENTIANE
USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 HANOI 002975

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM SOCI PINS PGOV VM ETMIN
SUBJECT: WINNING THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF THE ETHNICS

REF: HANOI 2885

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. VIETNAM'S MULTI-ETHNIC SOCIETY REMAINS
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 HANOI 02975 01 OF 04 160035Z
HEAVILY DOMINATED BY THE MAJORITY ETHNIC KINH. ETHNIC
MINORITIES ARE OFTEN LOCATED IN ECONOMICALLY MARGINAL PARTS
OF VIETNAM, ESPECIALLY THE MOUNTAINOUS AREAS IN THE NORTH,
NORTHWEST, AND CENTRAL HIGHLANDS. THE GVN HAS UNDERTAKEN A
VARIETY OF PROGRAMS TO BRING GREATER SOCIO-ECONOMIC BENEFITS
TO THESE AREAS, TO PROMOTE ETHNIC MINORITY CADRES, AND TO
ENSURE PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION WITHIN THE NATIONAL
ASSEMBLY. THE EFFORTS BY THE GVN AND CPV TO EXTEND THEIR
REACH AND TO PROVIDE SERVICES DOWN TO THE LOWEST
ADMINISTRATIVE UNITS WITHIN THESE REMOTE AREAS IS
IMPRESSIVE, BUT PROBABLY HAS AS MUCH TO DO WITH CREATING AND
MAINTAINING SOCIAL ORDER AND POLITICAL CONTROL AS WITH
ENSURING THE GENERAL WELL-BEING OF THESE MINORITY
POPULATIONS. ALTHOUGH OFFICIALS WOULD PROBABLY DENY IT TO
THEIR LAST BREATH, MOST VIETNAMESE PROBABLY SEE ASSIMILATION
AS A DESIRABLE GOAL, AS WELL AS A NATURAL PRODUCT OF
MODERNIZATION. WHILE TRYING ECONOMICALLY TO WIN THE HEARTS
AND MINDS OF THE MINORITY POPULATIONS, AND POLITICALLY TO CO-
OPT THEM INTO THE SYSTEM, THE NET RESULT WILL LIKELY BE MORE
AND MORE ETHNIC MINORITIES WHO LOOK AND TALK LIKE EVERYONE
ELSE, APART FROM SPECIAL FESTIVALS IN WHICH THEY WEAR
"TRADITIONAL COSTUMES" AND PERFORM QUAINT ETHNIC FOLK DANCES
AND SONGS. THERE ARE, HOWEVER, REGIONAL DISPARITIES IN HOW
FAR ALONG THIS PROCESS HAS ALREADY GONE. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) OFFICIAL GVN PROPAGANDA BOASTS OF VIETNAM'S ETHNIC
DIVERSITY, WITH 54 MAJOR GROUPS, OF WHICH THE MAJORITY KINH
COMPRISE OVER 85 PCT OF THE POPULATION. THE CONSTITUTION
(ARTICLE 5) GUARANTEES "EQUALITY, SOLIDARITY, AND MUTUAL
ASSISTANCE AMONG ALL NATIONALITIES," AND ALSO "FORBIDS ALL
ACTS OF NATIONAL DISCRIMINATION AND DIVISION." ONLY FIVE
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 HANOI 02975 01 OF 04 160035Z
ETHNIC MINORITY GROUPS HAVE OVER ONE MILLION PEOPLE,
HOWEVER; FIVE OTHERS HAVE LESS THAN ONE THOUSAND PEOPLE, AND
ANOTHER 14 GROUPS HAVE FEWER THAN 10,000 PEOPLE, ACCORDING
TO OFFICIAL STATISTICS. STATE PROPAGANDA STRESSES THAT "NO
ETHNIC GROUP POSSESSES ITS OWN TERRITORY," THAT THERE ARE AT
LEAST SOME ETHNIC MINORITIES LIVING IN ALL 61 PROVINCES AND
CENTRALLY-CONTROLLED CITIES, AND THAT ONLY NINE PROVINCES
HAVE MORE THAN 50 PCT OF THEIR POPULATION COMPOSED OF ETHNIC
MINORITIES. AS NOTED IN REFTEL (WHICH EXAMINED ETHNIC
MINORITY EDUCATION), CAO BANG IN NORTHERN VIETNAM (WITH A
310 KILOMETER BORDER WITH CHINA) HAS THE HIGHEST
CONCENTRATION OF ETHNIC MINORITIES, MAKING UP 96.07 PCT OF
THE PROVINCIAL POPULATION.

THE VIEW FROM THE CENTER
------------------------

3. (U) ACCORDING TO OFFICIALS AT THE ETHNIC MINORITIES
COMMISSION, IN ADDITION TO EXTENSIVE PROGRAMS FOR EDUCATION
AND FOR INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (REFTEL), THE GVN ALSO
OFFERS SPECIAL ASSISTANCE TO ETHNIC MINORITIES IN THE FORMS,
INTER ALIA, OF:
-- PRICE SUPPORTS TO EQUALIZE THE COSTS OF CERTAIN CONSUMER
COMMODITIES;
-- IN SOME LOCALITIES, DIRECT PAYMENTS OF UP TO 1 MILLION
DONG (USD 70) PER FAMILY PER YEAR TO OFFSET HIGHER LIVING
COSTS;
-- SOME FREE NEWSPAPER SUBSCRIPTIONS; AND,
-- SUBSIDIES FOR PHARMACEUTICALS IN SOME CASES, AND FREE
CARE AT VILLAGE HEALTH CENTERS.

UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 HANOI 02975 01 OF 04 160035Z
4. (U) COMMISSION OFFICIALS HAVE CLAIMED IMPORTANT
ECONOMIC PROGRESS VIS--VIS THE ETHNIC MINORITIES, AT LEAST
SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE "DOI MOI" ECONOMIC RENOVATION
PERIOD IN 1986. "HALF" OF THE MINORITY POPULATIONS HAVE
BEEN "FREED FROM POVERTY," A MUCH MORE DRAMATIC RATE OF
IMPROVEMENT THAN IN THE PREVIOUS DECADES OF VIETNAMESE
SOCIALISM, THEY NOTED. AGRICULTURE HAS BEEN "MODERNIZED,"
WITH GREATER VARIETIES OF CROPS INTRODUCED. HIGHER LEVELS
OF EDUCATION HAVE PRODUCED "MORE INTELLECTUAL" RURAL
RESIDENTS AMONG THE MINORITIES. HOWEVER, OFFICIALS ADMITTED
THAT "DISPARITIES WILL REMAIN" BETWEEN THE ETHNIC MINORITIES
IN MOUNTAINOUS AREAS AND THE MAJORITY KINH, AND THAT THE
STRUGGLE TO "RESOLVE THE PROBLEM OF SOCIAL EQUALITY" WILL
CONTINUE TO POSE A CHALLENGE TO THE GVN. NOTABLY, EVEN IF
VIETNAM MEETS THE GVN TARGET OF BECOMING A DEVELOPED COUNTRY
BY 2020, THE MOUNTAINOUS AREAS "IN REALITY" WILL NOT MAKE IT
TO THIS LEVEL, OFFICIALS READILY CONFESSED. ONE OF THE NEW
CHALLENGES WILL BE TO BALANCE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION IN
MOUNTAINOUS AREAS WITH ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, THEY ADDED.

5. (U) OFFICIALS AT THE COMMISSION AND AT THE NATIONAL
ASSEMBLY HAVE OFTEN CITED THE RELATIVELY HIGH NUMBERS OF
ETHNIC MINORITIES (COMPARED TO THEIR PERCENTAGES OF THE
POPULATION) WITHIN THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY. IN THE MAY 19
ELECTIONS, ALMOST 20 PCT OF THE CANDIDATES WERE ETHNIC

UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED PTQ7688

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ACTION EAP-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AID-00 AMAD-00 ACQ-00 CIAE-00 DINT-00
DODE-00 DOEE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00 EB-00 ED-01 FBIE-00
UTED-00 VC-00 HHS-01 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 IO-00
L-00 VCE-00 AC-01 NSAE-00 NSCE-00 OIC-02 OMB-01
OPIC-01 PA-00 PM-00 PRS-00 ACE-00 P-00 SP-00
STR-00 TEST-00 TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00 DSCC-00 PRM-00
DRL-02 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /010W
------------------180D97 160036Z /38
R 152357Z DEC 02
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8347
INFO AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY
AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
AMEMBASSY VIENTIANE
USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI

UNCLAS SECTION 02 OF 04 HANOI 002975

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE


MINORITIES. 61 PCT OF THESE CANDIDATES WON THEIR SEATS,
PRODUCING A TOTAL OF 86 ETHNIC MINORITY DELEGATES (OUT OF
498 TOTAL DELEGATES -- ABOUT 17 PCT). NONG DUC MANH,
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 HANOI 02975 02 OF 04 160036Z
GENERAL SECRETARY OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF VIETNAM (CPV),
IS AN ETHNIC TAY FROM BAC KAN PROVINCE, AND THE HIGHEST
RANKING ETHNIC MINORITY IN SRV HISTORY (OR VIETNAMESE
HISTORY, FOR THAT MATTER). HE IS THE SOLE ETHNIC MINORITY
MEMBER ON THE CPV POLITBURO, ALTHOUGH THERE ARE TEN OTHERS
ON THE 150-PERSON CPV CENTRAL COMMITTEE. ONLY TWO AMONG THE
30 GVN MINISTERS (OR EQUIVALENTS) ARE ETHNIC MINORITIES:
KSOR PHUOC, THE CHAIRMAN OF THE ETHNIC MINORITIES
COMMISSION, AND QUACH LE THANH, THE CHIEF STATE INSPECTOR.

REALITIES IN THE NORTH: CAO BANG
----------------------------------

6. (U) OFFICIALS IN CAO BANG PROVINCE PAINTED A ROSY
PICTURE OF INTER-ETHNIC HARMONY DURING POL/C'S NOVEMBER
VISIT. ETHNIC TAY MAKE UP THE PLURALITY OF THE POPULATION,
WITH 40 PCT; ETHNIC KINH COMPOSE LESS THAN 5 PCT. THEY
CLAIMED THAT 80 PCT OF ALL CADRES IN THE PROVINCE CAME FROM
ONE OF THE EIGHT ETHNIC GROUPS, WITH PERCENTAGES OF ETHNIC
MINORITY CADRES EVEN HIGHER AT THE VILLAGE AND COMMUNE
LEVELS. A SIMILAR RATIO EXISTS WITHIN THE PROVINCIAL
PEOPLE'S COUNCIL, WHILE 100 PCT OF ITS NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
DELEGATES ARE ETHNIC MINORITIES, THEY CLAIMED. (ACTUALLY,
ONE CAO BANG NA DELEGATE -- NGUYEN HONG VINH, CPV CENTRAL
COMMITTEE MEMBER AND STANDING DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF THE CC'S
IDEOLOGICAL AND CULTURAL DEPARTMENT AS WELL AS PRESIDENT OF
VIETNAM JOURNALISTS ASSOCIATION -- IS AN ETHNIC KINH.) CAO
BANG ALSO CLAIMED A 100 PCT TURNOUT RATE AT THE MAY 19
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS (NOTE: AN ASTONISHING FEAT
ANYWHERE, MUCH LESS IN SUCH A MOUNTAINOUS AND REMOTE AREA.
END NOTE).
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 HANOI 02975 02 OF 04 160036Z

7. (U) ACCORDING TO PROVINCIAL VICE CHAIRMAN HOANG VAN
KHOI (HIMSELF AN ETHNIC TAY), THE VARIOUS ETHNIC GROUPS NOT
ONLY INCREASINGLY LIVE IN MIXED COMMUNITIES BUT ALSO
NOWADAYS MARRY EACH OTHER MORE FREQUENTLY. (HE IS MARRIED
TO AN ETHNIC KINH, WHO SPEAKS FLUENT TAY, HE SAID.) HE
CLAIMED THAT THERE WAS NOT, AND HAD NEVER HAD BEEN, ANY
FIGHTING AMONG ETHNIC GROUPS. THE CURRENT REALITY, HE
NOTED, WAS THAT IT WAS MORE AND MORE DIFFICULT TO
DIFFERENTIATE AMONG THE ETHNIC MINORITIES, SINCE VIRTUALLY
ALL HAVE TURNED TO MORE "CONVENIENT" WESTERN-STYLE CLOTHES,
AND SPEAK VIETNAMESE EXCEPT PERHAPS AT HOME. LOCAL MARRIAGE
TRADITIONS MIRROR THOSE OF THE MAJORITY KINH: 90 PCT OF
BRIDES GO TO LIVE WITH THEIR HUSBAND'S FAMILIES, OFFICIALS
CLAIMED.

8. (U) VICE CHAIRMAN KHOI AND OTHER SENIOR OFFICIALS
DESCRIBED A PROVINCE THAT HAS "VERY LITTLE RELIGION," WHICH
THEY ASCRIBED TO THE NON-RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS OF THE ETHNIC
MINORITIES (AS OPPOSED TO THE MORE TRADITIONALLY BUDDHIST
KINH, FOR EXAMPLE). KHOI SAID THERE WERE "ONLY A FEW"
BUDDHIST TEMPLES IN THE ENTIRE PROVINCE, ALTHOUGH THERE WERE
SOME TRADITIONAL "HALLS" FOR ANCESTOR WORSHIP AND OTHER
COMMUNAL "CULTURAL" ACTIVITIES. HE CLAIMED THAT THERE WERE
"NO" PROTESTANT CHURCHES, EVEN AMONG THE HMONG, AND ONLY
"SOME" CATHOLIC CHURCHES, INCLUDING ONE LARGE FRENCH-ERA
CHURCH PERCHED ON A HILLSIDE IN DOWNTOWN CAO BANG CITY.
KHOI SAID HE BELIEVED THAT THERE WAS ONLY ONE CATHOLIC
PRIEST IN THE ENTIRE PROVINCE.

ANOTHER REALITY CHECK: BAC KAN
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 HANOI 02975 02 OF 04 160036Z
-------------------------------

9. (U) OFFICIALS IN BAC KAN PROVINCE DESCRIBED A VARIETY
OF RURAL DEVELOPMENTAL PROGRAMS TO IMPROVE THE LIVES OF
ETHNIC MINORITIES, WHO MAKE UP ABOUT 55 PCT OF THE TOTAL
POPULATION, ACCORDING TO NATIONAL STATISTICS. (NOTE:
PROVINCIAL OFFICIALS CLAIMED THAT ETHNIC KINH MADE UP ONLY
ABOUT 15 PCT OF THE PROVINCIAL POPULATION, WHILE ETHNIC TAY
REPRESENTED 50 PCT OF THE TOTAL, BUT THE ETHNIC MINORITIES
COMMISSION IN HANOI SUBSEQUENTLY INSISTED THAT ITS
STATISTICS WERE MORE ACCURATE. END NOTE) THEY EXPRESSED
HOPE THAT THE DEVELOPMENT OF PROVEN EXTENSIVE MINERAL
RESOURCES WILL BE ATTRACTIVE TO FOREIGN INVESTORS (INCLUDING
FROM THE U.S.), ALONG WITH THE PROCESSING OF BAC KAN'S LARGE
TIMBER RESERVES. THEY ACKNOWLEDGED THE DANGERS OF
ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION IN THIS DEVELOPMENTAL PROCESS, AS
WELL AS THE PROBLEMS CAUSED BY THE CURRENTLY POOR ROAD LINKS
WITH HANOI AND OTHER MARKETS.

10. (U) PROVINCIAL CADRES ARE VIRTUALLY ALL ETHNIC
MINORITIES, OFFICIALS CLAIMED, WITH THE MAJORITY BELONGING
TO THE TAY GROUP. FOUR OUT OF BAC KAN'S SIX NEW NATIONAL
ASSEMBLY DELEGATES ARE ETHNIC MINORITIES; THE TWO ETHNIC
KINH DELEGATES ARE HANOI RESIDENTS (ONE IS DEPUTY PRIME
MINISTER PHAM GIA KHIEM). NATIVE SON NONG DUC MANH DID NOT

UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED PTQ7689

PAGE 01 HANOI 02975 03 OF 04 160036Z
ACTION EAP-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AID-00 AMAD-00 ACQ-00 CIAE-00 DINT-00
DODE-00 DOEE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00 EB-00 ED-01 FBIE-00
UTED-00 VC-00 HHS-01 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 IO-00
L-00 VCE-00 AC-01 NSAE-00 NSCE-00 OIC-02 OMB-01
OPIC-01 PA-00 PM-00 PRS-00 ACE-00 P-00 SP-00
STR-00 TEST-00 TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00 DSCC-00 PRM-00
DRL-02 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /010W
------------------180D9D 160036Z /38
R 152357Z DEC 02
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8348
INFO AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY
AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
AMEMBASSY VIENTIANE
USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI

UNCLAS SECTION 03 OF 04 HANOI 002975

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE


RUN IN BAC KAN, BUT INSTEAD WAS A SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATE FOR
HANOI'S CONSTITUENCY #1.

UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 HANOI 02975 03 OF 04 160036Z
11. (U) BAC KAN OFFICIALS, INCLUDING PROVINCIAL VICE
CHAIRMAN NONG VAN LENH, CLAIMED "EXCELLENT" RELATIONS AMONG
THE SEVEN MAIN ETHNIC GROUPS, INCLUDING INCREASING LEVELS OF
INTER-MARRIAGE. THEY NOTED "NO DISCRIMINATION" AMONG THE
ETHNIC GROUPS, BUT ADMITTED THAT THE HMONG GROUP WAS LESS
WELL INTEGRATED DUE PRIMARILY TO THEIR MORE REMOTE LOCATIONS
AND LESS FREQUENT INTER-ACTION. AS IN CAO BANG, BAC KAN
OFFICIALS PORTRAYED THEIR PROVINCIAL POPULATION AS LARGELY
NON-RELIGIOUS, APART FROM GENERALLY SHARED TRADITIONS OF
ANCESTOR WORSHIP. THEY CLAIMED THAT THERE WAS "LITTLE"
BUDDHISM, AND ONLY "A FEW" CATHOLICS, WHO HAD NEITHER CHURCH
NOR PRIEST. AMONG THE HMONG (ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO EMIGRATED
FROM CHINA IN OR SHORTLY AFTER 1979, THEY NOTED), THERE WERE
SOME PROTESTANTS, BUT WITH NO FORMAL CHURCHES OR PASTORS.
THEY ADMITTED THAT RELIGIOUS BROADCASTING IN THE HMONG
LANGUAGE FROM THE PHILIPPINES WAS HAVING SOME IMPACT IN
ATTRACTING NEW BELIEVERS, HOWEVER. THEY ADDED THAT THERE
HAD BEEN "NO REQUESTS" TO REGISTER ANY CHURCHES, NOR HAD
THERE EVER BEEN "ANY PROBLEMS" WITH RELIGIOUS BELIEF,
HOWEVER. THEY CATEGORICALLY DENIED ANY EFFORTS BY OFFICIALS
TO FORCE RELIGIOUS BELIEVERS TO RECANT.

12. (U) OFFICIALS NOTED THAT SOME ETHNIC MINORITIES --
PRIMARILY TAY, HMONG, AND DAO -- FROM BAC KAN HAD BEEN AMONG
THOSE WHO HAD MIGRATED IN RECENT YEARS TO THE CENTRAL
HIGHLANDS, BUT DESCRIBED THESE AS STRICTLY "VOLUNTARY" RE-
LOCATIONS. "MANY" HAD SUBSEQUENTLY RETURNED IN RECENT
YEARS, DESCRIBING EVEN GREATER HARDSHIPS IN THE CENTRAL
HIGHLANDS, THEY NOTED, HOWEVER.

COMMENT: LOOKING MORE ALIKE
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 HANOI 02975 03 OF 04 160036Z
----------------------------

13. (SBU) IN THESE MOUNTAINOUS AREAS, ALONG WINDING,
RUDIMENTARY, AND SOMETIMES DANGEROUS "ROADS," THE OUTREACH
OF THE GVN -- AND CPV -- IS FAIRLY IMPRESSIVE. SCHOOLS,
MEDICAL CLINICS, POST OFFICES, AND, INCREASINGLY,
ELECTRICITY OFTEN REACH DOWN TO VERY REMOTE SETTLEMENTS,
ALONG WITH THE PERVASIVE DUAL SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT AND PARTY
CADRES. THE GVN APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN METICULOUS AS WELL IN
SETTLING UP THE FULL PANOPLY OF REPRESENTATIVE ORGANS --
"THE PEOPLE'S COUNCILS" -- DOWN TO THE LOCAL LEVEL. THE
2002 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS WERE NOTABLE BY CLEARLY
IDENTIFYING THE ETHNIC BACKGROUND OF ALL CANDIDATES AND IN
RETURNING A SLIGHTLY HIGHER PERCENTAGE OF ETHNIC MINORITY
DELEGATES THAN THEIR SHARE OF THE POPULATION WOULD
STATISTICALLY WARRANT. GVN OFFICIALS LIKE TO BOAST THAT
SUCH RESULTS PUT VIETNAM AHEAD OF THE U.S. IN ENSURING FAIR
REPRESENTATION OF ALL ETHNIC MINORITIES, AT LEAST WITHIN THE
NATIONAL LEGISLATURE.

14. (SBU) GVN AND CPV EFFORTS TO ORGANIZE DOWN TO THE
GRASSROOTS LIKELY MORE PROFOUNDLY REFLECT THE CPV'S LENINIST
MODEL THAN ITS CONCERN FOR THE SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC WELL-
BEING OF THE ETHNIC MINORITIES -- ALTHOUGH SUCH CONCERN
CLEARLY DOES EXIST. UPON ACHIEVING FIRST INDEPENDENCE AND
LATER NATIONAL UNIFICATION, THE GVN/CPV'S TOP PRIORITY WAS
ON CREATING SOCIAL ORDER AND ENSURING UNCHALLENGED CPV RULE.
GIVEN THE HISTORICAL ISOLATION OF SOME ETHNIC GROUPS -- AND
IN SOME CASES, OPPOSITION TO THE CPV (ALTHOUGH SOME ETHNIC
GROUPS, ESPECIALLY IN THE NORTH, WORKED CLOSELY WITH THE CPV
EVEN IN ITS INFANCY) -- THE GVN AND CPV VIEWED A STRONG
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 HANOI 02975 03 OF 04 160036Z
ORGANIZATIONAL NETWORK AS ESSENTIAL; IN MANY PLACES, SUCH AN
OFFICIAL PRESENCE WAS ALSO UNPRECEDENTED. THE ECONOMIC
RESULTS MAY HAVE BEEN MARGINAL (AS ELSEWHERE IN VIETNAM)
UNTIL THE DOI MOI ERA, BUT THE GVN HAS SINCE 1986 -- AND
ESPECIALLY OVER THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS -- DEVOTED EVER-
HIGHER LEVELS OF RESOURCES AIMED AT THE MOUNTAINOUS AREAS.
OFFICIALS ARE UNDOUBTEDLY RIGHT IN ASSESSING THAT THEY
CANNOT ELIMINATE THE DISPARITIES WITH LOWLAND AREAS AND
ESPECIALLY WITH URBAN CENTERS (THOSE GAPS MAY INDEED NOW BE
WIDENING), BUT CURRENT EFFORTS ARE IN MANY CASES PAYING OFF
IN IMPROVING LIVING STANDARDS AND IN WINNING SOME ADDITIONAL
LOYALTY AND GRATITUDE AMONG MANY OF THE ETHNIC MINORITIES IN
THE NORTH AND NORTHWEST.

14. (SBU) THE COMBINED EFFECT OF VIETNAM'S TOP-DOWN SYSTEM
AND ITS UNITARY EDUCATIONAL AND CADRE MODELS IS, INEVITABLY,
GROWING ASSIMILATION OF THE ETHNIC MINORITIES, ALTHOUGH GVN
OFFICIALS WOULD DENY EMPHATICALLY THAT THIS IS A GOAL. AS
MORE AND MORE ETHNIC MINORITIES TURN TO "WESTERN" GARB --
OFTEN NOTING HOW "UNCOMFORTABLE" TRADITIONAL CLOTHES ARE --
AND LEARN VIETNAMESE IN SCHOOL AND IN THE WORKPLACE, THEY DO
LOOK AND ACT MORE AND MORE LIKE THE MAJORITY KINH.
INCREASED INTER-MARRIAGE AND MOBILITY WILL HEIGHTEN THIS
TREND. THE GVN DOES WHAT IT CAN TO ENCOURAGE TRADITIONAL
FESTIVALS (WHICH ITS TOURISM OFFICIALS RECOGNIZE CAN BE A

UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED PTQ7690

PAGE 01 HANOI 02975 04 OF 04 160036Z
ACTION EAP-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AID-00 AMAD-00 ACQ-00 CIAE-00 DINT-00
DODE-00 DOEE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00 EB-00 ED-01 FBIE-00
UTED-00 VC-00 HHS-01 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 IO-00
L-00 VCE-00 AC-01 NSAE-00 NSCE-00 OIC-02 OMB-01
OPIC-01 PA-00 PM-00 PRS-00 ACE-00 P-00 SP-00
STR-00 TEST-00 TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00 DSCC-00 PRM-00
DRL-02 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /010W
------------------180D9F 160036Z /38
R 152357Z DEC 02
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8349
INFO AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY
AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
AMEMBASSY VIENTIANE
USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI

UNCLAS SECTION 04 OF 04 HANOI 002975

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

GOOD MARKETING HOOK), CEREMONIAL WEARING OF TRIBAL CLOTHES
(ESPECIALLY FOR THOSE TELEVISED NATIONAL ASSEMBLY EVENTS),
AND PERFORMANCE OF ETHNIC SONGS AND DANCES, BUT THESE WILL
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 HANOI 02975 04 OF 04 160036Z
LIKELY MORE AND MORE BECOME QUAINT CULTURAL ODDITIES, RATHER
THAN REPRESENT VIBRANT ETHNIC MINORITY TRADITIONS. REGIONAL
DISPARITIES, AS WELL AS POSSIBLY GREATER RESISTANCE TO
CHANGE AMONG SOME ETHNIC GROUPS, WILL MAKE THIS AN UNEVEN
PROCESS, HOWEVER.
BURGHARDT

UNCLASSIFIED

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