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Biến Cố Mậu Thân 1968


Not only the civi1ian cadres and their families were killed but also all those who were ‘social negatives’ in the eyes of the Vietcong 

Though the Viet Cong attacked more than 120 urban centres during the Tet offensive, their main attack was directed against the old imperial city of Hue. They managed to hold out for 25 days there. The result was not only that the greater pan of this cultural heart of Vietnam was destroyed, bur also that their terror came to a climax here.

Since the three northern provinces of South Vietnam have closest ethnic affinities with the North. Hanoi had expected massive defection to their side. Considering the somewhat non-committal attitude of the population from the beginning, Vietcong reaction could be expected to be ferocious indeed, when they found that even the Hue population gave them no support. When visiting Hue recently, we were struck by an even more outspoken anti-communist attitude than can be found in any other part of the country¬. This is quite understandable for there is hardly I family that did not lose one or more of its members. Many of them were found in the mass graves. Though the exact figures are not yet known, it has been established with certainty that at least 1,776 civilians were murdered. They did not accidentally get involved in the fighting; they were the victims of deliberate, wholesale slaughter.

A secret North Vietnamese report of the events at Hue from January 1 to March 23, 1968 states: 'We eliminated 1,892 administration officials, 790 tyrants and several officers’. Furthermore, it reads: 'Of those who surrendered, 160 were puppet soldiers and 220 administrative officials, including four member of the Dai Viet party, the party regional committee and the central committee'. This crude announcement is in macabre contrast to that offered by Madame Nguyen Thi Binh, deputy leader of the Vietcong delegation to the Paris conference, who denied any communist involvement in the Hue massacre, telling the British Broadcasting Corporation that the deaths were the result of ‘partisan struggles and internal liquidation: carried out by rival South Vietnamese factions! The parallel to the Soviet engineering of the Katyn massacre and their later denial that they had done so needs no e1aboration. Today we know that all those who surrendered were killed and thrown into mass graves. The report continues: ‘Even while the battle was at its height, communist cadres with lists tacked to clipboards rounded up tyrants and enemies of the people and their families for execution '.

In a speech North Vietnamese leader Le Duan spoke with pride about the extremely rigorous general offensive and victories the communist "insurgents" won every-where. (Hanoi Radio February 2, 1970). The disgusting massacre at Hue is a ‘victory’ of which only a hardened communist war criminal can be proud. It is in line with the ‘noble’ ideas Ho Chi Minh, who according to the Hanoi press spoke in November 1967 of punishing ‘counter-revolutionary crimes undermining the struggle against US aggression’. Part of North Vietnamese and Vietcong ‘social reconstruction’ at Hue consisted of trials of men, women and children before improvised communist tribunals. These public trials 1asted no longer than a few minutes each and sentences were invariably ‘immediate execution’.

Even simple shooting or men, women and children who were to be ‘executed’ did not satisfy the Vietcong. Many bodies were later found tied together with wire, with indications they had been slaughtered from behind with bayonet. Some were bludgeoned, others decapitated and some (about 600) buried alive. Even while the battle of Hue was at its height, when presumably the Vietcong would wish to consolidate military gains in combat with South Vietnamese and American troops, the cadres with their rosters attached to clipboards continued to round up alleged enemies of the people and their families for mass execution. Even non-Vietnamese humanitarian workers were victims. (A captured Vietcong order said that all non-South Vietnamese had to be detained and killed). Among those stain were two French priests and three West German doctors. The German doctors, who had been lecturing at the Hue University Medical School and the wife of one of them were marched away by the Vietcong and their bodies were found later in a shallow grave in a field south of the town.

The first mass graves were discovered al 20 locations within an 8-kilometre radius of Hue, containing 1,200 bodies. A resemblance to the Soviet massacres at Katyn and Lvov was that at least half of the bodies proved that these people lay in a contorted position, showing that they had been buried alive. More than 2,000 inhabitants of Hue were wounded and the estimate is that more than 1,200 were taken prisoner by the communists. And as one can expect of these war criminals, few of those led away will still be a1ive. The lucky fews will be in concentration camps. Later more mass graves were found in the neighborhood of Hue with the arms of the victims bound behind them. The facts prove that all these people were not victims or war action, but were murdered in cold blood. For example, a communist squad with a death sentence entered the house of a civil servant and shot him. His wife, son, daughter-in-law, a male and female servant and their small child were also killed. They even killed the dog, cat and goldfish they found in the house. This proves that here one can only speak of preconceived murder. The aim of the communists of was not only the deliberate execution of all officials and their families, but also everybody who avoided questioning or who criticized the attitude of the Vietcong. They were murdered on the spot or led away to be ‘executed’ elsewhere.

How do the marchers for peace gloss over these atrocities? Is this the North Vietnamese liberation war? The killing of hundreds of children for instance? We refer them to the farmer of the village of Duong Mong, who can describe to them how he saw children abducted, heard their cries of terror and then the shots despatching them The bodies of 15 of those children were found later, together with those of 51 other civilians.

Mass graves were also found in Phu Thu district outside Hue. Children of 16 and younger were fetched out or their schools by the Vietcong; all were abducted to be indoctrinated in camps and later incorporated into communist army units. For three months me children were kept prisoner. Some of them managed to escape; most refused to join the Vietcong - little national heroes averse to the Vietcong's sordid work - and were executed in small parties. In the hamlet of Ha Tru Mot alone, almost 100 or them were found in mass graves along a river. A number of children who out of fear had given in and joined the Vietcong, but later managed to escape, had witnessed the execution or their friends.

Information from a Vietcong defector led to the discoveries of some 250 skulls and bones in a river-bed located deep in the jungle. Not only the civi1ian cadres and their families were killed but also all those who were ‘social negatives’ in the eyes of the Vietcong. Once the Vietcong realized that they had failed in their effort to occupy and keep Hue, they started a new move of mass-murdering. They were determined to leave behind no witnesses who might testify against them or against the communist agents who lived at Hue before the offensive. Fortunately, there remain thousands of citizens of Hue who can tell their story. The victims of the last cruel murder acts of the Vietcong are found tied together in groups of ten, cut down by submachine guns. Knowing all this, it is understandable that today the people at Hue and in the neighboring villages and hamlets (the latter having also suffered from Vietcong terror) are consumed with a fervent hatred of the communists. Here you will not find advocates of non-violence. The same can also be said of the people of Dak Son and all the other villages which saw what the communists mean by ‘liberation’. In the foregoing only a few of the communist terror acts among the thousands that have taken place are mentioned. The similarity between Soviet massacres at Katyn and other places and the Vietcong massacres is clear. No one can deny that this terror is welt-planned and ordered by the communist authorities.

"The Vietcong Passed By"
Asia Publishing Voorburg Netherlands 1971 (p. 29-33)
 M. w. J.M. Broekmejjer


Posted on 16 Oct 2007

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Biến Cố Mậu Thân 1968


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