Fighting against the plot to use the issues on ethnicity and religion to incite riot and separatism in the Central Highlands

    08:41 13/07/2019

    The Central Highlands includes 5 provinces (Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Dak Lak, Dak Nong, and Lam Dong), sharing borders with Laos and Cambodia, having a total area of 54,451.5km2 and a population of about 5.7 million; there are 54 peoples living in the Central Highlands; the minority ethnic people account for 33% of its population. It holds a position of utmost importance in terms of economy, politics, security, and defence to the Homeland construction and protection; therefore, it is always at the forefront of the hostile forces’ “peaceful evolution” strategy and plots of riot and separatism.

    Basically, they have been plotting to incite the ethnic minority people to establish the so-called “Dega State” in Indochina, separate the Central Highlands from Vietnam, transform the Central Highlands into an “autonomous region”, gradually establish an “independent state”, and create a favourable condition for the ethnic minority people in other regions to effectuate “flashpoints” as a pretext for their intervention in a bid to destabilize our politics, undermine the national great unity block, and eliminate the socialist regime in our country. To do so, they have been employing many cunning acts of sabotage in a both public and secret, direct and indirect manner in the Central Highlands. Specifically, (1) they advocate the “divide and rule” policy and demand to establish an independent “Dega State”. (2) They distort the ethnicity, religion, democracy, and human rights situation in our country and incite the people to oppose the authority. (3) They take advantage of our Party and State’s religious policy to develop illegal religions, particularly the “Dega Protestantism” in order to “religionize” our country’s regions. (4) They make use of charitable, humanitarian, investment activities to infiltrate into the ethnic minority inhabited areas, build the force, support and direct acts of sabotage, and create a pretext for their intervention. (5) They distort historical issues to separate the ethnic minority people from the Kinh people. (6) They seek to bribe those who have high prestige within religious communities and ethnic minority groups and plant their agents in our political system. (7) They make best use of mass media, the Internet, and social networks to maintain communications, directly direct and incite the reactionary people to distort our Party and State’s guidelines and policies.

    At present, the socio-economic and defence-security situation in the Central Highlands still has complex developments; the people’s living standard is still low; the political system in some places has yet to meet the task requirement; the issue on free migration negatively impacts on the sustainable development; some ethnic minority people still advocate separatism and “Dega State” and readily rise up when being incited. To effectively prevent and combat the hostile forces’ plots and acts of sabotage in the Central Highlands, it is necessary to focus on the following.

    First, stepping up the work of propagation and education to render all people, particularly the ethnic minority people fully aware of our Party and State’s guidelines and policies on ethnicity and religion in the new situation. This is a basic measure aimed at translating the Party’s resolutions and directives as well as the Party’s legal documents into life. At the same time, this work is aimed at making the people clearly understand the hostile forces’ plot to take advantage of the issues on ethnicity and religion to deny the Party’s guidelines on national renewal, provoke the contradiction between the people and the authorities at all levels, and undermine the solidarity between ethnic minority groups and religions. Doing so will provide a solid foundation for the religious people to fulfill their religious and social duties as well as for the ethnic minority groups to join hands in performing the political, socio-economic development, defence-security tasks in their neighbourhoods, thereby achieving a consensus in the struggle against the hostile and reactionary forces’ acts of sabotage.

    To make this work effective, cadres and party members should stay close to the people and grasp their thought and aspirations; closely combine concentrated propagation with scattered propagation; increase the duration of radio programs in ethnic minority languages and make them simple, short, and easy to understand in line with the ethnic minority people’s intellectual level. Due attention should be paid to promoting the role of village patriarchs, ethnic minority intellectuals, and religious dignitaries in encouraging the religious people to observe the Party’s guidelines, the State’s law, and localities’ regulations. At the same time, consideration should be given to preserving and bringing into play the peoples’ cultural identities and fine traditions; proactively detecting and opportunely, effectively fighting against the illegal missionary work and the exploitation of the religious situation to threaten human and national security, especially preventing the development of heresies, and gradually removing the “Dega Protestantism”.

    Cadres and soldiers of Kon Tum provincial armed forces joining the people’s Tet holiday

    Second, improving the material and mental life of the ethnic minority and religious people. Doing so will provide a basis for neutralizing the hostile forces’ plot to take advantage of the people’s difficulties to enhance their sabotage. Localities and sectors should effectively implement the programs for socio-economic development and literacy, deal with land disputes, accelerate the progress of land and forest allocation, reorganize the ethnic minority people’s production, create employments for the people, and help them settle down. At the same time, due regard should be paid to dispatching agricultural and forestry cadres to help the people apply technology to crop and animal husbandry, improving their income and living condition, making them settle down in a long time, particularly in the mountainous, border districts.

    Third, raising the efficiency of state management of ethnicity and religion. Local party committees and authorities should actively study, supplement, and opportunely issue legal normative documents on leading, directing, and giving instructions on religious organizations’ operation in accordance with their charters and regulations and Vietnam’s law. They should frequently, proactively grasp religions’ situation and create a favourable condition for religious dignitaries and followers to practise their religions under the law. Significance should be attached to conducting investigation and inspection in order to opportunely identify and correct sectors and authorities’ violations of the policy on religion. It is necessary to develop the plans on assigning committees, sectors, and unions to stay close to the grass-roots level areas and opportunely, completely settle the arising thorny problems related to ethnicity and religion. Measures should be taken to deal with heads of the illegal missionary work and monitor and control obstinate elements. A favourable condition should be created for the people’s worship places in accordance with their mental aspirations, tradition, and identity as well as the regulations on building the cultural life and fighting against depraved customs in the areas. Besides, it is important to document legal evidence to combat the enemy’s allegation of Vietnam’s “religious persecution”; to strictly implement the Regulations on Grass-Roots Level Democracy; to respect and promote the people’s right to mastery; avoid going against the public opinion so that the hostile forces could exploit and distort the situation.

    Fourth, continuing to consolidate and build the grass-roots level political system, with a focus on improving the grass-roots level party organizations and authorities’ leadership capacity and combativeness and building a contingent of cadres comprehensively, particularly key ethnic minority cadres. To do so, local party committees and authorities should formulate the plans on training ethnic minority cadres and party members, making them capable of their assigned task, frequently staying close to the areas, understanding the people’s thought and aspirations, promoting the consensus among the people in executing the Party’s guidelines, the State’s law, and localities’ plans for socio-economic, cultural development. At the same time, due attention should be paid to dispatching cadres to work in the ethnic minority inhabited and religious regions, particularly in the key ones. Those cadres must have a good command of ethnic languages and deep knowledge of the people’s customs and religions, respect, stay close to, understand, learn from, and have responsibility for the people. Due regard should be paid to promoting the role of village heads and patriarchs and religious dignitaries; renewing the mass mobilization work in the ethnic minority inhabited and religious areas under the motto of being honest, active, cautious, persistent, subtle, and steady; adopting various measures in accordance with the particularities of each ethnic minority group and religion.

    Fifth, frequently building and consolidating the all-people national defence and the posture of all-people national defence associated with the posture of people’s security. In this regard, focus should be placed on building “basic, comprehensive, inter-connected, solid” defensive zones and making the people’s armed forces strong and capable of playing the core role in maintaining political security and social order and safety in the Central Highlands. In addition, it is necessary to be take the initiative on the ideological-cultural front so as to foil the hostile forces’ plot to take advantage of the issues on ethnicity and religion to provoke riot and separatism in the areas; to effectively implement the measures for demonstration and riot prevention and control; to inspect, adjust, and complete the projects for security maintenance in the neighbourhoods. At the same time, it is essential to step up the movement on all people’s participation in protecting the Homeland’s security, effectively prevent and combat the enemy’s intelligence activities, and consolidate the people’s security posture as the basis for the ethnic minority and religious people to fight against the enemy’s plots and artifices and maintain political stability.

    When disputes over the benefit between ethnic minority communities happen, it is necessary to mediate them in a harmonious manner and avoid discriminating and separating the ethnic minority groups. It is vital to opportunely identify and neutralize the enemy’s propagation activities and incitement to extreme nationalism, separatism, and autonomy; to strictly deal with those who take advantage of the freedom to religion and belief to violate the law, separate the ethnic minority groups and the people from the Party, destabilize social order, and threaten national security and benefit. Moreover, it is important to proactively prevent the hostile forces from directing and supporting the forces inside Vietnam claiming separatism and autonomy; fight against the internationalization of the issues on ethnicity and the external intervention. Due regard should be paid to promoting the patriotism of the ethnic minority and religious people; maintaining the close cooperation between organizations and the armed forces; taking advantage of the people’s support in the struggle against the hostile forces’ plots and artifices in the areas. The Fatherland Fronts and unions in the political system should promote their role in grasping the masses’ ideology and encouraging them to actively implement the Party’s guidelines, the State’s law and policy, and local regulations as well as raise their responsibility for building and developing the Central Highlands.

    In the upcoming time, the hostile forces will continue taking advantage of the issues on ethnicity, religion, democracy, and human rights with a view to destabilizing political security and effectuating riots and separatism in the Central Highlands. Thus, we need to raise a sense of vigilance and make sufficient, correct forecasts about the situation in order to opportunely adopt the measures for effectively fighting against and thwarting the hostile forces’ plots and artifices in this area.

    Author: Lt. Gen. Tran Quang Phuong, Member of the Party Central Committee, Deputy Director of the General Department of Politics, the Vietnam People’s Army