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New Economic Zones program

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Title: New Economic Zones program  
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Subject: Communism in Vietnam, South Vietnam
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New Economic Zones program

The New Economic Zones program (vi: Xây dựng các vùng kinh tế mới) was implemented by the Vietnamese communist government after the Fall of Saigon. Between 1975 and 1980, more than 1 million northerners migrated to the south and central regions formerly under the Republic of Vietnam. [1] This program, in turn, displaced around 750,000 to over 1 million Southerners from their homes and forcibly relocated them to uninhabited mountainous forested areas.[1] Properties of evicted southern Vietnamese were confiscated, collectivized, and then redistributed by the communist authorities, and the recipients of these confiscated properties were often former Viet Cong, and members or affiliates of the North Vietnamese communist party or army. This, combined with grave human rights violations, lack of economic freedom, and poverty produced by governmental mismanagement of the centrally planned economy caused a mass exodus of 1-3 million Vietnamese fleeing communist rule, the majority of whom were from South Vietnam.

Conditions in the "New Economic Zones" were poor. After a 1976 visit to a new economic area for former Saigon, French journalist Jean Lacouture wrote that it was "a prefabricated hell and a place one comes to only if the alternative to it would be death."[2] R.J. Rummel, an analyst of political killings, estimated that between 20,000 and 155,000 Vietnamese died performing hard labor in NEZs.[3]

Since 1975, Southern Vietnamese use the term "Bắc 54" ("Tonkin 54") to refer to Northern Vietnamese who migrated to the South in 1954 (as part of Operation Passage to Freedom, who were mainly political and religious refugees fleeing impending communist rule), and "Bắc 75" ("Tonkin 75") to refer to Northerners who migrated to the South in 1975 onwards, many under this economic program.


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ Le Thi Anh, "The New Vietnam", National Review, April 29, 1977.
  3. ^ Rummel, Rudolph (1997), Statistics of Vietnamese Democide, in his Statistics of Democide.

See also

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