In 1971, North Vietnam’s Public Security Service (the North Vietnamese equivalent of the former Soviet KGB, known at the time as the Ministry of Interior) held a national conference to review the status of the Service’s efforts targeted against the Vietnamese Catholic Church over the past decade and a half and to formulate plans and policies for its future operations directed against the Church. In this speech given at the opening of the conference, Party Politburo Member and Minister of Public Security General Tran Quoc Hoan [Trần Quốc Hoàn], outlined the successes that he said had been achieved in gaining the sympathy and support of the Catholic “masses” and in combatting what he called “reactionaries exploiting the Catholic religion”.
A Few Opinions Expressed by the Minister on Several Basic Issues during the General Review of the Handling of Cases (Spoken during a Discussion with the Committee to Review the Handling of Cases in 1971) [Excerpt]
A Few Opinions Expressed by the Minister on Several Basic Issues during the General Review of the Handling of Cases
(spoken during a discussion with the Committee to Review the Handling of Cases in 1971)
I – The Concept of a Case [Chuyên Án]
-There are two types of operational cases: political cases and criminal cases. Criminal cases always must be resolved [ended] quickly, unlike political cases. In the category of political cases, espionage cases are different than cases involving domestic [internal] counter-revolutionaries. And among domestic counter-revolutionary cases, cases involving counter-revolutionaries exploiting the Catholic religion are different than other counter-revolutionary cases. Catholic counter-revolutionary cases may last a long time, five years or even fifteen years, but other counter-revolutionaries must be immediately nipped in the bud.
-So what is a case? It is a step, a very important step, a very concentrated step in our fight against counter-revolutionaries and against criminals. It is aimed at clearly illuminating the schemes, the organization, the plans, the methods, and the operating procedures and tactics of revolutionaries or of criminals, and in the end to snuff out and crush their schemes, their organizations, and their activities. That is the most general meaning of the term. …
We can divide cases up into two major categories, as I said earlier: political cases (consisting of cases involving various types of spies and cases involving various types of counter-revolutionaries) and criminal cases, which consist of homicide cases, robbery cases, burglary cases, corruption cases, fraud cases, etc. Of the various types of political cases, there are cases involving different types of spies, such as sleeper agents, commando spies, spies in [foreign] organizations or agencies permanently stationed in our country, spies in delegations temporarily visiting our country, etc., and there are cases involving the different types of reactionaries, such as reactionaries who exploit the Catholic religion, reactionaries among the ethnic minority groups, and other types of reactinaries.
As for the goal of a case, in the end it must be to crush the target’s schemes and destroy his organization and his action network, and most especially we must defeat the enemy’s schemes and plans. Crushing the schemes, plans, and organization of the reactionaries and arresting and punishing the reactionaries – that is the goal, and it is an extremely important requirement in a case. However, the most important requirement is to completely defeat the enemy’s plots and schemes.
Usually, when we bring a case to a close, when we wrap up a case, we arrest and punish the counter-revolutionaries. However, there are times when we do not necessarily need to punish them. For example, with regard to reactionaries who exploit the Catholic religion, arresting and punishing these reactionaries is not our ultimate goal, even though there are times when we must arrest them and punish them. In the struggle in the course of an operation, many times we arrest or sweep up a number of targets, but for political reasons we also leave some behind to serve as “scenery”. When the Catholic faithful no longer need these targets, then they will leave them and will no longer follow them. However, with respect to a number of other types of reactionaries, we must arrest them, also for political reasons. In addition, there is also the issue of whether we need to reeducate them, to educate and win the sympathies of the reactionaries in order to force them to follow us.
Over the long term, we must achieve the goal of transforming the Catholic Church and ensuring that the church follows the path and the policies of the revolution, and then no matter what the reactionaries say, the Catholic faithful will not listen to them. Therefore the most important goal of a case is still to totally defeat the enemy’s plots and schemes. …
VWP Party Politburo Member and Minister of Public Security General Trần Quốc Hoàn's comments about "transforming" the Catholic Church in Vietnam.
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