Vietnamese Australians on Escape from Communism

Forty-six years ago, on April 30, 1975, a North Vietnamese tank rolled into Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam (now known as Ho Chi Minh City). Soldiers jumped from the tank and rushed to the presidential residence, hoisting the Viet Cong flag on the balcony on the fourth floor. The 20-year Vietnam War between the capitalist South and the communist North Vietnam is over. Saigon has fallen into a communist.

Duc Nguyen was only 10 years old when this happened. Over the years, he will see the freedom-loving city he once loved transform into a place where he needs to flee for his life.

Nguyen said the Communists turned his world upside down.

“It’s an upside down world,” Nguyen said.

“If they have a house they like, they will drive you out of the house,” he added. “They will say that it serves the purpose of the government.”

Epoch Times Photo
A photo taken in Saigon on April 30, 1975 shows a tank of the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) destroying the gates of the South Vietnamese Presidential Palace, the last base of the South Vietnamese government. (BW only). AFP / VNA (Photo courtesy – / VNA / AFP) (Photo courtesy:-/ VNA / AFP, via Getty Images)

The new government quickly revealed that its previous promise of “not rushing to the South” was no longer valid. The newspaper has been closed.

People associated with the previous administration were identified as “bad factors” and denied access to college education. Former southern soldiers were squeezed into forced labor camps, and religious institutions had to place portraits of North Vietnamese Communist leader Ho Chi Minh on the altars of their temples and churches.

“When you wanted to talk to someone on the street, you had to look over your shoulder because they might report you to the government, and the next thing you know is that you: It means that you can be put in jail for saying stupid things:’Today I’m so hungry that I don’t have enough food to eat,’ Nguyen said.

“They will force you to blame your parents. They will force you to abandon religion. They will call it a counter-revolutionary.”

After the administration implemented a socialist economy in Saigon, the government was able to group private property and the economy was devastated.

Inflation peak The rate of 453.5% in 1986.

Epoch Times Photo
Around 1960, a shop on the street in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam. (Photo courtesy of Harvey Meston / Archive Photos / Getty Images)

So in 1978, Nguyen made a life-changing decision to flee to Australia. And in gold ounces he secured himself in one place with a fragile fishing boat.

Nguyen was one of about 800,000 Vietnamese who fled Vietnam by boat to another country and one of 110,000 who fled to Australia within 20 years of the Communist takeover.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimated that about 200,000 to 400,000 refugees had died at sea, calling it a “horrible human tragedy.”

“We had nothing to eat … the boat had no covers, so it doesn’t matter if it’s sunny or raining. You have to put up with it,” Nguyen said. .. “And the pirates came. They raped the woman, but they didn’t kill anyone. It lasted about two weeks like this.”

After arriving in Australia, I met Tran Lu, a Vietnamese girl who fled Vietnam in 1986. Like many boat people, she passed through Malaysia before landing in Australia.

Le still remembers the exhilaration he felt when he saw a can of coke clogged in the sand of the Malaysian coast.

“I haven’t seen this luxury for a very long time, and I just wanted to cry,” Le told The Epoch Times.

“It [the situation in Vietnam] It was so terrible that I wanted to die in the sea. It may be raped by the captain. My boat can sink. But I was more willing to take that risk than living in a country under the Communist regime, “she added.

Le and Nguyen got married and had two children in Australia.

Le is now a Westpac accountant and Nguyen is an electrician.

Epoch Times Photo
Duc Nguyen (back) and Trang Le (center) are grateful for living in Australia. (Image by petals of peace).

But 40 years after fleeing his hometown, Nguyen is worried that the same idealism that pushed his family into the sea is now rising in a land he believed to be a safe haven.

“Communists are very cunning,” Nguyen said. “They look at these rich men and say they are exploiting you. They talk about what really works only on paper but not really.”

He said communism uses the theory of struggle and egalitarianism and the promise of “communist heaven” to drive people into rebellion. He also expressed concern about recent Marxist movements, including Australia’s trade with China and the Black Lives Matter protest.

“Therefore, people in the West are now falling into the exact traps set in China, Vietnam and Eastern European countries at the time,” he said. Their neck. “

Looking back on my life-changing trip to Australia, the couple felt overwhelmed.

“The trip taught me that life is precious. Nguyen said,” You exchanged freedom for your life. We are how we are accepted in this country. I am very, very grateful to you. “

Le agreed. “I felt like you were reborn,” she added.

Today, Vietnamese are one of the largest ethnic groups in Australia, with about 300,000 claiming Vietnamese ancestry according to 2016. Census..