On January 10, 2021, more than 6,000 troops from various armed forces had a live drill in preparation for the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam in the capital city of Hanoi.
In addition to the four special armored vehicles of the mobile police and the special police unit in charge of terrorism prevention and hostage rescue, the rehearsal also included armored vehicles, tanks, bulletproof vehicles, special cars and motorbikes of the police and military, and sniffing dog, etc.
The riot police are equipped with shields, canes, helmets, and arm armor to participate in the parade. The Ministry of Defense also mobilized dozens of forces, including special commandos of the High Command of Hanoi.
Earlier on January 8, the two ministries of Public Security and Defense also conducted a joint drill. In the activities mentioned, there are simulations of activities against violent protests, anti-terrorism, and the practice of protecting high-ranking leaders.
Mr. Duc Vo, a former officer of the People’s Army of Vietnam, said that the rehearsal was meant to threaten all who have intentions against the party. He added:
“When I read the news about this in the state-controlled media, the first thing I felt was that they were overly scared. Those who have committed wrongdoing often feel scared.
In fact, they want to maintain a dictatorship, one-party regime and rule over society, so they are always afraid that some force will take their power. With their strict control, it must be said that it is very difficult for a force to use violence to overthrow them. As for the people, it is completely impossible because the people who do not have the right to have weapons are also controlled up to every minute of their hair.
The second thing I want to say these live drills cost much from the state budget, that the taxpayer’s money. Was it necessary to be such showy? Don’t they think it doesn’t cost money? Costly.”
As scheduled, the 13th CPV’s National Congress will take place from January 25 to February 2. This is an important party congress to elect senior leaders for the next term and pass important socio-economic policies for the country in a period of 5 years.
Minister of Public Security, General To Lam presided over the military discharge session, rehearsed the plan to protect the 13th Party Congress in Hanoi on January 10. Speaking at the military departure, Mr. To Lam affirmed: “The police force will raise a sense of responsibility, work closely with the military and related forces to drastically and effectively implement plans to firmly grasp the situation, to prevent and fight all conspiracies and activities of hostile forces, reactionary forces, and bad elements.”
Activist Tran Bang stated his views:
“In my opinion, any country rehearsal can be done, but here it seems to be showy. This proves that there is a ‘problem’ between the party and the people. Why protect the party that must show off to the people? They must train and practice to protect the people and for political organizations, including the Communist Party. It is not just the practice to protect the Communist party only, not to protect the people. In this case, I find it funny that it flaunts as if it were to intimidate the people. It proves that they do not trust the people anymore and they also find people dissatisfied.
In fact, every day there are marches of injustice. There are things that the state-controlled media give very little. That is why they deliberately show off like that to threaten the people, especially the unjust people.”
At the end of September 2020, giving a directing speech at the National Assembly of the Army’s Congress for the 2020-2025 term, General Secretary cum State President Nguyen Phu Trong emphasized: “Before the complicated developments of the situation, the military forces are always firm, steadfast, remain a solid support of the Party, State and people, is the core force in building a solid national defense posture, ensuring a peaceful environment for the country.”
Dr. Nguyen Quang A, a social activist from Hanoi, said that with the above statement, Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong revealed more clearly the plot to turn the army into the party’s army when equating the party with the people, with the country. According to Dr. A, the military is a force to protect the country against foreign aggression and only loyal to the country, broadly the people, and should not be loyal to any political party at all.
To ensure security for the 13th National Congress, on 30 May 2019, the Central Committee issued Directive No. 35-CT/TW on the party congress at all levels towards the 13th National Congress.
Then, on June 25, 2019, the Minister of Public Security issued Directive No. 06/CT-BCA on the security and order of the Party Congress at all levels and the National Congress with 11 key missions. In which, the Ministry of Public Security determined that the absolute security and safety protection of the Congress was the key political task of the entire police force, mobilize synchronous forces and means, drastically implement measures to ensure absolute security and safety, serving the successful organization of the Congress.
With a rehearsal to protect the Party Congress with a number of up to 6,000 troops right in Hanoi, Army Lieutenant Colonel Dinh Duc Long said that the government knows that people have no weapons so the rehearsal aims many targets. He said:
“In my opinion, since I became interested in 1986, since the reforms when going to the party congress, they organized very thoughtful protection.
This has become normal because ‘prevention is better than cure.’ They are always vigilant against any object they suspect so that if anything happens, they suppress it in time. They always anticipate the worst that could happen. And if the worst case happens that requires armed forces to intervene, there are only two things they are forbidden from One is hitting historic sites, the other is shooting at people.
Also on this occasion, they flaunt their forces and rehearse the situations openly in the capital. This is also an opportunity for them to purchase equipment. They have an excuse for them to spend money properly. In terms of military secrets, they are always hidden. Regarding the military budget, what is procurement is a national secret that is not known.
On this occasion, they have a chance to tell what they have, of course, they also do not show off all they have purchased. They want to let the outside as well as inside know how powerful they are.”
Democracy activists and human rights defenders in the country said that on important occasions such as the party congress and political trials … authorities always keep close surveillance of their house. All activities of those who want to express their political opposition to the communist party have been “disabled” momentarily.
And the land petitioners, because their property rights are not satisfactorily resolved by the authorities, have gathered to protest, almost all are prevented and arrested by functional forces. There are many cases that they have been charged with and convicted of “causing public disorders” with prison terms.