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Olga Dror : How China Used Schools to Win Over Hanoi

[ndlr] Signalement d’un article qui trouve une résonance particulière dans le contexte sino-vietnamien actuel.

 

How China Used Schools to Win Over Hanoi

by Olga Dror

In December 1966, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, or North Vietnam, and the People’s Republic of China signed an agreement to establish schools for North Vietnamese children in China, with China providing the facilities, funds and equipment. America’s bombing campaign over North Vietnam was in high gear, and Hanoi wanted to move its students to a safe place.

What is truly remarkable about this cross-border educational effort was that it began in the midst of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, which started in May 1966 and destroyed the Chinese educational system (and left the Chinese economy in shambles). But the Chinese were willing to carve out space for the North Vietnamese because doing so served a higher, geopolitical purpose: competing with the Soviet Union for leadership of the global communist movement.

The Chinese program, known as Project 92, covered school construction and teaching equipment, as well as funds for daily expenses (the “92” refers to Sept. 2, 1945, the day Vietnam declared independence from France). One facility, the School of Sept. 2, was established specifically for children who had been relocated from South Vietnam. Another school, for military cadets, bore the name of Nguyen Van Troi, a young Saigonese who in May 1963 attempted to assassinate the American defense secretary, Robert McNamara, during his visit to South Vietnam, and who was executed by firing squad. Because the Chinese military was less affected by the Cultural Revolution than its civilian educational system, the military led the construction efforts.

Lire la suite : New York Times, 26/01/2018

Olga Dror is an associate professor of history at Texas A&M University and the author of the forthcoming book “Making Two Vietnams: War and Youth Identity, 1965-75.” This article draws on material that will appear in an essay in the spring 2018 issue of the Journal of Cold War Studies.

 

Illustration « à la une » : Chinese militia members pledged support for Vietnam in its war against the United States in 1966 © Bettmann/Getty Images