发表: 2020-03-17 08:37:34 人气:78 |
Apply for temporary residence
The reunification of the north and the south means that there will be no bombing, no evacuation, and no fear of conscription for young people. During the Vietnam War, the situation of the cross-border Chinese was ups and downs. Now
The war is over. We want to know what the Vietnamese government will do to us. Can we stay? Anything else? On the positive side, I have learned from time to time that the situation in China has gradually eased and I have begun to consider whether I should come back. To this end, I made some preparations, such as asking someone to help exchange RMB. I cautiously used vague words to advise my family of intentions. However, I still have to eat here, sleep there and watch out for the police. Other friends of Adong helped me find a legal residence several times. In spite of their failure, I appreciate them. Later, a Dong suggested that he could talk directly with DAC, the head of the county police station, to see if he would give me a legal temporary residence. I agreed. Two months later, Dong conveyed the DAC's request that I submit my application. So I wrote to say that I met difficulties in China and crossed the border to Vietnam. I have been a patient for almost seven years. I hope the Vietnamese government will give me a temporary resident so that I can continue to serve the patients with peace of mind. The application was translated from Adong to Vietnamese, and it was also original in China. DAC told me to wait and don't worry. It seems reassuring; at least I don't have an emergency. Although I'm still eating and sleeping, it's not necessary
Applying for Temporary Residence
South and North reunited meant no more bombing, no evacuation, and young men no longer
worried about conscription.
The situation of the border-crossed Chinese had been up and down during the Vietnam War. Now
that the war was over, we wondered what the Vietnamese government would do with us. Could we stay
there any longer?
On the positive side, I learned from time to time that the situation in China had eased gradually,
and began considering if I should return. To this end, I made some preparation, such as asking someone
to help with Chinese currency exchange. I cautiously advised my family in vague terms of my
However, I still had to have a meal here and a sleep there, and always beware of the police. Adong
and other friends had helped me several times trying to find a legal place to stay. Although
unsuccessful, I was very grateful to them. Later Adong suggested that he could talk directly with Dac,
head of the County Police Station, to see if he would give me a temporary legal residence. I agreed.
Two months later, Adong conveyed Dac’s request that I submit an application. So I wrote, saying
I had encountered hardship in China and crossed the border to Vietnam. I provided health care to
patients for almost seven years. I hoped that the Vietnamese government gave me temporary resident
status so I could continue to service patients with peace of mind.
The application was translated into Vietnamese by Adong and handed over together with the
Chinese original. Dac told me to wait and not to worry. That seemed reassuring; at least I was in no
immediate danger. Although I still had meals and slept here and there, it was not necessary to sleep in
My previous medical training class was expanded and was semi-public at this time.
After a period of time, Adong conveyed Dac’s word to me. He wanted me to apply for
"naturalization in Vietnam" (joining the Vietnamese nationality) instead of "temporary residence". I
was reluctant and made no change.
Some time later, Dac asked to see me personally. Adong accompanied me to the Police Station
where Dac greeted me courteously. Our conversation was translated by Adong but sometimes Dac
spoke directly in Cantonese. His main point was still “naturalization in Vietnam”. It seemed he attached
great importance to this issue.
I said in a mild and roundabout way, "As my family is in China, I hope that the Vietnamese
government will give me a temporary residence. I guarantee that as long as I stay in Vietnam, I will do
my best to service patients. Later returning to China, I will remember you, continue our contacts and
keep the friendship."
I could see that Dac was not very happy, but he did not say anything, just telling me to wait for
the news. In the days following I heard vague rumors that my resistance to naturalization might put me
A former patient of mine sent a message to me that he had something important to tell me. The
man was a veteran and a member of commune public security. I was alarmed and went to his single
hut, but the door was locked. He was a bachelor and not always at home. As it was far to his hut, I did
not return. I naively believed that because I had turned in the application I would necessarily receive a
reply, either positive or negative. If they notified me that my application was not approved, I would go
back to China myself.
After a few more weeks, on some day in October 1975, Adong told me that someone from the
Provincial Public Security Bureau wanted to see me.
I expressed doubts: "Would that not mean there is a problem?" Adong did not know. However, I
still thought very innocently, “Since I had applied, I must have a response.”
Preparing for whatever might be ahead, I packed a few clothes, a winter coat, and a towel and
toothbrush, and then went with Adong to the police station. It was not Dac but a man from the
Provincial Public Security Bureau who met with us. He was very polite, asking me in Cantonese to
accompany him to the bureau.
The Public Security Bureau was in Hong Gai, so I said goodbye to Adong and followed the
policeman to the bus station. Before arriving at the bus station my escort took me to a house at the end
of the street and directed me to take a rest first. It was Qian’s Vietnamese cousin’s home! Being so
close to the police station, I didn't understand why I should rest here instead of at the station. As we sat
for a while with Qian’s cousin, I considered excusing myself to use the toilet and then slip away. But I
quickly gave up the idea, still clinging to the belief that since I had applied for temporary residence, I
must receive a response.
We crossed the ferry, took a bus and arrived at Hon Gai near evening. The police were already off
work; my escort said we would stay at his friend’s house that night. I did not question why we were not
going to the Guest House of the Public Security Bureau or another public facility. That should have
been the normal procedure but I did not think of that until later.
I followed my police escort into a small hut with a bamboo bed and a dining table in the front
room. I did not know how many rooms were inside. The host treated us to a simple dinner. They talked
in Vietnamese, so I didn't understand much. After dinner, the host arranged for us to sleep. His family
members and the policeman slept inside, leaving me to sleep alone in the front room. The hut was
small, so how could they accommodate a guest inside? Why not arrange the police to sleep with me in
the front room? But at that time I didn't think about that.
I was tossing and turning and could not sleep well. What would happen tomorrow? I was aware of
possible danger, and again considered the idea of escape. But if I ran out, surely the neighborhood dogs
would bark. Anyway, I still stubbornly clung to the idea that since I had applied, I must receive an
answer. If I was not approved, then I would just go back to China myself.
The next day after the breakfast, the policeman produced a document and officially detained me. I
read the document, really surprised that it was signed by the chief of the Public Security Bureau! I
knew this was unusual, because the repatriation of border-crossed Chinese was a trifling thing, nothing
that needed to be ordered by the chief of the Public Security Bureau, nor requiring that an officer be
sent specially to Tien Yen to bring me here. Just notifying the local police to arrest me would have been
No matter, I was detained. Perhaps my mind was somewhat prepared for this or maybe I had
simply become numb after many years in and out of detention. Anyway, I felt no great shock.
The policeman directed me forward and followed quietly, handing me over to another officer in
the reception room and then left. There was only prison in Vietnam but no “detention center” like in
A policeman sitting behind a table, and a short man about 40 years old (later known as a "jail
aide") approached me with a stern face. He motioned me to take off all clothes except my underpants.
He kneaded the seams of them but found nothing, and then checked the other clothes one by one. In
addition to cash totaling a dozen dong, he found only a straightened gold ring hidden in my waistband.
After the jail aide left, the policeman began asking in Cantonese about my name, age and address.
As I did not have address in Vietnam, he asked me to report the place I stayed most frequently in Dong
Hoa village, Tien Yen County; then my address in China. I had reported it when I applied for temporary
residence, so I did so again.
After this inquiry, I was sent to Cell No. 125.
There were already four prisoners in the cell: two Vietnamese and two Chinese. All four got up to
greet me in Vietnamese and Chinese respectively; I identified myself to them as "Chinese" in both
Vietnamese and Chinese.
The two Vietnamese seemed displeased and sank back on their boards on the ground, but the two
Chinese expressed a weary welcome. Later I understood that the Vietnamese resented my coming in
and making the Chinese in the cell dominant.
By now my mood was basically calm. I didn't wonder how the Vietnamese government would
handle me, because I knew all border-crossed Chinese were repatriated, and nothing else. Of course, I
was worried that back in China I would be subject to investigation and denouncement, and might
encounter all sorts of suffering and humiliation. Would I be charged with "treason" and be sentenced to
prison, or even be beaten and slain in a completely lawless way?
But I also had learned that the abuses of the Cultural Revolution had eased, and there was less and
less news about fighting and killing between the two factions. In fact, I had not seen or heard of any
Chinese who fled to Vietnam for a long time. As long as I did not encounter lawless fighting and
slaying, I was not afraid of investigation, because I had never done anything criminal. In addition, I
also knew that China and Vietnam were friendly countries and were "comrades plus brothers"; crossing
the border into Vietnam was not regard as against the law. Just like fleeing to Hong Kong, it simply was
a "violation of border regulations". Wasn't it true that some border-crossed Chinese even returned to
Vietnam not long after being repatriated to Dongxing? At least that was the case for those in
Guangdong and Guangxi. But what would happen to me in Kunming? I did not know. But I thought the
same rule would be followed.
On the other hand, for several years, I had intermittently read the “New Vietnam-China Daily” (in
Chinese) and the "People Daily" (in Vietnamese), and learned of several major events in China: China
and the Soviet fought for Zhenbao Island; Mao's "close comrade-in-arms" Lin Biao escaped and died;
and, what surprised the Dong Hoa villagers most, was that the number one enemy common of Vietnam
and China - the President of U.S. imperialism shook hands with Mao.
When newspapers published Mao’s picture showing him aged and puffy, many people said "it
looks bad.” Others said even more bluntly, "Old Mao's fate is up.” All in all, I felt that the situation in
China had been improving. The idea of returning had gradually grown in my mind. I also hinted at my
intention when I wrote to my family in Guangzhou. When applying for temporary residence, I naively
thought that if it was not approved, I would automatically go back to China. But I really didn't expect
the application to be denied and me to be forcibly repatriated. That was to bring more suffering and
Regarding such suffering and humiliation, I had experienced quite a lot over the years, but
believed I could survive more in the future if necessary. Be calm facing the sufferings, I reasoned, and
this chaos would pass away. The "Great Leader" wanted people to hail him "live forever", but he could
not live forever.
Be strong, time was on my side!
I calmly recalled my experiences during this period: From applying for temporary residence I was
requested to apply for naturalization instead. In my interview, Police Chief Dac personally requested
this again but I still was unwilling to change; apparently my fate of "cannot stay" already had been
decided. Later during the waiting period, I heard troubling rumors and was privately given a message
of "something important to tell you", but still did not become concerned. In addition, I was not detained
by local police but by an officer specially sent from the Provincial Public Security Bureau to Tien Yen
to take me to Hon Gai; and before going to the bus station we took a rest at Qian cousin’s house; when
arriving at Hon Gai we stayed one night at the policeman’s relative's home instead of an official place;
the policeman let me sleep alone at the front room - all unusual procedures that offered me
opportunities to escape. But I still did not perceive this, clinging to the idea that "since I applied, there
must be a result, if it's not approved, I will automatically go back". So I made no effort to evade or
escape. These events and how I had handled them now told me the way I must go. It was somehow my
destiny to go through more sufferings.
Just do what God wills, and pray that God will support me.
Now, after more than a decade, I realize what might have been my fate if I had been allowed
temporary residence at that time: Three years later, in 1978, China and Vietnam changed from
"comrade plus brother" to mutual hatred. Overseas Chinese were massively expelled by the Vietnam
government. I would definitely have been driven back to China. With my "record" as "cow demon and
snake spirit" in the Cultural Revolution and fleeing to Vietnam, I would not have been allowed to settle
like other Vietnamese overseas Chinese. I might well have been charged with treason. What then would
have been my fate?
Now I see my denial of temporary residence as "A blessing in disguise" – that is indeed a
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