Original Chinese Language Article By: Chinese History & Literature Institute (中華文史學會)
(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)
The name of ‘Ho Chi Minh’ (胡志明 – Hu Zhi Ming) is a very familiar name in Vietnam, Taiwan, Mainland China, and through the Chinese diaspora. In fact the name Ho Chi Minh is held in the same respect as that of Sun Yat-Sen (孫中山 – Sun Zhong Shan). He handled, fought and then defeated the imperialist Japanese and French regimes in Vietnam, and successfully steered Communist North Vietnam toward a final victory over the imperialist forces of the Western, democratic camp.
In 1930, Ho Chi Minh established the Indochinese Communist Party (which later became known as the Vietnamese Labour Party, and then the Communist Party of Vietnam). In 1941, Ho Chi Minh founded the ‘Viet Minh’ (越南獨立同盟會 – Yue Nan Du Li Tong Meng Hui) – also referred to as the ‘Union of Vietnam’ (越盟 – Yue Meng). Following Japan’s defeat in 1945, Ho Chi Minh led the Viet Minh as a Revolutionary Army, and unified the whole of geographical Vietnam under a single Vietnamese rule. On September 2nd, 1945, Ho Chi Minh formally declared the founding of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. As the Republic of China had sent around 180,000 Chinese troops into Vietnam (to disarm the defeated Japanese), the Democratic Republic of Vietnam arranged its government along Kuomingtang lines – with a ‘Nationalist’ faction and a ‘Communist’ faction working together (later, the Nationalist faction would be liquidated, with its members fleeing to South Vietnam where it formed a ‘puppet’ government backed by the USA – becoming the ‘Republic of Vietnam’). Ho Chi Minh set about ruling a united nation until the French colonialist troops landed on the 17th parallel (separating Vietnam into ‘North’ and ‘South’ sections) – and initiating the First Vietnam (or ‘Indochina’) War. A major player in these events was Ho Chi Minh.
In the records of the Communist Party of Vietnam (supported from evidence from Communist Parties around the world), Ho Chi Minh was born into a Vietnamese family of Confucian scholars. In the Chinese language, Ho Chi Minh is known as ‘Ruan Ai Guo’ (阮愛國). This is pronounced in Vietnamese as ‘Nguyen Ai Quoc’. Ho Chi Minh was born in 1890, in the Nghe An province of Vietnam. Nguyen Ai Quoc joined the Communist Party of France in 1923, and through this action came into contact with Zhou Enlai (周恩來) of the Communist Party of China. At this time, Nguyen Ai Quoc also joined the Communist Party of China. He then travelled to the Soviet Union in 1923, at the same time that Sun Yat-Sen in China had begun negotiations with the Communist faction – moving the Kuomingtang to the left. Part of this policy included the founding of the new officer training centre at the Whampoa Military Academy. Whilst living in Guangzhou, China, Nguyen Ai Quoc founded the Marxist-Leninist ‘Vietnam Revolutionary Youth League’. This led to many momentous events within history, and during the Anti-Japanese War, Nguyen Ai Quoc changed his name to the famous ‘Ho Chi Minh’. He founded North Vietnam and the North Vietnamese Army that defeated the French, before he passed away during North Vietnam’s successful war against the US.
Above is the generally accepted historical narrative for Ho Chi Minh in the East, but now there is a dissenting voice from Taiwan that claims that the man the world knows as ‘Ho Chi Minh’ is not Vietnamese, but rather a Taiwanese Hakka. This idea has been voiced by Mr Hu Junxiong (胡俊熊) from Miaoli County – who has written an excellent scholarly work entitled ‘Research into Ho Chi Minh’s Biography’ (胡志明生平考 – Hu Zhi Ming Sheng Ping Kao). Hu Junxiong correctly states that ‘Nguyen Ai Quoc was an important Communist innovator in Vietnam, and Ho Chi Minh must be considered the Socialist founding father of the modern Vietnamese nation.’ However, he then goes onto state that ‘Nguyen Ai Quoc is not Ho Chi Minh.’ What does he mean by this statement?
In this book, Hu Junxiong states that within his family there was a Communist hero named Hu Jizhang (胡集璋). During the era of the Japanese occupation of Taiwan, Hu Jizhang was a member of the Communist Party of Taiwan. In this book, there is the presentation of much archived newspaper articles, reports, important biographical material, and details of his imprisonment. After his release from prison, Hu Jizhang fled Taiwan and travelled to Guangzhou in China. It is here that Hu Jizhang was ordered to assume the identity of ‘Nguyen Ai Quoc’ to further the Communist Revolution in Vietnam (and Indochina) along Soviet lines. In the early 1930’s he was recognised as a prominent member of the Third Communist International. This book states that records in Moscow have revealed that the real ‘Nguyen Ai Quoc’ in fact died of tuberculosis in 1924. However, history also shows that ‘Nguyen Ai Quoc’ again appears on the world stage in 1931 as a member of the Communist Party of China, and a builder of Marxist-Leninist movements in Vietnam. This culminated in the founding of the Communist Party of Vietnam, and Nguyen Ai Quoc was sent to the Soviet Union for advanced study – this is known through Soviet records, which include identity photographs.
When the Japanese imperialists invaded East Asia – Nguyen Ai Quoc first took on the pseudonym ‘Hu Guang’ (胡光), and then later ‘Ho Chi Minh’. At this point it is important for the reader to understand that the Chinese surname ‘胡’ is usually pronounced ‘Hu’ within Chinese culture, and ‘Ho’ within Vietnam, and is a common Hakka surname in Taiwan. The theory in the book is that ‘Nguyen Ai Quoc’ later reverted to his real family name of ‘Hu’, or ‘Ho’.
There is discussion in the book about a visit by Ho Chi Minh and a number of other officials, after Independence, to meet the (pre-revolutionary period) wife of ‘Nguyen Ai Quoc’ (it is unclear whether it was in China or Vietnam), but it was reported that when this lady set eyes on ‘Ho Chi Minh’, she stated that she did not know this man. It is interesting to note that ‘Ho Chi Minh’ seems to be ‘unknown’ amongst the ordinary people – even those who supposedly knew ‘Nguyen Ai Quoc’ quite well. A close examination of a photograph of ‘Nguyen Ai Quoc’ taken in France in 1923, and a photograph of ‘Ho Chi Minh’ taken in Moscow in 1924, reveal a number of differences, including the eyes and ears.
This book investigates interesting questions about whether Ho Chi Minh was a Taiwanese Hakka, or an ethnic Vietnamese? It also keeps alive the memory of Hu Jizhang and the Taiwanese Communist Party that was eradicated by the Nationalists when they took control of the island. It also offers narratives about the ‘disappearance’ of Hu Jizhang, and draws attention to the many vagaries surrounding the life of Ho Chi Minh.
This is an excellent piece of historical research by Mr Hu Junxiong that links old Taiwan to modern Vietnam, and Taiwanese Hakka to ethnic Vietnamese culture. This suggests that other people should research their own family history and bring to light new and interesting information that helps build a better understanding of history and historical events. I suspect that in time more information will come to light about the assumed connection between Hu Jizhang and Ho Chi Minh.
©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2016.
Original Chinese Language Source Article:
胡志明 (Hồ Chí Minh)，這個名字是全體越南人再熟悉不過的稱謂，就差不多像台灣、大陸地區與海外華僑心底的國父 孫中山先生一樣的地位。
就越南共產黨官方與世界上所有共產黨的資料都顯示胡志明的原名是阮愛國 (Nguyễn Ái Quốc)是出生在1890年的越南義安省的學者家庭。阮愛國最早在1923年加入法國共產黨，依此與中國共產黨的周恩來有了聯繫。此時的阮愛國也加入了中共，並在中國國民黨仿效蘇聯黨軍化、納共化(中共黨員加入國民黨，即第一次國共合作時期)時，成為了陸軍軍官學校(黃埔軍校)的教職人員。在中國廣州的同時，他也組織了一個叫做越南青年革命同志會的同鄉會。等等經歷許多歷史事件與歷程後，此時的阮愛國已於抗戰時改名為”胡志明”，並開始建黨、建軍、建國，最終帶領北越人民參與抗法戰爭，最終因病辭世。
但在台灣有人開始提出了反對意見，他就是苗栗客家的胡俊熊先生。他寫了一本名作【胡志明生平考】的籍冊，當中主要說明著 :「阮愛國是越南共產的先驅，而胡志明是社會主義越南的建國者……」在這裡看起來胡俊熊是沒有錯的，但其內涵表示著”阮愛國不等於胡志明”。這是怎麼回事呢 ?
後來在日本侵略東亞之時，這一個”阮愛國”開始化名為”胡光”，且在接下來的所有假名都是以”胡”做為姓氏。最後到抗戰後期，他化名作”胡志明”。在我們台灣人眼中這有著神奇的韻味，就是他竟然叫作”志明”，這不是台灣男性中最普遍的名字嗎 ? 他取這個名字後就再也不化名，不取假名了。就以”胡志明”作為真正性命使用下去。