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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 8. 19th April 1973

Vietnamese Socialists To Visit New Zealand

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Vietnamese Socialists To Visit New Zealand

A delegation from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam wilt visit New Zealand at the end of May at the invitation of the Wellington Committee on Vietnam.

The Committee decided at its Annual General Meeting last week to bring the six man delegation here after its visit to Australia at a cost of about $3000. The trip will be part of a campaign to press the Labour Government to recognise both the D.R.V. and the P.R.G.

At present New Zealand has adopted a very partisan stand towards Vietnam by recognising only the Thieu regime in Saigon, the Government of the Republic of Vietnam. The C.O.V. decided that the best way to end this position was to press for the recognition of the P.R.G. and the D.R.V. The meeting rejected a proposal by the local branch of the Communist Party to also call for the Government to break relations with Thieu. The majority of people felt that New Zealand should respect the Paris Peace Agreement which recognises two governments in South Vietnam, the P.R.G. and Thieu's Regime.

Reconstruction Aid

The meeting received a report from the Vietnam Aid Appeal, a subcommittee of the C.O.V. Last year the appeal raised $10,500 which was sent to the British Medical Aid Committee in London. Medical supplies were purchased with the money and sent through Eastern Europe to the D.R.V., the P.R.G. areas of South Vietnam, and the areas controlled by the liberation forces in Laos and Combodia.

This year the Aid Appeal will join with the long-established New Zealand Medical Aid Committee in Auckland to launch a nationwide campaign for medical and reconstruction aid to Vietnam. This aid will go to the same areas as last year.

World Vision Fraud

The meeting decided to support this campaign and to expose the World Vision appeal for aid to Cambodia and Vietnam. World Vision is a pseudo christian 'aid' organisation which was set up in Korea in 1950. It makes no secret of the fact that its 'aid' is aimed only at areas controlled by the Thieu regime in South Vietnam and Lon Nol regime in Cambodia.

World Vision has boasted in a leaflet distributed throughout the country that it was the first private agency to aid refugees in Cambodia after the Lon Nol regime seized power. Lon Nol has asked World Vision to build a "Christian hospital" in Phnom Penh, which will be financed by its latest appeal. Mr John Calder, the Managing Director of South Pacific Construction Ltd., is to give his time voluntarily to help finalise planning of the hospital and to supervise construction. One wonders whose company will get the contract for the building?

A major resettlement programme in South Vietnam is the other major part of World Vision's plans. The aim of this programme is to place refugees who were bombed out of the countryside in model housing projects around Saigon. The refugees will be kept in areas under Thieu's control and prevented from returning to their homes in rural areas controlled by the P.R.G.

These proposals, which are supported by the Prime Minister and a number of church leaders, are cases of politically motivated aid at its worst. The aid that has been given by the C.O.V. and the N.Z. Medical Aid Committee to areas controlled by the liberation forces in Indochina is also politically motivated. But unlike World Vision the Vietnamese have been given medical supplies that they requested. In future the D.R.V. and the governments in the Iiberated areas of South Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos will be given cash so they can spend it as they wish.

Thieu not so Beautiful

While World Vision is planning to "do something beautiful" for the local fascists in Indochina, the Thieu regime is still holding about 300,000 political prisoners in its jails. The C.O.V. participated in a recent delegation to the Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs, Joe Walding, about 5 leaders of the Young Christian Workers Movement who have been kept in prison after being found not guilty by a Military Court.

Although Walding agreed to take up the case of the Y.C.W. leaders with the New Zealand Embassy in Saigon and the Thieu Embassy in Wellington, the Government has shown little concern about all the other prisoners. It still insists that the Saigon regime is holding only 21,000 prisoners, even though respectable organisations like Amnesty International and the International Committee of Conscience have estimated the number of prisoners at 15 times this figure.

When he was in New Zealand Wilfred Burchett reported that Vietnamese exiles in Paris have documented evidence of Black Lists of political prisoners marked down for execution by the Thieu regime. According to the Peace Agreement political prisoners have to be released by the end of April but so far practically none have been released by Thieu.

The Struggle Continues

Although the C.O.V. recognised that the Ceasefire and Peace Agreement was a victory for the international anti-war movement, as well as the Vietnamese people, the feeling at the A.G.M. was that the Committee's work was far from ended. In Cambodia the U.S. Airforce continues to bomb the countryside and the people in a desperate effort to save the Lon Nol regime in Phnom Penh. In Vietnam Thieu continues to violate the ceasefire by attacking P.R.G. positions and more recently invading Cambodia. In New Zealand the Labour Government has shown that it supports the Thieu and Lon Nol regimes just as much as its Tory predecessor.

Help Help!

NZUSA needs billets for us May Council delegates. Sleeping only accommodatioion is required from the 10th of May until the 14th If you can help, please ring Dave Cunningham, phone 883-100 or 70-319 (ext. 73).

Anzac Day - A Memorial to the Living

The Peace Council will hold a service and wreath laying at the Cenotaph on Anzac Day, April 25 at 1.30 p.m. The service will concentrate on the 300,000 prisoners held by Thieu in South Vietnam and the need for medical & reconstruction aid throughout Indochina. Make the Cenotaph our place end Anzac Day our day.