TRUONG BACH NGA AND HER SIBLINGS . IN HONOUR OF MY FATHER MR. TRUONG THOI LAI WHO IS A VICTIM AND ALSO A WITNESS OF COMMUNIST ATROCITIES OF THE SO CALL " RE -EDUCATION CAMPS " . FOR THE LAST 30 YEARS HE KEEPS GIVING SUPPORT TO THE STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM IN VIET NAM . Witness and victim of the communist regime in VietnamName: Mr. TRUONG Thoi LaiDate of Birth: 9-January-1926
Position until April 30th 1975: Assistant-Minister at the Prime Minister Office (of the Republic of Vietnam – South Vietnam)Status in Canada: Political refugee since 1984. Following April 30th 1975, namely the day the communist regime of North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam, the Communist government ordered civil servants of the Republic of Vietnam to report to the new authorities and to be brought to ‘re-education camps’ (in May 1975) with a bring-along ration-food reserves for one month.There was no written order from the authorities to indicate the nature of the charge and sentence. Yet we were practically detained as prisoners. Once in camp, the new regime authority stated that only "well-behaved” detainees would be considered by the State & the Vietnamese Communist Party for release.Initially, in the concentration camp, there were indoctrinations of some subjects of the communist regime in the one-month time period. After this period, prisoners had to perform hard labour under harsh conditions – such as farming, growing plants and vegetables, carpentering works/wood working, and manufacturing bricks and tiles (building houses), etc ...These camps were called "re-education camps" but in reality they were forced labour- camps (similar to concentration camps and the gulags).Living conditions in the camp(s) were oppressive and in-humane: foods lack basic nutrients (food grain sorghum, cassava, spinach, to be eaten with salted water, and only on occasion – a little pork or buffalo meat. Camps were without medication to treat sick prisoners.Harsh labour and strict standards. Take for example, the case of planting vegetables –each session (of 4 hours) one must perform and achieved complete plantation of 2 lots of land (about 5 meter-squared/lot). If the standard is not achieved, there will be criticism, censored and repoted as “not examplary labourers".About my own situation, from 1975 to 1982, I was detained first in Long Thanh in southern Vietnam camp for one year, then moved by boat to Phu Son camp number 4 in Thai Nguyen province, northern Vietnam, then to Ha Tay camp in Ha-Son-Binh province, near Hanoi.On January 12th 1983, I was moved to ‘Hoa-Lo’ prison, in Hanoi. The prison authorities pressured me to provide a complete declaration of all my past activities not yet declared to-date; I maintained that I had provided a full disclosure before, and refused to go along with the exercise.In February 1983, I was released and join my family in Saigon. During this time, I was under constant local police surveillance, but my residency status was not permanent; that is to say, every 3 months I must re-apply for residency in Saigon – within the tightly controlled household registration system, I was not entitled to a ‘permanent resident’ status.My children in Canada sponsored me. I settled in the city of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, in August 1984.My total time imprisoned in communist Vietnam is 7 years and 10 months.