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December 2, 1980

Politburo Resolution No. 31-NQ/TW on the Protecting Political Security and Maintaining Law and Order in Our Society in the New Situation


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21.-2 December 1980 Politburo Resolution No. 31-NQ/TW on the Protecting Political Security and Maintaining Law and Order in Our Society in the New Situation


I.-The Enemy’s Situation and Plans, and Our Struggle to Protect Political Security and to Maintain Law and Order in Our Society in the New Situation

1.-The victory won by our Spring 1975 General Offensive and Uprisings, the apex of which was the historic Ho Chi Minh Campaign that totally liberated the South and unified our nation, marked the beginning of an era in which our entire country has been carrying out a socialist revolution.

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The total victory won by the Vietnamese people in 1975 was not just a heavy defeat for American imperialist aggression; it was also a defeat for reactionary clique that controls the Chinese government, which had used the Vietnam War as a bargaining chip in its relationship with the American imperialists and to prepare to carry out an expansionist, hegemonist policy in Indochina and all of Southeast Asia.  For that reason, while our entire Party and our entire population was enthusiastically working to build our nation in peace, the Chinese reactionaries openly carried out policies that were hostile toward Vietnam. They used their lackeys, Pol Pot and Ieng Sari, to start a war along our southwestern border and then arrogantly launched a war of aggression across our country’s northern border.

2.-After their defeat in Vietnam, the American imperialists sank deeper and deeper into a state of constant crisis, which created increasingly serious crises within the imperialist camp.  However, the American imperialists have not abandoned their world-wide counter-revolutionary strategy. They have striven to amass forces to cause regional tensions in an effort to retake the places they have lost and to hold onto the places they still control.  Faced with this desperate situation, imperialism has found a force that is ready to ally itself with them in opposing the revolution - that force is the reactionary clique within the Chinese government.

The alliance between imperialism and the Beijing hegemonists to oppose the Soviet Union, Vietnam, and the other socialist countries and to oppose the worldwide revolutionary and peace movement is one of the key features of the international situation and is now a new threat to all of mankind.

For that reason, the American imperialists are the enemies of the Vietnamese revolution and of the world revolution, while the Chinese expansionists and hegemonists are the enemies that present a direct threat to the Vietnamese revolution and that are a dangerous threat to the world revolution.

3.-The Chinese reactionary clique has now massed its army along our northern border and it is constantly committing provocations and inciting military clashes.

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At the same time the Chinese reactionaries are also feverishly working to destroy our nation internally by using many different tactics, including conducting a war to destroy our economy, by conducting espionage warfare against us, and by conducting psychological warfare against us.

They are paying special attention to sabotage our economy by constantly spreading lies and distortions about our economic policies, to destroy our production, to sabotage our market prices, etc. in order to make the daily lives of our people difficult and to create feelings of dissatisfaction with the goals of creating economic instability and of sabotaging our people’s efforts to build socialism.

They have established contact with their henchmen that they planted within our ranks long ago and they have sent additional spies, reconnaissance personnel, and commandos into our country in order to collect intelligence and to organize and conduct acts of sabotage; they have utilized reactionaries within our ethnic Chinese community, within our other ethnic minority communities, within our different religious groups, as well as on bad elements and dissatisfied individuals within our staff agencies and our units to organize new reactionary networks in order to build up a fifth column inside our country.

They are using extremely cunning psychological warfare tricks by spreading false rumors that criticize the Party’s policies and attack our Party and State leaders, in order to create a climate of suspicion and to induce people to try to flee abroad in order to destroy our people’s revolutionary zeal and to create political instability with the ultimate goal of inciting riots and violent opposition inside our country.

They are striving to destroy our national solidarity, to create divisions between our people and our Party, to create divisions between our people and our Lao and Cambodian brothers, to create divisions between our country and the Soviet Union along with the rest of the socialist bloc, to slander us, to blockade us economically, and to isolate our country from the rest of the world.

All of these schemes are aimed at weakening us so that they can carry out their schemes of aggression and their big-country hegemonist designs.

The American imperialists are working with the Beijing hegemonists to use Thailand as a base for assembling, training, arming, and equipping spies and reactionaries from the overseas Vietnamese community along with Lao and Cambodian reactionaries to dispatch back into the area to attack the revolutions of the three nations of Indochina.

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Other imperialist and capitalist countries, especially Japan, France, England, etc., have also stepped up their espionage operations aimed at collecting intelligence and sabotaging our country’s revolution.

The economic warfare, the espionage warfare, and the psychological warfare that is being waged by the Chinese expansionists and hegemonists in collusion with the American imperialists and other international reactionaries is in reality a very vicious, evil, all-out war being waged against our country on the political, military, economic, cultural, social, and diplomatic fronts with the goal of destabilizing us politically, economically, and socially, of weakening us and of inciting acts of violent opposition so that, when the opportunity present itself, they can invade our country.

4.-In the area of protecting our political security and law and order in our society, under the leadership of our Party our People’s Public Security forces along with our entire armed forces and our entire population have defeated many of the enemy’s espionage and psychological plans and actions. They have prevented acts of sabotage and efforts to incite violence; they have quickly wrapped up many reactionary organizations; they have destroyed and shattered an important potion of the reactionary FULRO organization; they have detained dangerous political and criminal elements and placed them in reeducation camps [prisons]; they have confiscated many enemy weapons and other operational equipment; they have aggressively confiscated reactionary publications; they have eliminated various social vices; etc. We have been able to maintain our political security and, generally speaking, law and order in our society has been maintained. 

However, there have been many weaknesses and shortcomings in our efforts to protect political security and maintain law and order. Our efforts to obtain intelligence about the espionage warfare and the psychological warfare being waged against us by the Chinese reactionaries and the American imperialists have been very weak, and in particular we have not yet been able to identify their underground [covert] leaders and key, hard-core followers, their espionage networks, or their communications systems.  Our efforts to protect our economy and socialist property have exhibited many weaknesses, and the problems of corruption, theft, and damaging  or destroying socialist property are still widespread, and there have been many very serious cases of these kinds of crimes. Criminal gangs and thugs, murderers and thieves who disrupt public order, kill our people, and destroy the people’s property have not been totally eliminated.

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The status of political security and law and order in society is still complex [difficult] in many localities, and in some places it is very serious, especially in key, vital areas, such as our large cities, our border regions, the Central Highlands, and areas where large numbers of ethnic Chinese people live.

There are objective reasons for these weaknesses and shortcomings, such as the inevitable consequences of many years of savage warfare, the remnants left behind by neocolonialism, and the many difficulties we face in production and improving the lives of the people. However, the primary causes of these problems are subjective reasons: Many of our cadres and Party members in our Party committees, governmental organizations, sectors, and mass organizations do not have a deep, informed understanding of the cunning and vicious, evil schemes of the Chinese expansionists and hegemonists in collusion with the American imperialists; they have not yet clearly understood the complexity, the ferocity, the seriousness of these problems, nor have they clearly recognized the urgent requirements of our efforts to combat the enemy’s espionage and psychological warfare attacks against us; they have not resolutely and continuously attacked spies, reactionaries, and other types of criminals; our struggle still suffers from rightist tendencies, a serious lack of vigilance, and there has been laxity in our efforts to administer our economy and our society; we have not totally eliminated the professional criminal class, thieves and murderers, and the smugglers and opportunists whom the enemy often use to sabotage us both politically and economically; we have not yet been able to incite a broad-based and powerful mass movement to protect the Fatherland’s security; and we have not yet been able to utilize the combined power of the dictatorship of the proletariat to form a front that will ferociously struggle to crush every enemy scheme and action.  Although our People’s Public Security forces have made many efforts, after the liberation, because of the many complications and because their political and professional skills have not kept pace with the situation, they have failed to realize that the numbers of our current political and criminal targets have grown and have grown more complex than they were after we first liberated South Vietnam. The organization of our People’s Public Security forces is still too bulky and unwieldy, it is not centralized, and it is ineffective; its operations are still conducted in isolation and are too bureaucratic; and the ranks of our Public Security cadres and Public Security fighters are still not truly pure and powerful.

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Our people’s prosecutor [procurator - Kiểm sát Nhân dân] offices, our people’s courts, our Party inspectors and our governmental inspectors have not yet been fully perfected or closely coordinated with one another.

5.-We need to be able to clearly recognize the targets and the key areas in the current situation in order to come up with concrete, detailed battle plans for use against each type of target and in each individual local area.

We must focus our struggle and quickly punish the following targets:

a)-Chinese spies, their lackeys, and their accomplices.

b)-American spies, Japanese spies, French spies, English spies, and their lackeys.

c)-Reactionaries who exploit religions, and especially those who exploit the Catholic religion; reactionaries who exploit ethnic minority groups, and especially FULRO.

d)-Members of former reactionary political parties and other reactionary organizations, especially their hard-core followers; reactionaries and thugs who were members of the former regime’s armed forces and the former regime’s government and who have so far refused to be reeducated; and reactionaries from the former exploiter class who have been toppled from their positions of power and who are still scheming to raise their ugly heads again.

e)-Individuals who have been corrupted, who have opposed the revolution, and who have committed serious violations against the State’s laws and its property, especially those who are working in Party or State agencies and in our mass organizations.

f)-Those who sabotage our economy, commit crimes against socialist property, smugglers and economic opportunists, and those who disrupt the socialist economic marketplace.

g)-Professional criminals, thugs, thieves, murders, fraudsters, and con artists.

Of all of the targets listed above, the sharp point of our struggle must be aimed first of all against Chinese spies and American spies because they are our most dangerous enemies, and the most direct and dangerous enemies are the Chinese spies.  Among the different types of spies, the most dangerous are the enemy’s penetration agents [“moles”, spies inside our own organizations]. As for the other types of criminals, the most dangerous are the thugs who steal and murder, professional criminals, and those, both within our agencies and organizations and those who are ordinary civilians, who commit serious crimes against socialist property.

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The focal point areas that must receive special attention are our large cities (our capital city of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Haiphong, and Danang), our borders, our coasts, and our offshore islands, and especially our northern and southwestern borders, and the Central Highlands; also the Party, the State’s, and the armed forces leadership organs, and especially our national-level headquarters agencies and important economic, science and technology, and national defense organizations, our missions and agencies located in foreign countries, and foreign delegations and missions in our country.

We must clearly understand that Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia are all one single battlefield.

II.-The Basic Mission of the Struggle to Protect Political Security and to Maintain Law and Order in Society in the New Situation

1.-At present, our country is a peace but at the same time war could break out at any moment; we are facing many economic problems and problems with maintaining the living standards of our people; and our political security and law and order in our society is deteriorating.  In light of this situation, the resolution passed by the Sixth Plenum of the Party Central Committee laid out our three most urgent immediate tasks: “To step up production and to stabilize and ensure the living standards of our people; to strengthen national defense and security in order to be ready to fight against foreign aggress and to defend the Fatherland; and to resolutely struggle to overcome negative aspects of our economic and social life, especially the problems of theft, bribery, and mistreatment of the masses.”

Our entire Party, our entire population, and our entire armed forces must clearly recognize who are our enemies, they must constantly maintain vigilance and work quickly to concentrate our strength on successfully accomplishing those three immediate and most urgent tasks.

According to both the spirit and the substance of the resolution approved by our Fourth National Party Congress, the basic mission of our entire Party and our entire population in the struggle to protect political security and to maintain law and order in our society is this: protecting political security and law and order in our society is an extremely important mission for our Party and our State.

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We must pro-actively take preventative measures and resolutely struggle to defeat every single plot and action by imperialist and capitalist spies; we must quickly and resolutely suppress and saboteurs; we must crush every effort by reactionaries and by the exploitive classes to rear their ugly heads again; we must work to combat other types of criminals; we must aggressively eliminate social vices; and we must prevent or limit to the greatest extent possible all types of social problems.  We must build People’s Public Security into a powerful armed force that can conduct sharp, pinpoint attacks, a force that is absolutely loyal to the Party, to the Fatherland, and to the people, a force that is solid politically, that is excellent professionally, that has good scientific and technological skills, that has all of the professional equipment that it needs, a force whose semi-professional forces are also solid, and that has a broad mass organization at the grass-roots level.  We must educate this force so that they will be able to increase the level of revolutionary vigilance among the popular masses in order to launch a mass movement to protect the Fatherland’s security and to maintain law and order in our society.  We must consolidate and strengthen our prosecutor offices, courts, and legal agencies, and we must improve our People’s Public Security sector, our People’s Prosecutor [Procuracy] sector, and our People’s Courts and properly coordinate the actions of these three sectors.

2.-Guidance principles for the struggle to protect political security and to maintain law and order in society.

a)-The Party provides total, direct, and across-the-board leadership, utilize the socialist collective mastery of the working class, strengthen the State’s administrative effectiveness, combine the positive revolutionary spirit of the masses with the professional actions of our specialized professional agencies (People’s Public Security, the People’s Prosecutors [Procuracy], and the People’s Courts), develop the combined strength of the dictatorship of the proletariat into a all-out struggle front aimed at resolutely crushing every scheme and action by the intelligence agencies and spies of the imperialists and the capitalists, and especially of Chinese spies, American spies, reactionaries, and other types of criminals in order to maintain political security and law and order in our society.

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b)-The effort to expand production must be closely combined with efforts to protect production, and the building of socialism must be closely combined with effort to protect our socialist regime and to protect the Fatherland.

c)-Protecting political security must be closely combined with the effort to maintain law and order in society.

d)-Closely combine organizational and building [training, education] functions with the armed and suppressive functions of the dictatorship of the proletarian, but making the organizational and building functions the primary functions.

e)-Develop the combined strength of every force and use every measure to actively build, to proactively protect, and to proactively attack and attack continuously; attack to gain mastery and gain mastery to attack in order to annihilate and shatter the counter-revolutionaries and other types of criminals.

f)-Study and inculcate in our forces a resolute, careful, subjective, and total spirit; increase vigilance in order to prevent any opponents or criminals to slip past us, while guarding against making mistakes in order to avoid unjustly accusing or punishing anyone.

g)-Combine stern measures with leniency, suppression [arrest, detention] with education and reeducation; suppression and punishment must be strict but just, it must be timely [quick], and it must be directed at the right targets, using the right policies, and in accordance with the law; education and reeducation must be positive, patient, deep, and absolute [complete].

3.-Major tasks:

a)-Utilize the collective mastery of the workers, strive to build a powerful, deep, wide-spread movement to protect the security of the Fatherland, a movement that constantly expands and grows stronger.

One of the decisive factors for the success of our efforts to protect law and order is to exploit the collective socialist mastery of the working population and to incite a powerful mass movement to protect the security of the Fatherland.  We must skillfully combine the use of educational, economic, organizational, administrative, and legal measures to mobilize and guide the masses in exercising their collective socialist mastery so that every individual understands that he is the master of [he is responsible for] the place where he lives and place where he works and produces; so that every individual participates in the forces responsible for protecting their agency, their office, and their enterprise, and so that our block civilians security and our people’s security cells [teams] are strong and firm.

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b)-Strengthen our efforts to obtain information [intelligence] about the plans, organization, and activities of each type of enemy and of other types of criminals, but particularly about the strategic plans of the Chinese reactionaries, the American imperialists, and the lackeys [allies] of both toward our country and toward all three countries of Indochina; pay special attention to gaining solid information [intelligence] on their plans to commit sabotage, to conduct coups, or to launch wars of aggression [to conduct an invasion] in order to come up with plans to defeat their plans.

Quickly gain solid information on the situation on every city block, in every hamlet, and in every village, especially in key, vital areas, those areas that the enemy might be able to infiltrate, recruit bandits, conduct sabotage, and incite violence in order to provide collective leadership to proactively attack the counter-revolutionaries and other types of criminals, to categorize the different bad elements, and to conduct investigations to identify the underground reactionary leaders and hard-core supporters.

Party Committees, governmental authorities at all levels, sectors, and mass organizations must quickly strengthen their communications systems and revise their reporting regulations in order to ensure that they have a firm grasp of the daily status of political security and social law and order in their sectors, units, and localities and to be able to provide quick guidance and direction to resolve any important or urgent problems.

c)-Strengthen and consolidate key, vital areas and eliminate any elements that might incite problems or acts of violence.  Gain a firm grasp of the situation and the special characteristics of each area and then come up with appropriate plans; quickly strengthen party, governmental armed forces, and mass organizations at the district and village level; pay special attention to expanding production and ensuring the livelihoods of the people; fully implement all of the Party’s policies for ethnic [minority] groups and religions in parallel with working to effectively protect law and order in each individual area; take pro-active measures to crush all of the enemy’s espionage and psychological warfare plot and his efforts to incite violence; and be prepared to deal with a war of aggression [an invasion] in any and all situations.

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d)-Step up our struggles to combat spies and reactionaries; resolutely suppress saboteurs and do good reeducation work to reeducate individuals who endanger our security and law and order.

We must focus our guidance and mass our forces to carry out every possible struggle method in order to effectively counter the espionage activities of the Chinese reactionaries and the American imperialists, and we must pro-actively detect enemy spies, commandos, and reconnaissance personnel before they infiltrate and then hunt them down and arrest them when they do infiltrate.  Quickly uncover, hunt down, arrest, and totally dismantle entire spy networks planted inside our country by China and the Americans, with special focus on uncovering and eliminating penetration agents [moles, “spies within our ranks”].

We must draft and implement plans to block and combat all different types of spies and reactionaries in key, vital areas. We must proactively prevent and quickly suppress all enemy sabotage plans and actions, and we must quickly eliminate the entire FULRO reactionary gang.

We need to provide concentrated reeducation [imprison in reeducation camps] individual who endanger our security and law and order, and at the same time we must conduct good in-place reeducation [“home reeducation” - reeducation without arrest and detention]; we must actively eliminate those elements of society that the enemy often uses to oppose and combat us and we must make good use of the work force available at the reeducation camps.

e)-Strength our efforts to combat the enemy’s psychological warfare operations

Party Committees, propaganda and training agencies, cultural agencies, information agencies, the press, and people’s mass organizations must quickly carry out good political and ideological education efforts to make our cadres, Party members, and the popular masses clearly recognize the harmful effects and the dangers presented by the enemy’s psychological warfare counter-propaganda arguments.  They must launch powerful mass movements to expose and denounce those who are conducting psychological warfare, and at the same time our Public Security agencies must conduct serious investigations and hunt down those who are behind the enemy’s efforts to spread lies, fabricate stories, and conduct psychological warfare and then immediately prosecute those enemy elements. We must educate, conduct criticism and self-criticism sessions, and sternly discipline cadres, Party members, and members of the masses [ordinary civilians] who demonstrate a lack of vigilance by spreading the enemy’s psychological warfare stories.

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f)-Strengthen our efforts to protect the Party, to protect our governmental organizations, to protect our armed forces, and aggressively defend agains and combat enemy penetration agents [moles]

The work of protecting the Party, protecting the government, and protecting our armed forces means defending our policies, protecting our ideology and organizations, and ensuring that our internal ranks are pure and that our rear area is strong and solid, and it includes struggling to defeat all efforts to create divisions and to attack and corrupt our cadres, Party members, and fighters. We must screen out and eliminate opportunists and dissatisfied elements who try to create factionalism and those who intentionally violate the Party’s policies and the State’s laws.  We must punish those who have become corrupted and who commit serious crimes.  We must seriously guard against and strive to eliminate enemy spies who are hiding and concealing themselves within our ranks.

We must ensure the absolute safety and security of the leadership agencies, key leaders, and vital components of the Party and the State, and we must protect our nation’s secrets, our defense facilities and organizations, and our military operations.

Based on their individual roles and missions, the Party’s organizational and inspection agencies should work closely with Public Security to protect the Party.  Party Committees and leaders of State agencies and armed forces organizations must accept total responsibility for protecting their own internal security.

g)-Step up efforts to protect our economy and to protect socialist property

In parallel with our efforts to expand production, we must pay special attention to protecting our production, to strengthening our control of the economy, and to closing all possible gaps in order to prevent our enemies and bad elements from sabotaging or violating [stealing, misappropriating] socialist property.  We must be alert and clear-eyed, we must clearly differentiate between incidents that damage our economy that are caused by ineptitude, inexperience, or a lack of responsibility from the enemy’s acts of sabotage.  We must absolutely avoid subjectively, simplistically, carelessly ignoring incidents that sabotage our economy or that violate socialist property.

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We must pay attention to the need to also protect our production forces and our socialist production relationships.  We must either prevent or quickly block errors and mistakes in our different economic sectors that violate our principles of socialist control of the economy.

All sectors, all staff agencies, all enterprises, and all units must accept direct responsibility for protecting our economy and for protecting the socialist property of their own agency, enterprise, or unit.  Public Security bears primary responsibility for combatting spies, reactionaries, and other types of criminals who commit acts of sabotage against our economy or acts that violate [harm, misappropriate] socialist property.

h)-We must struggle to eliminate professional criminals, vicious thugs, thieves, murderers, smugglers, con artists, fraudsters, etc.; to eliminate social vices; to reduce the number of accidents; and to properly maintain public law and order.

We must focus our strength on resolutely eliminating the crimes being committed by professional criminals, vicious thugs, thieves, murderers, con artists, fraudsters, etc., greatly reduce the number of serious crimes, eliminate the various types of social vices, and reduce the number of accidents in order to restore law and order and traffic safety as quickly as possible.  Our capital city of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Haiphong City, and Danang City must basically restore law and order as quickly as possible.

We must properly organize and conduct fire prevention and fire fighting operations, and we must turn these kinds of activities into a mass movement in staff agencies, enterprises, collectives, etc., especially in cities and in industrial zones, and we must actively prevent forest fires.

Using mobilization of the masses as our foundation, we must constantly conduct campaigns to hunt down, arrest, imprison, and reeducate professional criminals and armed gangs of thieves and murders; we must constantly inspect and review the family registers in combination with conducting patrols and identity checks in key locations (roads, rivers, railroad lines, airfields); we must guard against and combat smugglers and those who commit criminal actions; and we must ensure that all public laws and traffic laws and safety regulations are obeyed.

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We must build lives for our people that are safe, legal, cultured, happy, and pure.

Under the leadership of the Party, all levels of the government must take action to provide work and jobs for the people, they must force those who are strong enough to go to work, and they must administer [handle, control] and reeducate those that require on-site reeducation [home reeducation, without being imprisoned]

III-The Missions and Organization of the People’s Public Security in the New Situation

1.-Overall Mission of People’s Public Security

1.-As one of the key tools of violence of the Party and of the State’s dictatorship of the proletariat and as the core assault force for protecting our political security and law and order in society, the overall mission of People’s Public Security in the new situation is:

Based on a solid understanding of dictatorship of the proletariat and exploiting the collective socialist mastery of the workers, we must strive to build a People’s Public Security organization that is pure, clean, and strong in all respects and that can strengthen the mass movement to protect the Fatherland’s security, to crush all of the plans and actions of intelligence agents and spies of the imperialists and capitalists (especially of Chinese and American spies) and of all types of reactionaries and other criminals, to protect political security, and to protect law and order in society in order to protect our Party, to protect our revolutionary government, to protect our armed forces, to protect socialist property, to protect the lives and property of our people, and to actively contribute to the work of building socialism and solidly protecting and defending our Socialist Vietnamese Fatherland. People’s Public Security must also work to strengthen our special relationship with Laos and Cambodia and to strengthen friendly and cooperative relations with the Soviet Union and with the other socialist countries.

In order to be able to proactively protect the Fatherland’s security, People’s Public Security is responsible for conducting good intelligence operations against the imperialist and capitalist countries and against international reactionary organizations, for strengthening its counter-espionage operations in order to protect our agencies and cadres stationed abroad as well as our students who are studying abroad, and for properly administering members of our overseas Vietnamese community who are living abroad.

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2.-In order to successfully accomplish this mission, People’s Public Security needs to correctly carry out the following measures:

-Measures to mobilize the masses

-Reconnaissance and recruited agent operations

-Investigative measures and interrogations

-Science and technology operations

-Administrative measures

-Armed operations

The measures listed above are intimately related to one another, but the most basic method to be used is to rely on the masses and to mobilize the masses.

3.-In light of the new situation and the new mission and of the urgent requirement to strengthen the organization and improve the quality and effectiveness of People’s Public Security, we must constantly strengthen our People’s Public Security forces to ensure that they are solid politically, skilled professionally, are well-organized and disciplined, have good scientific and technological skills, who possess modern specialized professional equipment, who work patiently to mobilize the people, who maintain a high level of vigilance, and who actively participate in the work of maintaining political security and maintaining law and order in our society.

Our People’s Public Security organization and apparatus from the National level down to the local level must pay attention to maintaining quality, units, and specialized professionalism, to ensuring that it has collective leadership and unified command, and to acting quickly, in a timely fashion, and with precision.  People’s Public Security must fully carry out its roles and missions of providing outstanding support to the leadership of Party committees and governments at all levels while at the same time serving as our constant and highly effective combat force.

Initially, we must quickly strengthen and perfect the organization, improve and reform the working methods, and improve the leadership, guidance, and command of our Public Security at all levels; we must strengthen the education, administration, and training of our public security cadres and enlisted fighters in order to build People’s Public Security forces that are pure, clean, solid, and strong in all respects; we must greatly improve the revolutionary morality and the political and professional quality of these forces to ensure that they are able to successfully accomplish every mission that they are given.

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People’s Public Security consists of two primary forces:

-People’s Security forces, whose primary mission is to conduct intelligence operations, to combat spies and reactionaries, and to protect our political security.

-People’s Police forces, whose primary mission is to combat all types of criminals and to maintain law and order in our society.

These two forces are intimately related to one another and they must work closely together in all of their operations.

Each of these combat force must have a unified command headquarters staff and a professional organization specializing in combating specific types of targets in specific areas.

In addition to these primary combat forces, People’s Public Security also has other forces to conduct research and analysis, to carry out organizational, cadre, political, training and rear services [logistics support] tasks, and technical forces to participate in combat and combat support operations.

Along these lines, the Politburo has decided to reorganize the People’s Public Security at its different levels as follows:

-At the Ministry of Interior, we will form:

+The People’s Security General Department

+The People’s Police General Department

+The People’s Public Security Force-Building General Department

+The People’s Public Security Rear Services General Department

+The Research and Analysis Office

+A number of separate bureaus and departments directly subordinate to the Minister

-[Big] City and Special Zone Public Security Bureaus directly subordinate to the Center [to the national-level ministry] and Provincial Public Security Offices will be formed into the following organizations:

+A People’s Security Command Section

+A People’s Police Command Section

+A Research and Analysis Office

+A number of separate offices directly subordinate to the Bureau Director or the Provincial Office Chief.

-Precinct, District, Block, and city/province capital Public Security Offices will be formed into the following organizations:

+A People’s Security Unit.

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+A People’s Police Unit.

+An administrative office.

+A number of separate organizations directly subordinate to the Chief of the precinct, district, city block, or city/province capital Public Security offices.

Depending on the position of the Public Security agency in its individual locality, we will form the necessary components, such as offices and sections directly subordinate to the local Public Security Director or Chief of the Province Public Security office, or units and sections directly subordinate to the Chief of District or equivalent level Public Security offices.

We must play special attention to building the correct size of district public security offices because the district is the level that provides overall, total leadership of the district.

-Village and ward Public Security and agency and enterprise security forces are extremely important.  These forces are semi-specialized [semi-professional] forces that directly combat targets, that are personally involved in mobilizing the mass movement to protect the Fatherland’s security and that resolve security and law and order issues at the grass-roots level in accordance with the missions and the powers and limitations laid out for them by our State.  Currently these forces are very weak, and that is why we must actively work to provide them with additional cadres, to build them into pure [honest] and strong units that are directly connected to the masses under the direct leadership of grass-roots level Party committees.  At the same time Public Security bureaus, province and district offices, and equivalent Public Security organizations must give the utmost assistance to them, must inspect, check, oversee, and encourage them, and must do everything possible to enable our grass-roots level Public Security forces to fully accomplish their missions.

4.-To provide the number of personnel required and to improve the quality of the cadres [officers] and [enlisted] fighters of People’s Public Security, the Ministry of Interior is authorized to recruit/draft youths into the People’s Public Security Service in the same way that we recruit/draft youths for military service.  We must recruit/draft students from our universities and technical high schools, workers from state enterprises, and People’s Army officers and enlisted men who have completed their military service commitments who have an aptitude for Public Security work, who have the necessary level of education, and who meet the physical and health requirements to supplement the ranks of our People’s Public Security forces.

5.-The Ministry of Interior is authorized to continue to detail Public Security officers to the necessary related sectors and to our country’s missions and agencies located abroad to carry out missions in those locations.

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The Party Secretariat will handle the dissemination of this resolution and the [Party’s] Internal Political Security Section will help the Party Secretariat to check and oversee its implementation.

The Current Affairs Committee of the Council of Government [the Cabinet] will draw up plans to guide the coordination of operations between the Ministry of Interior and the related sectors in order to constantly strengthen the State’s dictatorship of the proletariat power and the collective mastery of the working class. The Current Affairs Committee will direct the implementation of each specialized portion of this work, first of all focusing on the plan to protect security and law and order in our large cities, in the provinces along our northern border, and in the Central Highlands.

The Ministry of Interior Party Affairs Committee will assist the Current Affairs Committee of the Council of Government [the Cabinet] to turn the contents of this resolution into State [governmental] documents that will set forward the missions, duties, organization, and powers [authority] of the Ministry of Interior along with the working procedures and the relationship between our different sectors and localities with the Ministry of Interior.  The Ministry of Interior Party Affairs Committee will direct the changes and improvements in the organization and working procedures of all Public Security organizations, from the national level down to the grass-roots level, and it will help the Party Secretariat will monitor the progress of the implementation of this resolution.

Party committees, Party affairs committees, and Party and Youth Group organizations will conduct studies and draft plans to implement this resolution on security and law and order operations suited to the specific situation of their own localities and units.

People’s Committees at all levels should carefully prepare subject matter for submission to their own People’s Councils for discussion and passage of resolutions so that our entire population will carry out the missions of protecting political security and law and order in society, and they will personally direct the resolution of urgent security and law and order issues in their own localities.

The Central Military Party Committee will study this resolution and come up with a plan to implement this resolution within the People’s Armed Forces.

From now on, the reports submitted by all levels of authority and all sectors must include reports on the implementation of this Politburo resolution on political security operations and maintaining law and order in society.  All levels of authorities must provide summary reports to the Party Secretariat once every quarter [every three months], and send info copies of these reports to the Ministry of Interior Party Affairs Committee.

[Page 341]

The full text of this resolution is to be disseminated to all Province Party Committees and all City Committees that are directly subordinate to the Center [to the Politburo, the Central Committee].

The portions of this resolution dealing with the organization of the Ministry of Interior and intelligence operations are not to be disseminated to district and district-equivalent Party committees.  Party chapters and grass-roots level Party organizations are to be informed of the spirit [the essence] of this revolution in documents that will be drafted by the Ministry of Interior Party Affairs Committee and the Central [National] Propaganda and Training Section, and in the plans that will be prepared by province and city Party committees for the implementation of this resolution. 

This resolution must be stored in accordance with the procedures for the handling of top secret Party documents.

In response to this perceived growing threat against the regime, on 2 December 1980 the Vietnamese Communist Party Politburo issued Resolution 31-NQ/TW on maintaining internal political security and law and order in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, with a specific focus on increasing the power and the responsibilities of Vietnam’s Public Security and Police forces, which were subordinate to the Ministry of Interior. 

Related Documents

December 1980

Trần Đông, 'Key Issues in the Struggle against Chinese Spies and American Spies and in the Struggle against the Enemy’s Ideological Attacks' [Excerpts]

In a speech, Deputy Minister of Interior Tran Dong makes it clear that the Ministry of the Interior’s goal is to develop a massive network of secret informants throughout Vietnam’s civilian population, a network that would be every bit as extensive and intrusive as was the informant network established inside East Germany by the Stasi, or the East German Ministry for State Security.

December 15, 1980

Resolution on Policy Guidelines and Missions for the Struggle against Chinese Spies in the New Situation

A resolution on combatting “Chinese spies” in Vietnam. The resolution directs Vietnam's Public Security to establish a special interrogation center to which all known and suspected “Chinese spies” who had been arrested would be sent for detailed interrogation by trained professionals. The interrogations would help Vietnam to identify existing Chinese espionage operations and to obtain information on the Chinese intelligence organizations, their plans, and their targets. 

December 15, 1980

Resolution on Policy Guidelines and Missions for the Struggle against American Spies in the New Situation

A resolution on combatting “American spies." The document calls for Public Security to re-interview all confirmed or suspected “CIA” agents being held in re-education camps and to conduct careful reviews of the enormous volume of documents captured by Communist forces when they took over South Vietnam in 1975 in order to identify and arrest any “stay-behind” agents of the Americans as well as former “CIA” agents who had still managed to evade detection and arrest.

December 15, 1980

Resolution on the Status and Mission of Combatting Enemy’s Ideological Sabotage Efforts During This New Period

This resolution on combatting “ideological sabotage” lumps Chinese ideological propaganda, Western propaganda operations, international human rights and humanitarian relief activities, and religious radio broadcasts and religious missionary activities all together with the spreading influence of Western culture and music in Vietnam as part of a vast, insidious effort by Vietnam’s enemies designed to corrupt Vietnam’s society and to weaken its “revolutionary” spirit in order to cause the overthrow or collapse of the Vietnamese Communist Party and government. 

The over-the-top rhetoric used in this resolution illustrates the widespread paranoia that infected the upper ranks of Vietnam’s Party and security apparatus during this period of the Cold War.  It was not until six years later, in December 1986, that the pressures of growing internal dissension (even within the Party), the country’s desperate economic situation, and reductions in Soviet military and economic to Vietnam resulted in the decision by the Communist Party’s 6th Party Congress to shift to a policy of reforms, called “Renovation” [Đổi Mới] reforms and to new Vietnamese efforts to normalize relations with China and the United States.

December 15, 1980

Speech Given by Comrade Le Duc Tho to the Leaders of Public Security’s Departments, Bureaus, and City and Provincial Offices during the Conference to Discuss the Three Specialized Drafts and to Implement Politburo Resolution 31 [Excerpts]

A speech given by Party Politburo Member Le Duc Tho during a three-day conference of the Ministry’s top Public Security officers along with the Directors of Public Security of all of the nation’s provinces and major cities, where the attendees received instructions on three new Ministry of Interior Party resolutions - one on “the struggle against Chinese spies”, one on “the struggle against American spies”, and one on  “the struggle against the enemy’s ideological attacks.” At the time of the speech, Le Duc Tho was viewed as Vietnam’s second most powerful leader, second only to Party General Secretary Le Duan. 

Le Duc Tho commented that while recruiting Americans would be easy, requiring only “money, women, and drinking and carousing”, recruiting Chinese would require a careful process of political education of the target

Document Information


Tổng Kết Lịch Sử Đấu Tranh Chống Gián Điệp (1945-2005) (Review of the History of the Struggle Against Spies, 1945-2005) (Hanoi: People’s Public Security Publishing House, 2009), 323-341. Contributed and translated by Merle Pribbenow.


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