Re-education camps...or death camps?
Broadcast Date: July 1, 1979The new Vietnamese government decides to "re-educate" thousands of former American allies, government workers, intellectuals and merchants by transforming them into agricultural workers. They are forced from the cities to Vietnam's "new economic zones" — isolated areas of the country which the government hopes to make fruitful.
Once there, they're treated as slave labour. As human rights leaders around the world hear about the atrocities, they begin to protest. Human Rights Committee president Joan Baez describes the camps to CBC Radio.
Vietnamese of Chinese origin are the worst off. Many merchants, most of whom are Chinese, are sent to camps. One and a half million are relocated to new economic zones. In 1978, Vietnam begins expelling 745,000 ethnic Chinese from the country on overcrowded boats. They are the bulk of the large second wave of refugees that begins leaving Vietnam in late 1978: they are the 'boat people,' and they become an international crisis.