A former violent Dien Bien, a present peaceful Dien Bien

Posted at: FRIday - 09/05/2014 14:04 - post name: Nguyễn Thị Thùy

 

Dien Bien Phu, the former violent battlefield, is now a dynamic young city, which are giving fresh impetus to socio-economic development in the northwestern region. Such relic sites as A1 Hills, Doc Lap and Him Lam Fortifications and De Castries bunker, which used to be devastated by the war, are now green and peaceful places that attract tens of thousands of visitors every year.

Back in time

We had a chance to meet Pham Ba Mieu in Tan Thanh Ward, Dien Bien Phu City. Mr Mieu was one of the young volunteers who digged the trench on A1 Hill during the Dien Bien Phu Campaign. Mr Mieu said while the enemy was very well-equipped and armed, the most significant weapons of Vietnamese soldiers were determination and their will of iron.

He said that he had to witness many of his comrades lay down their lives and buring them was the most heart-breaking thing he had to do.

Such grief increased our determination to kill the enemy, he said.

Mr Mieu also said he was very delighted at the development of his home city since the victory.

60 years ago, Dien Bien Phu was a huge valley in the western region, which the French Colonialists considered an advantageous military base. They also considered it a strategic military base. In the Fall-Winter Campaign in 1953 and 1954, they had 17 ground-force battalions, 3 battalions of engineers, a company of tanks, a company of 200 trucks and a squadron of 14 planes. The total number of French troops reached 16,200 deployed in 49 fortifications and armed with heavy and modern weapons.

After 56 days, we won the final victory, killing and arresting 16,200 French troops, shooting down 62 planes, capturing all weapons, military equipments and goods. It put an end to the nine-year struggle against the French Colonialists.

The late General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Le Duan said the Dien Bien Phu Victory should be compared to the victory in Bach Dang, Chi Lang, or Dong Da which our ancestors won in the past.

It was a glorious victory, which put an end to the enslavement of the colonialism over its colonies.

The “Dien Bien Phu Victory” spirit in the Renewal Process

60 years have gone since we won the world-shaking victory in Dien Bien Phu. Many changes have been recorded since the great day. Dien Bien Phu province, since its re-establishment in 2003, has gained great achievements and socio-economic development. The “Dien Bien Phu hollow” is now the foundation of a young and dynamic city.

The Him Lam gateway, which was destroyed in the war, is now the peaceful and developing Him Lam Ward. Le Van Thi, Chairman of the Him Lam Ward People’s Committee, said the living conditions of Him Lam people has experienced development, with per capita income reaching 28.5 million VND and poverty rate decreasing to 1 percent. The intellectual standards has been increased while schools, factories, and other buildings are on the rise.

Despite recent difficulties and challenges, the provincial Party Committee and authorities has made great effort to stabilize its socio-economic development. GDP growth reached 6.55 percent in the 1996-2000 period, 9 percent in 2001-2005 period, 11.6 percent in the 2006-2011 period. In 2013 alone, it reached a GDP growth of 8.55 percent.

Dien Bien is now a goods manufacturing area, with a focus on the development of aquaculture and farming. It now can ensure food for it self. There are now traffic road to 125 out of 130 communes, 88 percent of the urban population and 72.6 percent of rural population and have access to running water. 126 out of 130 communes have acess to national electricity grid, the poverty rate fell to 35 percent. Education and training have also gained development.

As a heroic land with rich cultural values, Dien Bien has tried to preserve its historical and cultural values. The number of tourists visiting the province has enjoyed sharp increase. In 2013, tourism earned more than 400 billion VND, contributing greatly to the province’s socio-economic development.

Mua A Son, Chairman of the Dien Bien provincial People’s Committee, said in spite of difficulties, the provincial Party Committee, authorities, and people has spared no effort to develop their home province. In 2014, the province aims to reach a GDP growth rate of 9.5 percent, produce as much as 236,000 tonnes of food, increase forest coverage to 41 percent, and decrease poverty rate by 3.57 percent compared to 2013.

Visitors to Dien Bien today can still see the former headquarters of the campaign; A1, C2, and D1 Hills; Hong Cum, Him Lam and Doc Lap Fortifications; Muong Thanh Bridge and Airport; and De Catries bunker.

Under the leadership of the Party, State and the Government, Dien Dien provincial Party Committee and people are working hard to win another “Dien Bien Phu victory” in the industrialization and modernization process. The people of Dien Bien, and Vietnamese people in general, will bear in mind the good service and feats of arm of a heroic generation of the nation. 

Translated by Dic

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