Remembering an experienced military commander and caring Party chief

August 15, 2020 - 07:39
The former Party chief passed away on August 7 at the age of 89 and will be remembered for his great contributions to the glorious revolutionary cause of the Party and country.


Former General Secretary of the Communist Party of Việt Nam Lê Khả Phiêu passed away on August 7 at the age of 89. — Photo

HÀ NỘI — Former General Secretary of the Communist Party of Việt Nam Lê Khả Phiêu once said: “Although I have retired, it does not mean I just eat and take a rest. When the heart is still beating, I will continue to dedicate myself to do anything beneficial for the Party, for the country, and for the people.”

The former Party chief passed away on August 7 at the age of 89 and will be remembered for his great contributions to the glorious revolutionary cause of the Party and the nation.

In 1950, at the age of 19, Phiêu was sent to the war of resistance against the French and fought on battlefields from the North to the South.

Once a soldier on the frontlines, he was trained to become a military-political officer with experience in organising and commanding troops.

During the General Offensive and Uprising in the spring of 1968 (Tết Offensive), as a political commissar and commander, his regiment was part of the force that liberated Huế and defended the ancient citadel for 26 days and nights of fierce fighting.

In January 1979, Phiêu joined the Vietnamese Volunteer Army to liberate Cambodia, and stayed there for 10 years to assist the Cambodian people to safeguard the country from the return of the Pol Pot-led Khmer Rouge genocidal regime.

Phiêu acted as the Political Head of Battlefield 719 and then Deputy Political Commander of Việt Nam Volunteer Army in Cambodia until he returned home in 1989.

Colonel Nguyễn Dĩnh, former deputy director of Department of Publicity and Training, General Political Department of the People's Army of Việt Nam, said officers and soldiers remembered Lê Khả Phiêu as a simple, open, intimate and wholehearted leader. 

Lt Gen Phạm Xuân Thệ, a Hero of the People's Armed Forces and former commander of Army Region 1, said former party chief Phiêu was a respectable political and military leader with a farsighted vision, morality and affection for soldiers.

While discussing tactics to attack an enemy base in Quảng Nam Province in the summer of 1974, Phiêu regularly emphasised: “Only when the preparations for the attack were made carefully, could we have a victory and reduce the casualties of our soldiers.”

Colonel-General Lê Khả Phiêu left good memories on those who had the chance to meet and work with him and also inspired positive thoughts and actions, Lt Gen Thệ added.

Caring about people’s lives

Col Gen Lê Khả Phiêu served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of Việt Nam from December 1997 to April 2001.

In many of his speeches and articles, he said one of the dangers the Party faced was losing touch with the people and lacking democracy and mass mobilisation. He regularly highlighted the importance of democracy, mass mobilisation and national unity under the guideline “people know, people discuss, people do and people verify”.

As a high-ranking leader, General Secretary Phiêu showed his concern about various sectors, from science, education-training to culture, arts and journalism. He often expressed his opinions at forums, showing enthusiasm and a very high sense of responsibility.

Despite his busy schedule, he always spent time visiting and working with many sectors and localities, leaving the impression of a leader staying close to and caring about people.

Former Party General Secretary Lê Khả Phiêu (second left) talks to workers of Gia Lâm Railway Factory in Hà Nội on his visit to the factory in August 2000. — VNA/VNS Photo

In late 1999 when the central region was hit by two severe floods, the then party chief Phiêu visited the flooded areas and households affected by the natural disasters.

He urged the local authorities to help 64 families, who lost their houses in the 1999 flood in Phú Vang District in Thừa Thiên-Huế Province, establish a new village and stabilise their lives.

Thanks to the support and assistance of the Party and the State, three months after the disaster, Trần Văn Thu, a local resident, who lost 12 relatives in the historic flood, and other households overcame difficulties and started new lives on the new land.

The new village was named Rồng (Dragon) by Party General Secretary Phiêu, referring to the hope villagers would stay strong to overcome hardship.

“All the villagers of Dragon Village consider Uncle Phiêu the founder of the village,” Thu said.

Since that day, on new year occasions, Phiêu came back to visit the villagers.

Former Party General Secretary Lê Khả Phiêu visits Rồng Village in central Thừa Thiên-Huế Province. — Photo

“He was considerate and asked each person about the work, life and education of our children like a father did. He told the local authorities to take care of people's lives,” Huỳnh Thị Mân, a villager, recalled.

Worried that natural disasters would create more challenges for the villagers, Phiêu called for help from many places to build a communal house, hoping villagers would have a place for cultural activities and a shelter to avoid future natural disasters.

Ngô Văn Đủ, deputy secretary of Thuận An Town’s Party Committee, said: “Local people considered party chief Phiêu as a source of encouragement when villagers were in the most desperate situations during the floods.” — VNS