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Comrade Vo Chi Cong – A talented leader of our Party and State

8/10/2022 2:47:03 PM

With nearly 80 years of engagement in revolutionary activities, life and career of comrade Vo Chi Cong were closely associated with our Party and people’s significant historical events in the 20th century. As an exemplary communist soldier and talented leader of our Party, in his entire life, he always expressed his loyalty to the Party and his piety to the people.

His revolutionary journey

Comrade Vo Chi Cong (real name: Vo Toan), former Permanent Member of the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat, former Chairman of the State Council, was born on August 7th, 1912 in Khuong My village, Tam Xuan commune, Nui Thanh district, Quang Nam province. Since early childhood, he was educated on patriotism and our nation’s indomitable spirit. At 14, Vo Chi Cong and his father took part in the struggle for the release of patriot Phan Boi Chau and were in mourning for patriot Phan Chu Trinh under the spirit of fighting for civil rights and democracy.

Comrade Vo Chi Cong visits people in Phuoc Son district, Quang Nam province in 1989 (A file photo)

With his passionate patriotism and deep hatred of the enemy, between 1930 and 1934, he took part in patriotic youth and revolutionary movements; he was initiated into the Communist Party of Indochina (1935) and appointed as Secretary of a Party Cell whose members were from several communes of Tam Ky district, Quang Nam province (1936). In September 1939, he was appointed as member of Tam Ky District Party Committee and then Secretary of the district’s Party Committee. At that time, the enemy carried out fierce suppression, thus causing a lot of difficulties for Quang Nam Provincial Party Committee; many members and even Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee were arrested, which led to a period of stagnation in the Provincial Party Committee’s operations. Against that backdrop, with his unshakeable faith in our Party and nation’s revolutionary cause, comrade Vo Chi Cong actively established a connection between party organisations within Tam Ky district and Quang Nam province, while striving to make contact with other communists within the province in hope for restoring party organisations. Thanks to his perseverance and resolve, in March 1940, Quang Nam Provisional Provincial Party Committee was founded and comrade Vo Chi Cong was elected as Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee. With his talent and revolutionary enthusiasm, he played a core role in reviving Quang Nam’s revolutionary movement; he was appointed to Annam Regional Party Committee which had just been re-established in October 1941. He was then designated as Secretary of Quang Nam – Da Nang Inter-Provincial Party Committee in June 1942.

As a respected leader of the Party and the masses, he was always hunted down by the enemy. In October 1943, he was arrested, imprisoned in Hoi An, sentenced to life, and taken to Buon Ma Thuot prison. In spite of being brutally tortured, he remained revolutionary steadfastness without uttering a word to the enemy. After the Japanese coup against the French, in order to earn support from our people, the enemy released several political prisoners, including comrade Vo Chi Cong. After being free, he came back to Quang Nam and was appointed to the province’s Viet Minh (League for the Independence of Viet Nam) Committee and the Standing Board of the Violence Committee to lead the uprising in Quang Nam. When the August Revolution broke out, he took part in leading the uprising in Quang Nam; then he was designated as chief of the Department of Justice of Quang Nam – Da Nang and commissar of Regiment 93. From 1946 to 1952, he was appointed as Deputy Head of Inter-Zone 5’s Organisation and Personnel Committee and Inspectorate, Secretary of the Personnel Committee of Dong – Bac Mien, member of Zone 5’s Party Committee, and Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee of Quang Nam – Da Nang.

After the signing of Geneva Accords (1954), he begged to return to the South. He was sent to Inter-Zone 5 and appointed as Deputy Secretary of the Inter-Zone’s Party Committee. At the 3rd  National Party Congress (September 1960), he was elected as Member of the Party Central Committee (PCC), Permanent Deputy Secretary of the Central Office for the South, and Deputy Chairman of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the National Liberation Front for South Viet Nam (1962). In January 1964, he was sent  back to Inter-Zone 5 and appointed as Secretary of the Inter-Zone’s Party Committee and Commissar of the Inter-Zone. In nearly 30 years of leadership over the military and people of Quang Nam – Da Nang and Inter-Zone 5 against the French and the US aggressors, he made significant contributions to national liberation and unification. Milestones in his revolutionary career were recorded in our Party’s history and contributed to highlighting the heroic resistance history of the military and people of the Southern Central Region.

In 1975, after the South had been completely liberated, comrade Vo Chi Cong was appointed as Deputy Head of the Representative Board of the Party Central Committee and the Government in the South. In April 1976, he was elected as Deputy to the 6th National Assembly and appointed as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Seafood. At the 4th National Party Congress (December 1976), he was elected as Member of the PCC and the Politburo. He was then appointed as Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Agriculture, Head of the Committee for Agricultural Innovation in the South (1978), and Vice Chairman of the Council of Ministers (April 1981). At the 5th  National Party Congress (March 1983), he continued to be elected to the PCC, the Politburo, and the PCC’s Secretariat, while being appointed as Permanent Member of the PCC’s Secretariat. In December 1986, at the 6th National Party Congress, he was elected to the PCC and the Politburo; he was appointed as Chairman of the State Council and Chairman of the National Defence Council of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam. Between June 1991 and December 1997, he acted as advisor to the PCC. He passed away on September 8th, 2011 in Ho Chi Minh City. With his great contributions to Vietnamese revolution, he was presented with Gold Star Order, 70-year Party membership badge, and many other noble rewards by our Party and State.

A talented leader of our Party and State

In the period of national construction and protection, comrade Vo Chi Cong was assigned to hold many key positions of our Party and State.

From 1976 and early 1977, he worked as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Seafood, while the State did not have sufficient petroleum and means of production for the seafood industry. Being fully aware of the country’s advantages for the development of the seafood industry thanks to a long coastline and large fishing grounds, he paid visits to state-owned businesses and cooperatives to research into reasons for business losses and seek practical measures for the Government so that it could deal with the seafood industry’s difficulties and implement self-management mechanisms for production development. Thanks to a reform in management work, the seafood industry gradually became the mainstay of national economy. In 1978, being Minister of Agriculture, he spent nights and days seeking ways to resolve difficulties for millions of peasants working within cooperatives. He paid visits to a large number of localities and had talks with peasants at rice paddy fields, thus clearly understanding that many cooperatives had given contracts to labourers, which helped increase economic benefits and peasants’ income in some cooperatives of Vinh Phu, Hai Phong City. Thoroughly grasping that situation, he recommended the Politburo and the PCC’s Secretariat to take charge of designing Directive 100-CT/TW on product contracting within cooperatives. Directive 100-CT/TW by the PCC’s Secretariat served as a major breakthrough in agriculture and was highly welcomed by our people. Based on that Directive, the PCC issued Resolution 10 (1988) on renewing mechanisms for agriculture management, thereby giving a new incentive to production, increasing productivity, and turning our country into an exporter of agricultural products.

A part from reforms in agriculture, comrade Vo Chi Cong also contributed to the development of our country’s economic management mechanisms. As Head of the Committee for Economic Management Mechanism Research, he actively visited economic facilities and held forums to collect opinions from economic experts and scholars in order to develop, perfect, and issue the Politburo’s Resolution 306-NQ/TW (April 1986) on guaranteeing production and business autonomy of grass-roots level economic units (including state-owned and handicraft businesses, family and private businesses in handicraft industry, cooperatives, and corporations, and family businesses in agriculture). It could be said that comrade Vo Chi Cong made significant contributions to realising the piecework mechanism in agriculture and renewing economic management mechanisms as the basis for our Party to formulate its sound guidelines on national renewal.

As Chairman of the State Council, comrade Vo Chi Cong made important contributions to renewing operations and especially constitutional and legislative work of the National Assembly. As Head of the Committee for Constitutional Amendment in 1980, under the Politburo’s close leadership, he directed the Committee to gather opinions from the people and employ experts to study and apply several countries’ experience to Viet Nam’s constitutional amendment, while persistently fighting against wrong viewpoints on constitutional amendment and upholding the fundamentals of socialist democracy and rule of law. The amended Constitution of 1992 – the Constitution of the renewal period was approved by the PCC and the National Assembly, marking a milestone in the all-around national renewal cause, providing a firm foundation for building legal documents and managing the country comprehensively.

As Permanent Secretary of the PCC, comrade Vo Chi Cong paid special attention to the Party building and rectification and a reform in the Party work. On May 8th, 1982, he signed Directive 02-CT/TW of the 5th PCC’s Secretariat on preparing and holding all-level Party Congresses in the second phase which required all Party Congresses to be “carefully prepared and organised”. According to the document, it is necessary to grasp the situation of localities and units, seriously exercise self-criticism and criticism, focus knowledge of cadres, party members, and the masses on formulating sound resolutions, and elect really talented and ethical Party Organisation Executive Committees. Besides, comrade Vo Chi Cong always placed emphasis on educating and training the youth, consolidating youth unions, and particularly educating youth union members and young citizens on communist ideal so that youth unions could act as a reliable reserve force of our Party and a faithful, excellent successor of our Party and nation’s cause. Being an advisor to the PCC, he actively gave his opinions to our Party and PCC about major issues on strengthening the Party’s leadership and combat strength.

Life and career of comrade Vo Chi Cong were closely connected with our Party and people’s glorious historical events in the 20th century. He was a role model as a communist. With his noble qualities, he was an excellent student of President Ho Chi Minh. He expressed his absolute loyalty to our revolution’s goal and ideal, while dedicating himself to our Party and people’s revolutionary cause. He set a good example of industriousness, thrift, integrity, uprightness, public-spiritedness, selflessness, and modesty, wholeheartedly loved his comrades and compatriots, and devoted every effort to benefits of our Party, Fatherland, and people. He was an excellent leader with creative thinking and action. He always considered practical outcomes as the ideal yardstick, maintained a close-knit bond with the people, and respected initiatives introduced by cadres, citizens, and localities.

The 110th anniversary of the birthday of comrade Vo Chi Cong takes place when our entire Party, Military, and people are actively striving to successfully implement the Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress, resolutions, directives, conclusions, and regulations on the Party building and rectification in tandem with the 13th Politburo’s Conclusion 01-KL/TW, dated May 18th, 2021 on continuing to realise the 12th Politburo’s Directive 05-CT/TW, dated May 15th, 2016 on accelerating the study and following of Ho Chi Minh’s ideology, ethics, and lifestyle. This is a chance for each cadre, party member, and citizen to pay tribute to comrade Vo Chi Cong’s significant contributions to our Party and people’s revolutionary cause. To successfully fulfil all assigned tasks, cadres, party members, and citizens should enhance the study and following of the moral example set by comrade Vo Chi Cong - a talented leader whose entire life was dedicated to our country and people.

Prof. DAM DUC VUONG, PhD. Former Deputy Head of the Institute of Ho Chi Minh and Party Leaders