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Ho Khau System During Pre-reform Era

Date: Wed, 11 May 2005 08:13:35 -0700 (PDT)
From: Aimee Kim Nguyen <aimeekng@u.washington.edu
Reply-To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu
To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu
Subject: [Vsg] ho khau system during pre-reform era.

I have a quick question regarding the Ho Khau during pre-reform era. WAs the ho khau implemented because the government want to prevent use of urban benifits? And that Viet Nam as a socialist country during that time want to promote industrialization while still limiting the cost of urbanization, because large population of migrations to the city put pressure on the infrastructure? And that the tactic they develop was to suprress the service sectors, and that is how the ho khau system come in to play--to prevent people going to the city easily?

write back when you have time.
thanks,
aimee

 

Date: Thu, 12 May 2005 01:47:44 +1000 (EST)
From: adam@aduki.com.au
Reply-To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: [Vsg] ho khau system during pre-reform era.

Was there any country in the Soviet bloc that did not have an internal passport system? Standard MO.
Adam

 

Date: Wed, 11 May 2005 12:11:45 -0400
From: Van Tran <tran@ssrc.org>
Reply-To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: RE: [Vsg] ho khau system during pre-reform era.

I cannot answer the questions, but wanted to comment that it would be useful if someone could trace the delevopment of the ho khau registration system to its origin and see how it has evolved. The ho khau system certainly existed long before 1954 and seems to serve many purposes. The Le Code had provisions on household registration; in fact for rural residents, there are regulations that required a person to announce to the community when a visitor arrived and when a visitor departed. Order and security, taxes, and conscription seem to be the primary concern. A number of government regulations from the 1950's on their face seem to indicate a concern for rapid urbanization and the incapacity of the two hubs (Hai Phong and Ha Noi) to accommodate all those seeking work, while also wanting to promote development in rural areas by providing incentives for people to relocate there. There were (and still might be) population regulations that ban rural households who do not comply with family planning from changing their permanent residence to an urban city.

Van

 

Date: Wed, 11 May 2005 12:35:16 -0400
From: Hong Anh Vu <HaVu01@maxwell.syr.edu>
Reply-To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: RE: [Vsg] ho khau system during pre-reform era.

Hi Amiee,

Let me share my understanding of the Ho Khau system.

Ho Khau is generally a tool for administrative purposes. Its principle function is to maintain social security by providing local authorities with information about each household member listed: name, date of birth, occupation, and work place, etc. It also provides information on "problematic" members such as drug addicts, prisoners, etc., who may be summoned by the police around important occasions such as September 2 to make sure that these elements will not be able to may gay roi (make trouble). In the old days, any visitors not listed in the Ho Khau needed to register with cong an ho khau (ho khau police). Untill a few years ago (and perhaps today) permission is required only if a Vietnamese wants to have a foreign guest staying in the house.

Under the system of subsidies, Ho Khau was used for ration, such as rice and gasoline. Ho Khau is also essential for property registration such as mortobike, land, housing. Ho Khau will be needed to determine which school district a child will attend.

I don't think Ho Khau was designed to control urbanization, but it does make it more difficult for those wanting to migrate to the cities. I know of cases in the past when a husband working in Hanoi had to create a "pretend divorce" in order to move his children from the countryside to city. Now that money talks, Ho Khau lost some of the power it once had in terms of access to social services. For example, if a child from a village is sponsored by a relative in the city, arrangement can be made to send him/her to school in the city.

Hope this helps.

Hong Anh


Date: Wed, 11 May 2005 09:42:39 -0700 (PDT)
From: Stephen Denney <sdenney@ocf.berkeley.edu>
Reply-To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: RE: [Vsg] ho khau system during pre-reform era.

Regarding the use of ho khau for food rations and subsidies, was this connected at all to the political background of families, for example discriminating against families who had relatives in re-education camps or who were in other ways considered to have bad political backgrounds?

- Steve Denney

 

Date: Wed, 11 May 2005 12:47:20 -0400
From: Van Tran <tran@ssrc.org>
Reply-To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: RE: [Vsg] ho khau system during pre-reform era.

Were there specific laws or regulations on the rationing? Thanks.

Van Tran

 

Date: Wed, 11 May 2005 11:11:01 -0700
From: Michael Leaf <leaf@interchange.ubc.ca>
Reply-To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: [Vsg] ho khau system during pre-reform era.

Hello Aimee,

There is also a bit of past vsg discussion on the topic of ho khau that you may find useful. This is archived at: http://www.lib.washington.edu/southeastasia/vsg/elist_2001/peasants.html

Best,
Michael Leaf

 

Date: Wed, 11 May 2005 21:53:53 +0200
From: John Kleinen <kleinen@uva.nl>
Reply-To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: RE: [Vsg] ho khau system during pre-reform era.

And please read Ben Kerkvliet's latest book (2005) pages 104 ff. regarding the Ho Khau system, that is connected with similar practices in China and the Soviet Union plus the French personal tax system (the original leaflets stamped by ly truong can still be found in teh archives). Andrew Hardy has made similar remarks in his Red Earth book.

John Kleinen

 

Date: Mon, 16 May 2005 15:29:30 +1000
From: Peter Hansen <phansen@ourladys.org.au>
Reply-To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
To: 'Vietnam Studies Group' <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: RE: [Vsg] ho khau system during pre-reform era.

Dear List,

I was once castigated on this list for having offered the information that in my time working in Hong Kong Detention Centres from 1990 until 1993, many hundreds of escapees told me that they or members of their family had had Ho Khau withheld from them or members of their family because of their political or military affiliations with the Southern regime, and that this practice was continuing until the late 1980's (I was interviewing to assist them in dealing with 'Thanh Loc', or screening). The withholding of Ho Khau effectively denied access to higher education, government employment and the like.

On many occasions, sufficient details were provided to give me the distinct impression that their contentions were legitimate.

 

 

Peter Hansen
Date: Mon, 16 May 2005 15:37:03 +1000
From: Peter Hansen <phansen@ourladys.org.au>
Reply-To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
To: 'Vietnam Studies Group' <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: RE: [Vsg] ho khau system during pre-reform era.

Steve,

Re my preceding post, my belief is that it was; at least in the period 1975-89 in the provinces from Quang Binh to Binh Dinh (from whence came those I was working with).

 

 

Peter Hansen
Date: Sun, 15 May 2005 22:57:22 -0700 (PDT)
From: Stephen Denney <sdenney@ocf.berkeley.edu>
Reply-To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: RE: [Vsg] ho khau system during pre-reform era.

I know some people who worked with the UNHCR in Hong Kong at that time and they also reported what Peter says. One was William Collins, last I heard with Chico State University in California, and the other Anne Wagley. I published an article by Anne on this subject in a newsletter I was editing at the time.

There was actually some strong divisions of opinion within the UNHCR at that time over whether the Vietnamese asylum seekers in Hong Kong could be considered legitimate refugees.

- Steve Denney

 

Date: Mon, 16 May 2005 17:50:24 +1000 (EST)
From: Adam Fforde <fforde@unimelb.edu.au>
Reply-To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: RE: [Vsg] ho khau system during pre-reform era.

i recall hearing around 1980 a northerner use the expression 'lam ngoai an ngoai' to refer to the idea that 'outsiders' (which I assume could also include those without registration, though I felt primarily refered to non-state employees) had to fend for themselves. Has anybody else recollection of this phrase?
Adam

 

Date: Mon, 16 May 2005 02:57:18 -0700 (PDT)
From: Nguyen Nguyet <minhnguyet80@yahoo.com>
Reply-To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: RE: [Vsg] ho khau system during pre-reform era.
Parts/Attachments:

Hi, I think the second thought is suitable for what is happening here. "La`m ngoai` a(n ngoai`" is used to refer to people not working in state-owned sectors.

 

Date: Mon, 16 May 2005 09:49:34 -0700 (PDT)
From: sophie qj <sophie_qj@yahoo.com>
Reply-To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: RE: [Vsg] ho khau system during pre-reform era.
Parts/Attachments:

 

Dear List,

This discussion about Ho khau reminds me that in the late 1970s during the anti-capitalist campaign is the South, there was a lot of pressure on people who were considered to have no productive employment, a category which included many levels of trade, to go the the New Economic Zones. Whether or not their names were removed from the Ho Khau before or after their departure from the city is not clear to me. But once they left, if they tried to return (as many people did) they had to exist outside the system. This was the case for a number of families with Amer-Asian children whom I interviewed in Thailand in the early 1980s. So when they returned to live in urban areas, their children could not attend school and started hustling on the streets.

The issue of people being refused registration because of their political history may be mixed up with their classification as "non-productive" workers. But in either case, it reflected a punitive attitude towards the southern population, for which the Hanoi government has now apologized, if I understand correctly.

Sophie Quinn-Judge
Temple University

 

Date: Tue, 17 May 2005 07:38:32 +1000 (EST)
From: Adam Fforde <fforde@unimelb.edu.au>
Reply-To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: RE: [Vsg] ho khau system during pre-reform era.

If the underlying question here is about social control, or rather attempts at it, since this is Vietnam, then what should be added to the list? A classic question for field research is whether 'letters of introduction' to other organs would be written as and when requested. Our research on utonomous farmers' organisations in 2000 showed that this was taken as a sign of a positive and supportive attitude in areas where the local authority was tasked to support such bodies, and by contrast refusal to do so, or charging excessive rates, a negative one. Such behaviour was once construed in an unpublised analysis by a leading foreign rural development worker as being part of a 'web' surrounding farmers. Ben's recent book could be read as an account of reactions to this, both locally and in terms of how the overall political project driving the 'web' could change in response. The 'ho khau' system can thus be read as both a specific element in all this, but also as part of an overall project. As Chu Huu Quy once wrote 'in the rural areas our pary rests upon the state (chinh quyen)'. You cannot get away from macro politics.
Adam

 

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