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Sunday, April 14, 2019, 07:33 (GMT+7)
Riot control and prevention measures in industrial areas

Manufacturing zones and industrial parks (industrial zone in general), each with the concentration of thousands of workers, have played a critical role in the country and provinces’ economic development. However, they are also the breeding ground for complicated and sensitive issues, which can be exploited by adversary forces to incite unrest and sabotage local political stability. Therefore, the work of developing riot control and prevention measures is an impending task in the current situation.

Industrial zones in Vietnam are defined as part of the country’s territory, with clearly determined boundaries; they are established and operated under Vietnam’s legislations and regulations, their infrastructure is developed to serve as the foundation to manufacture industrial products and provide services. Since the Party’s Doi Moi Policy was initiated, there have been thousands of economic projects by foreign and domestic enterprises invested into hundreds of industrial zones, including major industrial parks in economically important provinces. These projects have created millions of jobs for Vietnamese people and greatly contributed to the success of the country’s economic and modernization goals.

However, besides economic benefits they provide, industrial zones are also breeding grounds for sensitive and complicated political and security issues. Indeed, the concentration of thousands of workers in one place often results in complex social problems. Many companies, for the sake of profit, often ignore their employees’ social welfare and interests; this is also a cause of dissatisfaction and frustration among workers. In addition, land clearance and compensation work in many regions was sometimes poorly implemented; this led to a lot of disputes and complaints in local communities. These issues are often exploited by adversary forces to incite unrest and riot among workers and local population in industrial areas. Recent riots which happened in industrial zones such as Dong Nai, Binh Duong, etc, caused severe social, political and economic consequences. And most recently, controversies around several legislations were exploited by reactionaries to rally a number of workers to take part in protests and riots, which led to criminal activities, causing a lot of harmful impacts on social order and security in several regions. These are dangerous precedents and need to be fully addressed.

That said, this article will discuss some measures to control and prevent further violent protests and riots in industrial areas.

First, enhance political propaganda and education for workers, civilians and officials in industrial regions to improve their awareness about our State’s legislations and Party’s principles, preventing adversary forces from inciting further unrest. This is the most important measure, because security and stability in industrial areas can only be ensured when people who work and live in those places have clear understanding about reactionary groups’ distorted propaganda and provocation. To do this, Party organizations, management boards and labor unions in industrial areas must increase propaganda activities and provide more information for workers to strengthen their awareness about the Party’s economic policies and the State’s legislations, especially Labor Law, Enterprise Law, Civil Law, and Criminal Law, etc. Also, responsible cadres and officials must explain the reactionary nature of adversary forces and their stratagem to sabotage our country to workers in industrial areas, making them understand that participating in riots and violent protests is illegal. To do that, various forms of propaganda and education, such as cultural festivals, civil discussions and forums, or education sessions for workers, etc. should be combined together. These activities must focus on raising the awareness of local labor force about the State’s authority, businesses’ responsibility, citizens’ basic rights and obligation, etc., thus enhancing workers’ vigilance against adversary forces’ sabotaging plots and strengthening the unity among employees and the tie between workers and enterprises.

At the same time, labor unions must actively seek to further understand the mentality of local population and labor forces; regularly work with local authorities to monitor the situation in their region to counter and prevent sabotaging acts such as rallying violent protests, using online platform to spread fake news and distorted information, etc. Besides, management board of industrial areas should select capable cadres and workers to form propaganda teams, with the assistance of local authorities, dispatching them to communities to implement the public relations work, listen to the people’s opinion and propose solutions to impending issues in a timely manner. Simultaneously, illegal activities which potentially incite unrest must be exposed and addressed quickly to ensure local stability and public order.

Second, emphasize on building strong civil defense forces in industrial areas, strengthening onsite public order maintenance. In reality, besides a certain number of spontaneous protests in industrial areas by local workers due to their limited awareness and crowd effect, in many cases, there were groups of people took advantage of the situation to commit criminal activities such as burglary or destruction of businesses’ property, destabilizing local public order and undermine the country’s prestige. Therefore, building strong civil defense contingents in industrial areas is also an important and impending task. Accordingly, Party building work in enterprises, especially FDI companies, must be further enhanced to empower Party leadership over these businesses in general and push ahead the building of onsite civil defense in particular. To do this, local military commands, especially those at communal and district levels, must actively implement plans to enhance and strengthen civil defense contingents in industrial zones, this work must be done according to the Law on the Militia - Self Defense Force to ensure appropriate structural organization and high political trustworthiness of these units. At the same time, military training and political education programs for civil defense forces must be regularly conducted in accordance to pre-determined plan to ensure their capability in dealing with riots and violent protests if necessary. Training contents for self defense contingents must be comprehensive, focusing on raising political consciousness, law abiding spirit, and understanding about the role and responsibility of the armed forces, defense - economic policy of the Party and adversary forces’ sabotaging stratagem and plots in the new situation. Also, training programs for self-defense contingents must focus on lethal and non-lethal weapon proficiency, patrol and target protection skills, hostage rescue, anti-riot operation, etc. At the same time, military commands must actively work with local authorities and onsite contingents to develop defense plan for industrial zones and conduct communal and district-level defense drills to ensure political stability and public order for socio-economic development activities in the region.

Third, reform business management mechanism and ensure effective implementation for social welfare of workers in industrial areas, and simultaneously increase public relations activities for higher public safety. Obsolete business management, which is no longer appropriate to the development of labor force in the new situation, is a major reason that led to violent protests and riots in industrial areas. Therefore, the work of reforming the working mechanisms of businesses that are located in industrial areas is an impending and objective task. The main purpose of the reform is making necessary adjustment in the interrelationship between enterprises and their workers. This reform must seek to provide appropriate benefits for both businesses and the workforce. Accordingly, companies must improve their management mechanism to enhance worker’s creativity and devotion, focusing on working condition, social security, healthcare, pay rate, etc. On the other hand, enterprises must also make changes in their policies regarding land clearance and compensation, and commit themselves to creating more job opportunities for local population; by doing so, local people have chance to earn their living, thus becoming more responsible for building and protecting those businesses.

In addition, while seeking for profit, enterprises attach significance to the goal of sustainable economic development and strictly follow environmental regulations. Furthermore, industrial areas’ management boards must effectively implement public relations activities, assisting local population in improving their living standard and realizing preferential treatment policies. By doing so, the relationship between businesses and local workers, cadres and people will be enhanced, creating “fortress of people’s will” in the industrial areas, which is a critical factor in effectively preventing and countering violent protests and riots.

Senior Colonel Vuong Van Yen, MA, Head of the Committee for History Summarization, the General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army

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