HA NOI — A touching television programme last night raised people’s awareness of the role and strategic position of Viet Nam’s sea and islands as well as praised people’s pride and love of the nation’s sovereignty over the Truong Sa (Spratly) and Hoang Sa (Paracell) archipelagos.
The bridge linked Bien Dong Park in Da Nang and Ly Son Island District, and was broadcast live on VTV1 and Youtube, and then re-broadcast on VTV4, VTV6 and VTV Da Nang.
The show gathered various artists from the National Symphony Orchestra, Japanese director Honna Tetsuji, Sol Art children’s choir, violinist Bui Cong Duy, and noted singers Uyen Linh, Pham Thu Ha and Dinh Huong.
Beside live reports from the area near China’s illegal Haiyang 981 oil rig – which is operating illegally on Viet Nam’s special economic zone and continental shelf – the show also included interviews with fishermen who spend days at sea trying to make a living.
“Our life has always been connected to the sea. We learned how to fish from our ancestors, and will hand the career job down to the next generations,” said Duong Quynh, whose family has lived and fished off Ly Son Island for 20 generations.
Elderly Nguyen Thi Duong cried as her son returned home following a fishing trip that he set off for in early May. Many Vietnamese fishermen have been beaten and robbed by Chinese people, and she is more concerned about his safe concern rather than a good catch.
The show also looked at various historical evidence proving Viet Nam’s sovereigty over the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa islands displayed at Da Nang Museum including a Sovereigty Mark set by King Gia Long in 1816 to confirm the Nguyen dynasty’s reign over the Hoang Sa Islands, a Chinese atlas published in 1933 showing that China’s southernmost territory ends at Hainan Island and various photos featuring Vietnamese people living on the Hoang Sa Islands.
Tran Quan Bao, who at five years old accompanied his father to Hoang Sa where he was appointed as chief of the Hoang Sa Wireless Telegraphy Station in 1938, recalled that when his family arrived at the islands, they were received by many people.
“I remember two tall antennas on the island were about 20m high,” he said. “Concrete roads crossed the island and met in the centre. There were around 10 houses and the largest were for French army officers who were in charge of managing the weather station and wireless telegraphy.”
Tran Hoa, who worked on Hoang Sa as a nurse between October and December 1973, was impressed with the beauty of the islands.
“When I was there, there weren’t any strong buildings,” he said.
“I remember losing myself in the colour of the deep blue water surrounding a striking yellow sand island. When I walked into the water, I could see a range of various corals and lots of big fish. Sometimes we caught big squid stuck on the coral when the tide went out in early morning.”
Hoa also recalled a memory of a big storm on the island. His team of 35 people saved and took care of a Chinese fishing family, who took a shelter on the island during the fierce storm.
“We treated them well when we were on the island, but now they have taken our home away from us and attack our boats with water cannons. I cannot believe my eyes,” he said.
The show covered live reports near China’s illegal placement of its Haiyang 981 oil rig and talks with coast guards, fisheries officers and reporters, who patiently cope with water cannon attacks and the danger of being sunk by Chinese ships every day.
Nguyen Hoang Sa, who was born two months after his father was killed on Hoang Sa during a Chinese attack on January 19, 1974, noted that he was proud of his name and his father’s falling.
“My mother named me after the islands to remind me forever of my father’s courage and confirm that Hoang Sa belongs to Viet Nam,” he said. “The future generations will fight to take back those islands.”
The show also featured the handing over of surveillance cameras and fresh-water filters to the Coast Guard and Fisheries Surveillance ships.