Land policy::Ngo Dinh Diem


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Land policy During the 1946–54 war against the French Union forces, the Việt Minh, having gained control of parts of southern Vietnam, initiated land reform. During the period of war, rent collection, which hovered at around 50–70%, was impossible in some parts of the country, or the Việt Minh had compelled landlords to seek safety in the city and confiscated their land, distributing it to the peasants. When Diệm came to power, he reversed these re-allocations as upper-class landowners were part of his ideological support base. In the Mekong Delta, 0.025% of landowners owned 40% of the land; most of the land was owned by absentee landlords and worked by tenant farmers. This generated resentment among the populace, as land ownership was highly valued by Vietnamese society. Diệm declared that landlords could collect no more than 25%, but this was not enforced and in some cases the rent levels were higher than those under French colonisation. Under U.S. pressure, in 1956, he limited individual land holdings to 1.15 km², and reimbursed the landlords for the excess, which he sold to peasants. Many landlords evaded the redistribution by transferring the property to the name of family members. Additionally, the ceiling limit was more than 30 times that allowed in South Korea and Taiwan, and the {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} of the Catholic Church's landownings in Vietnam were exempted. As a result, only 13% of the South Vietnam's land was redistributed, and by the end of his regime, only 10% of the tenants had received any land, at a high cost. This policy failure generated anger, and in turn sympathy to the Việt Minh who had given the peasants free land. At the end of Diệm's rule, 10% of the population owned 55% of the land.<ref>Jacobs, pp. 93–96</ref>

Believing the central highlands were of strategic importance to the Việt Cộng or subject to a potential invasion by North Vietnam, Diệm decided to construct a Maginot Line of settlements. The area, inhabited by Montagnard indigenous people, had been largely allowed local autonomy in previous times, and the locals distrusted ethnic Vietnamese. Diệm initiated a program of internal migration where 210,000 Vietnamese, mainly Catholics, were moved to Montagnard land in fortified settlements.<ref>Jacobs, pp. 90–92.</ref> When the Montagnards protested, Diệm's forces confiscated their spears and bows, which they used to hunt for daily sustenance.<ref>Langguth, pp. 184–85</ref> Since then Vietnam has faced Montagnard insurgent separatist movements.<ref name="FEER">Far Eastern Economic Review, 1991</ref>

Ngo Dinh Diem sections
Intro  Family and childhood  Early career  Exile  Consolidation of power  Establishment of the Republic of Vietnam  Presidency  Assassination attempts  Land policy  Government policy towards Buddhists  Buddhist crisis  Coup and assassination  Aftermath  Honors  See also  References  Sources  Further reading  External links  

Land policy
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