Hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese fled their country after the Communist victory over the US-backed forces of South Vietnam in 1975. Now, the Hanoi government is trying to lure some of the diaspora back to the country to help it modernize, reported the BBC. Nearly 1,000 Vietnamese attended a three-day conference in Hanoi’s outskirts—the first meeting of Vietnam’s diaspora to be held inside the country. It was hailed by Vietnam’s official media as a “major step towards national unity”. The purpose of the Viet kieu meeting, (“Viet Kieu” meaning Vietnamese living abroad) according to a chief organizer, said, “This is an opportunity for [the Viet Kieu] to see and to understand what has been happening inside the country.” But there is criticism that the conference has “missed the point”, as all the delegates are seen as pro-regime and cannot represent the whole diaspora. Vietnamese experts living overseas are being urged to come back to teach and contribute their skills to the country. In 2004, the Vietnamese government began a series of legal changes to give the Viet kieu rights to re-claim their Vietnamese citizenship and even to own property in Vietnam. But for some, economic incentives are not enough for them to consider coming back to Vietnam.
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