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Norms and Practices in Contemporary Rural Vietnam

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Christian Culas
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Văn Sửu Nguyễn

Chapter 2. Agricultural Land Claims in the Red River Delta during Decollectivization

Nguyen Van Suu

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Introduction

  • 135 For example, a reader on the anthropology of politics edited by Joan Vincent considers his work as (...)
  • 136 F. G. Bailey, Stratagems and Spoils: A Social Anthropology of Politics. Boulder, Colo: Westview Pre (...)

1In the 1960s, in the field of political anthropology, after the structural-functional analysis, in addition to the process approach that focuses on the processual dimension of politics, the game theory was introduced into political anthropology, and it soon became a classic approach for analyzing politics from an anthropological perspective.135 The game theory has been well developed in Stratagems and Spoils by Bailey.136 It seeks to discover the normative and pragmatic rules of political manipulation. It views politics as a game composed of teams competing for prizes.

2As the author of the book stated, understanding what people do, what they think and why they think and act that way helps us to better understand what goes on in societies. Like Claude Levi-Strauss, Bailey goes under the particulars to find out the common rules across societies. He assumes that (1) ‘the world has a discoverable order in it’ and (2) ‘knowledge of that order is made up of propositions which have been tested by experience’. In Stratagems and Spoils, he emphasizes the distinction between normative and pragmatic rules (norms), with the latter being capable of causing structural (normative rules) change.

  • 137 Jean-Pierre Olivier de Sardan, “Researching the Practical Norms of Real Governance in Africa”. The (...)

3This theoretical approach influenced Jean-Pierre Olivier de Sardan in a study about the practical norms of real governance in Africa, in which he strongly calls for in-depth empirical studies to better understand the diversity and complexity underneath our ‘vague’ understanding of the differences between official norms and practical norms in everyday social interaction.137

4In regard to Vietnam, research literature has highlighted the divergence between norms and the everyday practices in various sectors of Vietnamese society and culture. For example, researchers have observed that, similar to China:

  • 138 Steffanie Scott, Fiona Miller and Kaste Lloyd, “Doing Fieldwork in Development Geography: Research (...)

[the] division between rules, on the one hand, and practices, on the other, is perhaps more cemented in Vietnam, where there is a legacy of unpopular policies combined with Confucian heritage that deters question of authority. Until recently, research by Vietnamese scholars generally sought to affirm policy decisions or document success stories, such as the mechanization of agriculture in a model commune in the Red River Delta. People were reluctant to talk about everyday practices that may run encounter to given policies or social norms. Of course, everyone knew that disputed practices existed, but to openly acknowledge these strategies of resistance and their incongruity with officials discourses or norms was generally not viewed as appropriate in general, and certainly not as an appropriate topic for research.”138

  • 139 I use the term ‘villagers’ in addition to ‘farmers’ because in many claims the participants are not (...)

5In this chapter, I adapt the game approach to examine the differences and conformities between formal legal laws and under-law regulations of the party-state institutions and the real practices of the Red river delta villagers139 on the holding and use of agricultural land. More specifically, this chapter emphasizes official norms, in this case the study of agricultural land claims regarded as formal legal laws and under-law regulations of the party-state institutions. Furthermore, it examines how and why the practices of agricultural land claims of villagers from the Red River Delta contradict with such official norms over the holding of use rights on certain areas or plots of agricultural land during the 1980s-1990s agricultural decollectivization period. Endorsing the arguments made in the available literature on this topic, the chapter postulates that there is a major gap between official norms and villagers’ practices in Vietnam’s rural areas. It also highlights the space for the villagers to move around what the party-state wants to do (through its policy) and the people’s struggle to pursue their everyday needs and desires. In this chapter, I also discuss the importance of land property rights and indicate how the everyday practices of land holdings and land use have influenced the official norms of the party-state over the question of ownership, management and use of agricultural land in contemporary Vietnam.

6Data used in this chapter has been accumulated over the past 10 years of my research. In addition to the research literature and mass media materials relevant to the theme of the chapter, the majority of local archive data was collected in 2002 in a number of party-state offices at district and provincial levels of Bắc Ninh and Bắc Giang provinces. The fieldwork made in villages, which is not limited to the two case studies described in the sections below, was also conducted in 2002, with the use of participation observation and semi-structural interviews. In the following pages, given the sensitivity of the issue, for some documents I only mention their main contents instead of presenting their full names and sources.

I-State Laws and Regulations about Claims to Land in Contemporary Vietnam

  • 140 For an analysis and discussion about land tenure and land tenure changes in Vietnam prior to the 19 (...)
  • 141 Trần Phương (chủ biên) 1968. Cách mạng ruộng đất ở Việt Nam. Hà Nội: NXB. Khoa học Xã hội; Edwin Mo (...)
  • 142 Chử Văn Lâm, Nguyễn Thái Nguyên, Phùng Hữu Phú, Hợp tác hóa nông nghiệp Việt Nam: Lịch sử vấn đề (...)

7In the 20th century, land tenure structure and relations in Vietnam have experienced fundamental changes. In the 1950s,140 at the onset of the final Điện Biên Phủ battle for the country’s independence, party-state authorities carried out a radical land reform so as to, alongside other aims, redistribute the land of rich peasants and landlords to poor ones, and to deconstruct the feudal and colonial foundations for building a new society.141 Shortly after, however, the party-state began collectivization programmes in the North, which had gradually gathered most of the agricultural land and other means of production of small peasant households into cooperatives for collective production.142 In the South, from 1954 to 1975, meanwhile, the Republic of Vietnam Administration and National Liberation Front also carried out land reforms, with different aims, in their occupied rural areas. After the war, Vietnam reunified and this also marked the introduction of agricultural collectivization programmes in the South.

  • 143 Chử Văn Lâm, Nguyễn Thái Nguyên, Phùng Hữu Phú, Hợp tác hóa nông nghiệp Việt Nam: Lịch sử vấn đề (...)
  • 144 The legal system includes, but is not limited to, the constitution, land laws, regulations, etc., t (...)

8Since the early 1980s, after 30 years of agricultural collectivization, Vietnam started to reform the agricultural sector, then other economic sectors. This process of decollectivization proceeded for a decade,143 which has not only shaped a new land tenure regime but also involved the evolution of a legal system governing land ownership, management and land use in Vietnam.144

9In this section, I focus on some key points about this new land tenure regime. Firstly, the state’s has proclaimed the division of three key rights to land, which are held by different entities: ownership rights (quyền sở hữu) which belong to the entire people, controlling rights (quyền quản lý) belonging to the state, and use rights (quyền sử dụng) allocated to individuals, family households and organizations for a certain period of time. Among these three vital kinds of rights to agricultural land, what the villagers can hold is the right to use the land for a certain period of time.

  • 145 In contrast to Vietnam and China, which carried out land distribution or allocation to decollectivi (...)

10Secondly, the state legal system has ensured the ownership of ‘the entire people’, represented by the socialist state. This means the party-state does not accept private land ownership in Vietnam. This results in a further essential issue: the party-state prevents all individuals and organizations from claiming their ‘old land’ in any way. In other words, in contrast to agricultural decollectivization in Eastern European socialist countries,145 Vietnam’s party-state does not accept any claims to redeem old land. This means that the process of agricultural decollectivization in Vietnam is a process of distributing collective land among local villagers, not a process of land restitution. But did the villagers agree with and conform to such norms and the broad agenda of the party-state about decollectivization? If not, what did they do?

II-The Practices of Villagers’Claims to Land since the Decollectivization Period: The Case of Red River Delta Villages

  • 146 For a detailed analysis and exlaination of of this, see Nguyễn Văn Sửu “Về sở hữu, sử dụng và sai p (...)

11Several publications of mine have illuminated the two layers of land ownership in Vietnam’s contemporary land tenure system: the ultimate ownership of the entire people and the practical level of ownership of various holders, which I argue, is equivalent to the land use rights stated in state land laws.146 In my view, the various claims to agricultural land since the decollectivization period are the villagers’ claims to use rights on certain areas or plots of agricultural land.

  • 147 Tạ Thị Thuý, Đồn điền của người Pháp ở Bắc Kỳ 1884–1914. Hà Nội: NXB, 1996. Thế giới; and Việc nhượ (...)
  • 148 Ben Kerkvliet, “Claiming the Land: Take-overs by Villagers in the Philippines with Comparisons to I (...)
  • 149 Steffanie Scott, “Changing Rules of the Game: Local Responses to Decollecivization in Thai Nguyen, (...)
  • 150 Vũ Đình Lợi, Bùi Minh Đạo, Vũ Thị Hồng, Sở hữu và sử dụng đất đai ở các tỉnh Tây Nguyên. Hà Nội: NX (...)

12In the Vietnamese context, the question of land claim has been analysed in various studies on different cases in various locations at different times. For example, Tạ Thị Thúy documented Vietnamese farmers’ claim to land during the colonial period,147 Kerkvliet analysed land claims in Vietnam and compared them to other countries through the perspective of everyday politics and everyday forms of peasant resistance.148 Others have examined land claims between the Kinh (Việt ethnic group) and other ethnic groups in northern villages, which as the authors argue, resulted in the loss of land of the Kinh during the decollectivization period.149 Meanwhile, other researchers have dealt with land claims and conflicts in the Highlands, the consequence of which is the loss of rights to land use among native ethnic groups, in contrast to the situation in Northern villages.150

  • 151 Bộ Chính trị 1988. “Chỉ thị số 47–CT/TW về việc giải quyết một số vấn đề cấp bách về ruộng đất”. Đồ (...)
  • 152 For a short overview of land appropriation for non-agricultural purposes in Vietnam since the renov (...)

13In this section, I have limited my analysis to land claims in the Red River Delta during the process of agricultural decollectivization, which in many cases has its roots in the collectivization period. My synthesis of research literature and my ethnographic data show five broad forms of villagers’ claims to land use rights since the 1980s throughout the country. The process of agricultural decollectivization often encountered (1) claims to land use rights on old land territory; (2) claims to old agricultural land; (3) claims to old worshipping land.151 Since the early 1990s, under the 1993-revised version of Land Law, the use rights of communal land (đất công ích) have been moved from being managed by the village to be being managed by the commune. Villagers’ claims in many cases also relate to (4) this land and its output. As the pace of industrialization and urbanization increase, state authorities annually seize a large area of land, especially agricultural land, for non-agricultural purposes. Claims from rural (and urban) inhabitants have become widespread throughout the country over (5) the level of reasonable compensation for their land use rights.152

  • 153 The two case studies presented in the following pages administratively belong to the current distri (...)
  • 154 Hà Bắc was one of the former Red river Delta and Northern provinces, established in 1962 by merging (...)
  • 155 One of Hà Bắc’s district was Tiên Sơn, which in 1963 was set up by emerging two former districts of (...)

14In the following pages, due to the limited number of words, I shall focus my analysis and discussion on one of these five types of land claims: claims to agricultural land during agricultural decollectivization in Red River Delta villages, especially those in that are now in Bắc Ninh province and Tiên Du district (see the map)153 and formerly belonged to Hà Bắc province154 and Tiên Sơn district.155

  • 156 I have not seen any document offering figures about this. This action on the part of local cooperat (...)

15In the process of agricultural decollectivization, the most widespread claim to land occurred in the form of villagers collectively requesting the return of old agricultural land use rights in their village, which had been taken away for another village to use. To understand why this had occurred, we need to look back on the agricultural collectivization period in Northern Vietnam, just a few years after low-scale cooperatives (hợp tác xã bậc thấp) within the village were set up. Since the early 1960s, many of these low-scale cooperatives had been merged to form larger ones to build high-scale cooperatives, which often included several villages, called inter-village-based cooperatives (hợp tác xã liên thôn), and even some involving the whole commune, named commune-based cooperatives (hợp tác xã toàn xã). As a result, after the unification, per capita agricultural land in a number of cases greatly differed from one group of cooperative members to another. To eliminate this large disparity, or in other words, to balance agricultural land per capita among cooperative members of the large-scale cooperatives, cooperative cadres in many cases reallocated fields within the new production structure.156 Consequently, by joining in the large-scale cooperative, a number of villagers, or the village as a whole, lost part of their agricultural land, while others gained some.

  • 157 See Tổng cục Quản lý Ruộng đất, "Báo cáo về tranh chấp đất đai." Ha Noi, 1992.

16Thus, during the agricultural decollectivization process, claims to retrieve appropriated land were made in many locales. On a national level, such claims occurred both individually and collectively, and varied from region to region. In the southern half of the country, individual villagers frequently demanded the return of their old agricultural land use rights that had been removed from them for other villagers to use in the years following the 1975 reunification of Northern and Southern Vietnam. In contrast, in the northern half, groups of villagers who often belonged to one village collectively asked for the return of their old village agricultural land that had been allocated to another group in a large-scale cooperative that belonged to another village. In 1992, a report prepared by the Bureau of Land Management (Tổng cục Quản lý Ruộng đất) revealed nearly 1,000 cases of this later pattern of agricultural land use rights claim, which often occurred in a collective, organized, and critical manner with a large number of participants.157

  • 158 BCĐ cấp CGN và LSBT 1992. "Thông báo kết quả thực hiện kế hoạch giao ruộng ổn định lâu dài, cấp GCN (...)
  • 159 Sở Địa chính Hà Bắc 1995. "Tình hình thực tế, các giải pháp và kiến nghị nhằm thực hiện tốt công tá (...)
  • 160 Tổ công tác 1988. "Báo cáo tình hình tranh chấp ruộng đất của một số HTX nông nghiệp thuộc huyện Ti (...)

17In Hà Bắc province, villagers’claims to land use rights were diverse, and related to different kinds of land, but the most dominant was associated with claims to the use rights on old agricultural land. Over the course of a single year, in 1992, there were 40 cases of such claims, among which 36 had been solved by 1992.158 Later, 30 more cases occurred throughout the province.159 In Tiên Sơn district, by 1988, the district contained 40 cooperatives in total, including 18 commune-based cooperatives, and 22 other inter-village ones. Collective claims to old agricultural land use rights in their village, which finally led to agricultural land use rights disputes between the claimants and defenders, occurred in 11 cooperatives, comprising ten commune-based cooperatives and one inter-village-based one.160

  • 161 BCHTW 1988. "Chỉ thị về việc giải quyết một số vấn đề cấp bách về ruộng đất."
  • 162 UBND tỉnh Hà Bắc 1992. "Chỉ thị v/v tăng cường công tác quản lý và giải quyết các vụ tranh chấp về (...)
  • 163 UBND huyện Tiên Sơn 1988. "Chỉ thị về việc giải quyết tranh chấp ruộng đất giữa các đội sản xuất tr (...)

18In response to villagers’ claims regarding their old agricultural land use rights, together with other types of land use rights claims, national state agencies,161 provincial offices,162 and district authorities,163 issued directives for resolving the problem. A basic view that ran through these directives emphasized what I have highlighted above, that all land belongs to the entire people, is managed by the state, and is used by the people. In one sense, this means that it is illegal for the villagers to reclaim land use rights which the state authorities think the villagers do not hold at the time when they reclaimed them. In the case of Tiên Sơn, the District Party Organization clarified the situation by directing:

  • 164 UBND huyện Tiên Sơn 1988. "Chỉ thị về việc giải quyết tranh chấp ruộng đất giữa các đội sản xuất tr (...)
  • 165 TU Hà Bắc 1989. "Báo cáo sơ kết thực hiện Nghị quyết 10 của Bộ Chính trị về đổi mới quản lý kinh tế (...)

[Any] unit or individual that uses the name of a production brigade, hamlet, or village to reclaim old [agricultural] land [use rights] which belong to the cooperative’s holdings is illegal. […] Anyone who purposefully disputes [agricultural] land [use rights], violates the Land Law, will be seriously punished by the Commune’s People’s Committee and other offices of the district in accordance to current state laws.164
From the point of view of the party-state, most of the agricultural land use rights of the cooperatives had to retain the same status and area (
giữ nguyên hiện trạng) as the land area each village farmed at the time of use rights distribution and redistribution. Agricultural land use rights could only be considered for subdivision among villages, or between villages, in the case of reorganization of large-scale cooperatives (tổ chức lại hợp tác xã) into smaller ones. Such a reorganization of cooperatives, however, could only be done in cases where a large-scale cooperative had over 800 hectares of agricultural land, long-term weak management, had many times tried to maintain the large-scale cooperative without positive change, and the majority of its cadres, party members, as well as cooperative members, thought it necessary to reorganize. Villagers’ claims regarding old agricultural land use rights could also be considered in cases in which the per capita agricultural land among villages of the large-scale cooperative is seriously imbalanced. In both circumstances, the District People’s Committee has to democratically discuss with the commune authorities and cooperative members whether to divide land use rights, or to return the agricultural land use rights to their former holders.165

  • 166 HU Tiên Sơn 1993. "Dự thảo báo cáo tình hình nông nghiệp Tiên Sơn sau những năm đổi mới, chủ trương (...)

19From the perspective of many villagers, however, a village’s agricultural land use rights should be used for and by its villagers. To many of them, the rationale of per capita agricultural land should be based only on the land use rights that their village holds, not compared to others! In other words, how much agricultural land use rights one could attain for farming depends on the area of agricultural land of the village to which one belongs. The taking of one village’s land use rights for another to use is, therefore, not reasonable and unacceptable. As a result, a number of villagers started demanding the return of their former agricultural land use rights. Describing the situation in Tiên Sơn, the District Party Organization pointed out that villagers’ claims for their old agricultural land use rights happened “sometimes quietly (ngấm ngầm), sometimes publicly, fiercely and heatedly (công khai, quyết liệt và nóng bỏng), mainly in the years from 1989 to 1991”.166 In some villages, the villagers even reclaimed their old agricultural land use rights shortly after they had been taken, i.e. years before the distribution of agricultural land use rights in 1988. However, in the context of high collectivization at the time, their claims attracted no positive feedback.

20With such perceptions, people in a number of villages made their own way through the state land tenure policy and its views on the resolution of agricultural land use rights claims to propose the reorganization of large-scale cooperatives into the former ones, which often coincided with the village territory, as a strategy to successfully reclaim old agricultural land use rights. In so doing, they could satisfy two desires at the same time: to reorganize the cooperative on the basis of village territory, and to retrieve their village’s old agricultural land use rights. In any case where a large-scale cooperative is subdivided into smaller ones, the agricultural land use rights and other forms of collective property must also be divided. The most reasonable division of agricultural land use rights, in the view of most claimants, was to return agricultural land use rights to its former village, as they were prior to the development of high-scale cooperatives.

  • 167 TU Hà Bắc 1989. "Báo cáo sơ kết thực hiện Nghị quyết 10 của Bộ Chính trị về đổi mới quản lý kinh tế (...)
  • 168 TU Hà Bắc 1992. "Thông báo kết quả thực hiện kết luận của tỉnh ủy về đổi mới hoàn thiện cơ chế quản (...)

21Such collectives determined, and even prolonged, villagers’ struggles for the return of old agricultural land use rights, either directly or through cooperative separation, which has succeeded in many cases. As a result, a number of high-scale cooperatives were separated into smaller ones, often based on the village territory. As a result, the number of cooperatives increased during the few years of agricultural land use rights distribution and redistribution. At the provincial level, in 1987, Hà Bắc’s agricultural cooperatives numbered 856, however, this increased to 902 in 1988, 940 in 1989, and over 1,000 in 1993. Within two years, from 1987 to 1988, 75 new cooperatives had been newly established due to cases of subdivision.167 In the following years, in 1992-1993, when agricultural land use rights continued to be redistributed among villagers for longer terms of use, villagers’ claims to old agricultural land use rights and demands to split high-scale cooperatives into smaller ones continued in some places.168

  • 169 The commune and village have the same name.
  • 170 Mẫu, sào and thước are traditional units of land measure in Vietnam with different meanings in diff (...)

22At the level of Tiên Sơn district, villagers in a number of villages also succeeded in reclaiming their former areas of agricultural land for their villages. The clearest examples include the cases of Phật Tích and Tri Phương communesized cooperatives (currently belonging to Tiên Du district). In Phật Tích, the commune-based cooperative was created in 1976 by merging two village-sized ones: Phật Tích and Cổ Phú.169 Prior to their integration, the Phật Tích villagesized cooperative had 220 mẫu and eight sào of farmland (đất canh tác), equal to 79,392 square metres.170 After the 1976 merger, however, commune-based cooperative cadres took 31,296 square metres of farmland from Phật Tích village, which amounted to 39.4 per cent of its total farmland area, for villagers of former Cổ Phú village-based cooperative to use in order to balance the agricultural land per capita. This soon created reactions from villagers of the former Phật Tích village-based cooperative. From 1982 they publicly started demanding the commune-based cooperative be re-divided into the former village-based ones, and reclaiming the 31,296 square metres of farmland that had been taken.

  • 171 Tổ công tác 1988. "Báo cáo tình hình tranh chấp ruộng đất của một số HTX nông nghiệp thuộc huyện Ti (...)

23The claim to divide the cooperative and to redeem lost farmland continued from 1982 to 1988, under the leadership of the Phật Tích village party cell. During the years from 1984 to 1988, the village party cell met nine times (họp chín kỳ) to discuss their claims, making six resolutions (nghị quyết) to propose (đề nghị) to commune authorities and commune-based cooperative cadres that the cooperative be separated and that Phật Tích’s farmland use rights be returned. The cooperative cadres, as well as commune and higher authorities, however, did not agree with the request from the Phật Tích party cell. Thus, in May 1988, Phật Tích villagers moved so that they may occupy their old area of farmland, and allocated farmland use rights among them for rice cultivation. By July 1988, the Commune Party Organization and People’s Committee, “with the assistance of the district,” tried to help Cổ Phú villagers to reoccupy that area of farmland, but were unsuccessful, because Phật Tích villagers reacted strongly (phản ứng quyết liệt).171

24A similar case took place regarding the Tri Phương commune-based cooperative that had been formed from two village-based cooperatives: Nghĩa Dũng and Dũng Vi, in 1976. After the unification, 89 mẫu, one sào, and five thước of farmland (320,880 square metres) of the former Dũng Vi village-based cooperative were taken for the cooperative members from the former Nghĩa Dũng village-based cooperative. The main aim of this was also to reduce the disparity in per capita agricultural land among members of the commune-based cooperative. From 1985, however, members of former Dũng Vi village-based cooperative started requesting a division of the commune-based cooperative into the former village-based ones so as to retrieve their old area of 320,880 square metres of farmland to which they had use rights.

  • 172 Tổ công tác 1988. "Báo cáo tình hình tranh chấp ruộng đất của một số HTX nông nghiệp thuộc huyện Ti (...)

25In March 1988, shortly before the distribution of agricultural land use rights, Dũng Vi villagers again demanded the return of their taken farmland use rights. When this was not approved by the authorities, they asked to exchange 25 mẫu and seven sào of river-bank land use rights (đất bãi), which could neither be used for a full year nor for rice cultivation, for 27 mẫu and five sào of inside-the-dyke farmland use rights (đất đồng) that could be used for rice farming. This would mean that the Dũng Vi villagers would farm 27 mẫu and five sào đất đồng that Nghĩa Dũng villagers were farming, and vice versa. While the cooperative cadres and commune authorities were still considering their request, Dũng Vi villagers moved to occupy this area of farmland and allocated its use rights among themselves for rice farming. To resolve this action, the Commune Party Organization and People’s Committee issued a decision to confiscate “the disputed farmland” and allocate its use rights equally to 12 production brigades of the commune-based cooperative for farming. However, the outcome was not positive because Dũng Vi villagers reacted strongly when the plan was being implemented.172

III-Consequences: Local Conflicts

  • 173 W. Klatt, “Agrarian Issues in Asia: I. Land as a Source of Conflict”. International Affairs, Vol. 4 (...)
  • 174 Also see my other study: Nguyen Van Suu, “The Polictics of Land: Inequality in Land Access and Loca (...)
  • 175 James C. Scott and Ben Kerkvliet, Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance in Southeast Asia. London: F (...)
  • 176 Kevin J. O'Brien, "Rightful Resistance." World Politics 41, No. 1 (1996), pp. 31-55; Liangjian Li L (...)

26As Klatt broadly observed, land has often been the cause of conflict.173 Villagers’ claims to agricultural land in the Red River Delta is one of the key factors that created local conflicts during the process of agricultural decollectivization.174 A key feature of such conflicts over land is public resistance between parties, which may be one group of villagers and another (i.e. among villagers) or, more frequently, a group of villagers and a certain local cadre, group of local cadres, officials, or state programmes in relation to land resources (i.e. between villagers and the state). This form of public resistance differs from the well-known form of everyday struggle of the poor, weak, and marginalized people against the rich, powerful elites and the state in a specific social context.175 Furthermore, it cannot be assimilated to the “popular” and “rightful resistance” of contemporary Chinese villagers that O’Brien and Li have highlighted in several studies.176

27Public resistance, in these cases, ranges from peaceful reactions like gossip, debate and questioning to blunt and confrontational reactions. It has occurred within and outside local communities where protesting villagers reside and have conformed to official norms but have also moved beyond the boundaries of official norms. Generally speaking, public resistance first occurs at the local level in the form of gossip, debate, questioning, and negotiation through official norms in order to meet demands and desires. When these are not met or treated in a way which satisfies the protesting villagers, they then proceed towards higher levels of the party-state to seek resolution, investigation, and explanation. In this arena, if problems or queries are again not met or satisfied, the protesting villagers in some cases will then return to their village communities and continue to resist in blunt and confrontational ways and, of course, do not limit their resistance to official norms. Blunt and confrontational reactions might also occur during the period in which protesting villagers are seeking a settlement from the higher state, depending on the specific resolution of issues.

28In many cases, public resistance occurs in a collective form. It can therefore be organized and planned in terms of leadership and tactics of resistance such as who, what, how, where and when to resist. Like rightful resistance, state laws and policies, alongside traditional values, are also cited to endorse and strengthen public resistance.

  • 177 Ben Kerkvliet, "Village-State Relations in Vietnam: The Effects of Evereyday Politics on Decollecti (...)
  • 178 Also see Nguyen Van Suu, Contending views and Conflicts over Land in the Red River Delta since Deco (...)

29Like everyday popular and rightful forms of resistance, public resistance ultimately creates dynamics for change. In regards to the party-state, public resistance can affect the behaviour and conduct of state policy and policymaking at different levels, such as leading to a better regime of land management and use, as well as a more rational policy for land use rights compensation at a national level, eliminating bad local cadres and reducing their corruption or misbehaviour towards villagers in local communities. In his research, Kirkville demonstrates the great impact of ordinary people’s everyday political behaviour on the state’s process of agricultural collectivization in Vietnam.177 My research has also illustrated that villagers’ pressures in claiming their old land and the resulting conflicts have continued to force the state to revise Land laws over the past ten years. For example, the first Land Law passed in 1988 by the National Assembly has then been revised in 1993, 1998, 2001, 2003, and is currently in the process of being revised again.178

  • 179 According to a report made in 1993 by Hà Bắc People’s Committee on the situation of hot-spots in Hà (...)
  • 180 According to a report made in 1998 by Bắc Ninh Party Organisation on the situation and resolutions (...)
  • 181 According to a report made in 1998 by Bắc Ninh Party Organization on the situation and resolutions (...)

30In the broadest terms, conflicts have been identified by two key signals: villagers’ petitions and acts of denunciation in state offices, and their confrontational actions in their local communities. Regarding the first aspect of conflict, state authorities at different levels have noted a large number of villagers’ petitions and acts of denouncement related to land and local cadres since decollectivization. The villagers’ petitions and denunciations did not stop at the level of district authorities: in many cases they often moved further up to provincial authorities and even to the central organs of the party-state in Hanoi, because the villagers considered their complaints were not being handled properly by district authorities, or because authorities had failed to settle the underlying issues in a way that satisfied the petitioners and denouncers. A more critical aspect of conflict appears to be the villagers' confrontational actions that occur their local villages. Villagers’ reactions have in many cases led to tensions in communities, and the state has called them “complicated cases and hot spots”.179 In former Hà Bắc for example, from 1987 to 1997, 148 cases of conflict occurred. Among these, 83 were complex, and 27 cases became hot spots, including 7 cases in which the authorities had to use force to resolve the problem.180 In regards to the 83 complicated cases, 48 cases arose because of land use rights disputes (57.8%), 27 cases were due to local cadre corruption (32.53%), and the rest (9.67%) resulted from other problems.181 In short, conflicts over land stemmed from different reasons, and claim to land is one of them.

IV-Implications: The Importance of Property Rights

  • 182 Tổng cục Quản lý ruộng đất 1992. "Báo cáo về tranh chấp đất đai." Hà Nội, trang 5-6.

31To understand the rationale for villagers’ grievances over land use rights, the data that I have collected indicates a number of different perspectives. In a context where the party-state emphasized the entire people’s ownership over land and where villagers were prevented from reclaiming their old plots of agricultural land during the decollectivization process, a report prepared by the Bureau of Land Management shifted the blame to the state as a whole. It argued that, firstly, the state land tenure policy lacked agreement and clearness; secondly, the state authorities had been weak in the management of land; thirdly, local cadres had committed wrongdoings and abused their official positions for private gain in the process of governing agricultural land; and lastly, it alleged the ineffective resolution of land use rights claims by authorities resulting in conflicts with villagers.182

  • 183 UBND tỉnh Hà Bắc 1990. "Báo cáo kiểm điểm kết quả ba năm thi hành Luật Đất đai." Bắc Giang, trang 1 (...)
  • 184 HU Tiên Sơn 1993. "Dự thảo báo cáo tình hình nông nghiệp Tiên Sơn sau những năm đổi mới, chủ trương (...)

32Data from Hà Bắc and Tiên Sơn authorities gives a more detailed explanation. Provincial authorities argued that villagers’ claims to their old land use rights, which led the subsequent disputes, originated firstly within the local government, particularly the local cadres who had loosened their management (buông lỏng quản lý), and committed wrongdoings and were corrupt for private gain. This reduced the agricultural land area at a local level, and consequently created suspicion and adverse reactions among villagers. Secondly, they blamed the villagers, who, during the period of collectivization, were merely focused on the working points, and cared little about agricultural land use rights and working productivity. After decollectivization, however, villagers began to care very much about land use rights. In addition to these two points were the influences of extreme localism (tư tưởng cục bộ địa phương)–an notion that is deeply embedded in the minds of individual groups of villagers–the villagers’poor understanding of the state legal system (kém hiểu biết pháp luật), and the problem of opportunists and bad elements, like some ex-cadres who had been punished, or those whose moral decay and changed nature (thoái hóa biến chất) had incited (xúi giục) other villagers to claim old land use rights.183 The Tiên Sơn District Party Organization presented a further crucial factor: the villagers’ urgent need (bức xúc) of agricultural land use rights for farming. This increasing necessity stemmed from the fact that during the years of đổi mới, a number of state staff members and soldiers retired, and consequently the population in the countryside increased.184

  • 185 Pierre Gourou, The Peasants of the Tonkin Delta: A Study of Human Geography, New Haven, Human Relat (...)
  • 186 Katherine Verdery has argued that, for Romanian farmers, land is valued as a route towards politica (...)
  • 187 Lewis, Henry, Ilocano Rice Farmers: A Comparative Study of Two Philipine Barrios, Honolulu: Univers (...)

33These perspectives are reasonable but only partially explain the problem, and have not yet touched upon the root of the issue. My analysis critically shows the importance of property rights in agricultural land individually and in Vietnamese society at large, because in both traditional and modern times, many farmers still value agricultural lands as it is a means of production that provides them with their livelihood185 and a valuable form of property.186 Therefore, since time immemorial, many Vietnamese have considered tấc đất tấc vàng (a piece of land, a piece of gold). Moreover, the political and socio-economic values of land tend to increase when there are few alternative livelihood sources for farmers, like in the case of Filipino farmers that Lewis analysed.187

34This allows me to assume that the number one reason why the villagers’ claim their old agricultural land use rights is related to their perception about their rights to land or, more specifically, that they or their villages are entitled to land use rights that have been taken away from them. Many claimants often saw these rights as belonging to them or their village institutions. The use rights, thus, must be held, used by and for the inhabitants of the village to whom agricultural land use rights (as well as worshipping rights) originally belonged. In such a view, the taking of agricultural land use rights from a group of villagers, or from the village as a whole, to give to other parties and institutions to use without any prior form of compensation or agreement would provoke reactions from those who have lost their land rights.

35There are numerous reasons that add to villagers’ claims to their old agricultural land use rights, including those that different levels of party-state authorities have suggested. Particularly, since decollectivization, under the impact of the market economy, modernization, industrialization and urbanization, land use rights have become a valuable form of property because they can be exchanged just like other goods. Also, in the context of increasing demand for land use rights and decreased supply, values of land use rights have been increasing.

36All these perceptions and perspectives have participated in provoking villagers’ claims and consolidated the struggle to retrieve their old agricultural land use rights. Villagers’ claims to their old agricultural land use rights critically happened during the years of distribution and redistribution because this was a key point in time. In fact, the distribution and redistribution of agricultural land use rights to villagers for long-term use is a form of privatization of agricultural land use rights. After this privatization, nearly all agricultural land use rights in communities would no longer be held by the cooperative or the village as a whole, but by individual villagers or family households which are legally verified by a land use rights certificate from the state. Once the privatization of agricultural land use rights was completed and consolidated by legal land use rights certificates (giấy chứng nhận quyền sử dụng đất, or sổ đỏ), villagers’ claims to their old agricultural land use rights would have much less weight in terms of legal and moral grounds, thus making it difficult to justify.

Conclusion

37After 30 years of agricultural collectivization efforts, Vietnam’s party-state started to dismantle agricultural cooperatives by, among other methods, ‘privatizing’ collective land and other forms of collective property for the villagers’ use. In the process of land use rights privatization, or distribution/allocation as the Vietnamese authorities call it, the party-state critically emphasizes the ownership of the entire people’s land and the state’s rights to land management. Since, it has developed a legal system to ensure this in order to prevent various categories of people and institutions from making claims to retrieve old land or other land rights, both on an individual and collective basis over a certain area or plot of land.

38Despite determined actions as such as these, the practices of claims to agricultural land use rights during the process of decollectivization occurred in various parts of Vietnam, to the extent that it became a concern to the party-state. In these respective villages in the Red River Delta, agricultural land claims during this period involved lots of tension, negotiations and resistance among different parties. One of the consequences was the development of local conflicts, which in contrast to everyday forms of resistance, or rightful resistance, took the shape of public resistance. Such practices of land claims, and their resulting local conflicts, show what land property rights mean to villagers in the Red River Delta’s rural areas, both in their perception and everyday actions, collectively and individually.

  • 188 Janet C. Sturgeon and Thomas Sikor, “Post–Socialist Property in Asia and Europe: Variation on ‘Fuzz (...)
  • 189 For example, to understand how Vietnamese farmers transformed the party-state policies over the pro (...)

39This chapter also endorses what Verdery and others have argued about “fuzziness” in property relations in Vietnam and post-socialist countries.188 More importantly, though this has not been thoroughly discussed in previous sections, it endorses the arguments made in available literature on the power of the people over the state in the process of policy-making and policy implementation.189 Whether or not such practices of land claims contribute to reduce the gap between norms and practices is not yet clear. However, we clearly see how practices that contradict official norms of the party-state over the holding and use of land during the agricultural decollectivization process in respective Red River Delta villages and land claims in Vietnamese society at large do contribute to recreating or reproducing state laws and regulations in regard to land. Over the past 20 years, the party-state has taken such practices from the people into consideration in the process of revising land laws and many other regulations over the issues of land management, land use, and especially the holding of land use rights.

  • 190 In other pieces of research, I have examined other forms of land claims in the Red river delta, for (...)

40As this chapter shows only one of the five broad forms of land claims in Vietnam since the period of agricultural decollectivization, I would say that the examination of other forms of land claims will help us to have a more in-depth understanding of the variety empirical examples that show how, in what ways and to what extent the divergence between the party-state’s official norms and the practices of the people in different locations occur over how land in Vietnam should be owned, managed and used for and by whom, and for whose benefit, and how and in what ways these practices would cause official norms to change.190

Notes

135 For example, a reader on the anthropology of politics edited by Joan Vincent considers his work as one of the classic studies in the field (See Joan Vincent (ed.) The Anthropology of Politics: A Reader in Ethnography, Theory, and Critique. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2004.

136 F. G. Bailey, Stratagems and Spoils: A Social Anthropology of Politics. Boulder, Colo: Westview Press, 2001.

137 Jean-Pierre Olivier de Sardan, “Researching the Practical Norms of Real Governance in Africa”. The African Power and Politics Program: Discussion Paper No. 5, 2008.

138 Steffanie Scott, Fiona Miller and Kaste Lloyd, “Doing Fieldwork in Development Geography: Research Culture and Research Spaces in Vietnam”. Geographical Research, Vol. 44, No. 1 (2006), 28-40, p. 33.

139 I use the term ‘villagers’ in addition to ‘farmers’ because in many claims the participants are not ‘farmers’ alone, but also non-agricultural producers who reside in the village. The concept of villagers sometimes is also used in contrast to another categories of local population (‘local cadres’ for example, who reside in the village but work for the party-state and receive salary or phụ cấp from the state budget).

140 For an analysis and discussion about land tenure and land tenure changes in Vietnam prior to the 1950s, see Vũ Huy Phúc 1979. Tìm hiểu chế độ ruộng đất Việt Nam nửa đầu thế kỷ XIX. Hà Nội: NXB. Khoa học Xã hội; Trương Hữu Quýnh 1982, 1983. Chế độ ruộng đất ở Việt Nam thế kỷ XI-XVIII. Hà Nội: NXB. Khoa học Xã hội (2 vols); Trương Hữu Quýnh và Đỗ Bang (chủ biên) 1997. Tình hình ruộng đất và đời sống nông dân dưới triều Nguyễn. Huế: NXB. Thuận Hóa.

141 Trần Phương (chủ biên) 1968. Cách mạng ruộng đất ở Việt Nam. Hà Nội: NXB. Khoa học Xã hội; Edwin Moise, Land reform in China and North Vietnam: Consolidating the revolution at the village level. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1976; Edwin Moise, “Land Reform and Land Reform Errors in North Vietnam”. Pacific Affairs, Vol. 49, No. 1 (1976), pp. 70–92; Luong Van Hy, Revolution in the Village: Tradition and Transformation in North Vietnam, 1925–1988. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1992, pp. 189–192; S. K. Malarney, ‘Ritual and Revolution in Vietnam.’ PhD. diss., The University of Michigan, 1993; John Kleinen, Facing the Future, Reviving the Past: A Study of Social Change in a Northern Vietnamese Village. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1999; Lâm Quang Huyên, Vấn đề ruộng đất ở Việt Nam. Hà Nội: NXB. Khoa học Xã hội, 2002.

142 Chử Văn Lâm, Nguyễn Thái Nguyên, Phùng Hữu Phú, Hợp tác hóa nông nghiệp Việt Nam: Lịch sử vấn đề triển vọng. Hà Nội: Nxb. Sự Thật, 1992; Ben Kerkvliet, “Village-State Relations in Vietnam: The Effects of Everyday Politics on Decollectivization”. Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 54, Issue 2 (1995), pp. 396-418; and The Power of Everyday Politics: How Vietnamese Peasants Transformed National Policy. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2005.

143 Chử Văn Lâm, Nguyễn Thái Nguyên, Phùng Hữu Phú, Hợp tác hóa nông nghiệp Việt Nam: Lịch sử vấn đề triển vọng. Hà Nội: NXB, 1992. Sự Thật; Ben Kerkvliet, “Village-State Relations in Vietnam: The Effects of Everyday Politics on Decollectivization”. Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 54, Issue 2 (1995), pp. 396-418; and Trương Thị Tiến, Đổi mới cơ chế quản lý kinh tế nông nghiệp ở Việt Nam. Hà Nội: NXB, 1999. Chính trị Quốc gia.

144 The legal system includes, but is not limited to, the constitution, land laws, regulations, etc., the governing of land issues.

145 In contrast to Vietnam and China, which carried out land distribution or allocation to decollectivize agriculture, Verdery has shown the common practice of land restitution in the process of decollectivization in several Eastern European countries after the collapse of socialism (see Katherine Verdery, The Vanishing Hectare: Property and Value in Postsocialist Transylvania. Ithaca & London: Cornell University Press, 2003).

146 For a detailed analysis and exlaination of of this, see Nguyễn Văn Sửu “Về sở hữu, sử dụng và sai phạm trong quản lý đất đai ở Việt Nam từ khi đổi mới”. Tạp chí Nghiên cứu Lịch sử, số 5 (2007), trang 18–27; and Đổi mới chính sách đất đai ở Việt Nam: Từ lý thuyết đến thực tiễn. Hà Nội: NXB, 2010. Chính trị Quốc gia (forthcoming).

147 Tạ Thị Thuý, Đồn điền của người Pháp ở Bắc Kỳ 1884–1914. Hà Nội: NXB, 1996. Thế giới; and Việc nhượng đất, khẩn hoang ở Bắc Kỳ từ 1919 đến 1945, Hà Nội: NXB, 2001. Thế giới.

148 Ben Kerkvliet, “Claiming the Land: Take-overs by Villagers in the Philippines with Comparisons to Indonesia, Peru, Portugal, and Russia”. The Journal of Peasant Studies, Vol. 20, No. 3 (1993), pp. 459-493; Land Struggles and Land Regimnes in the Philippines and Vietnam during the Twentieth Century, Amsterdam: CASA-Centre for Asian Studies, 1997.

149 Steffanie Scott, “Changing Rules of the Game: Local Responses to Decollecivization in Thai Nguyen, Vietnam”. Asia Pacific Viewpoint, Vol. 41, No. 1 (2000), pp. 69-84, p. 81; Jean-Christophe Castella, Trần Quốc Hoà, Vũ Hải Nam, Đặng Đình Quang “Thành phần dân tộc trong sự phân hoá nông hộ: Trường hợp xã Ngọc Phái, huyện Chợ Đồn, tỉnh Bắc Cạn, Việt Nam”. Trong: Đổi mới ở vùng miền núi: Chuyển đổi sử dụng đất và chiến lược sản xuất của nông dân tỉnh Bắc Cạn, Việt Nam, do Jean–Christophe Castella và Đặng Đình Quang chủ biên. Hà Nội: NXB. Nông nghiệp, 2002, trang 49–73.

150 Vũ Đình Lợi, Bùi Minh Đạo, Vũ Thị Hồng, Sở hữu và sử dụng đất đai ở các tỉnh Tây Nguyên. Hà Nội: NXB, 2002. Khoa học Xã hội; Đặng Nghiêm Vạn, “Vấn đề đất đai ở các tỉnh Tây Nguyên”. Trong: Một số vấn đề phát triển kinh tế xã hội buôn làng các dân tộc Tây Nguyên. Hà Nội: NXB, 2002. Khoa học Xã hội, trang 324–352.

151 Bộ Chính trị 1988. “Chỉ thị số 47–CT/TW về việc giải quyết một số vấn đề cấp bách về ruộng đất”. Đồng Tháp: Nxb. Đồng Tháp; Tổng cục Quản lý Ruộng đất 1992. "Báo cáo về tranh chấp đất đai." Ha Noi, pp. 2-3 and 13-15; Trần Đức 1992. Cuộc cách mạng nâu đang tiếp bước. Hà Nội: NXB. Văn hóa–Thông tin, trang 7-10.

152 For a short overview of land appropriation for non-agricultural purposes in Vietnam since the renovation period and its effects on farmers, see Nguyen Van Suu, “Agricultural Land Conversion and Its Effects on Vietnamese Farmers”, Focaal–European Journal of Anthropology, Number 54 (2009), pp. 106-113.

153 The two case studies presented in the following pages administratively belong to the current district of Tiên Du in Bắc Ninh province (see the map).

154 Hà Bắc was one of the former Red river Delta and Northern provinces, established in 1962 by merging two former provinces: Bắc Ninh and Bắc Giang. In 1996, it was divided to form the two former provinces of what are currently Bắc Giang and Bắc Ninh.

155 One of Hà Bắc’s district was Tiên Sơn, which in 1963 was set up by emerging two former districts of the former Bắc Ninh province: Từ Sơn and Tiên Du. After Hà Bắc was divided, Tiên Sơn was also divided into two former districts, that are Từ Sơn and Tiên Du.

156 I have not seen any document offering figures about this. This action on the part of local cooperative cadres may have never been reported to higher authrorities.

157 See Tổng cục Quản lý Ruộng đất, "Báo cáo về tranh chấp đất đai." Ha Noi, 1992.

158 BCĐ cấp CGN và LSBT 1992. "Thông báo kết quả thực hiện kế hoạch giao ruộng ổn định lâu dài, cấp GCN quyền SDĐ và LSBT đến hộ gia đình nông dân." Hà Bắc, trang 7.

159 Sở Địa chính Hà Bắc 1995. "Tình hình thực tế, các giải pháp và kiến nghị nhằm thực hiện tốt công tác quản lý nhà nước về đất đai – tỉnh Hà Bắc." Hà Bắc, trang 7.

160 Tổ công tác 1988. "Báo cáo tình hình tranh chấp ruộng đất của một số HTX nông nghiệp thuộc huyện Tiên Sơn." Tiên Sơn, trang 1; and according to a report composed in 1993 by Hà Bắc People’s Committee on the situation of hot-spots in Hà Bắc province from 1990 to 1993.

161 BCHTW 1988. "Chỉ thị về việc giải quyết một số vấn đề cấp bách về ruộng đất."

162 UBND tỉnh Hà Bắc 1992. "Chỉ thị v/v tăng cường công tác quản lý và giải quyết các vụ tranh chấp về đất đai"; and 1992 "Báo cáo (bổ sung) tình hình chống tham nhũng cuối năm 1992." Bắc Giang.

163 UBND huyện Tiên Sơn 1988. "Chỉ thị về việc giải quyết tranh chấp ruộng đất giữa các đội sản xuất trong HTX." Tiên Sơn.

164 UBND huyện Tiên Sơn 1988. "Chỉ thị về việc giải quyết tranh chấp ruộng đất giữa các đội sản xuất trong HTX." Tiên Sơn, trang 1-2.

165 TU Hà Bắc 1989. "Báo cáo sơ kết thực hiện Nghị quyết 10 của Bộ Chính trị về đổi mới quản lý kinh tế nông nghiệp." Bắc Giang, trang 13

166 HU Tiên Sơn 1993. "Dự thảo báo cáo tình hình nông nghiệp Tiên Sơn sau những năm đổi mới, chủ trương và biện pháp thực hiện NQ 5 BCHTW Đảng." Tiên Sơn, trang 9

167 TU Hà Bắc 1989. "Báo cáo sơ kết thực hiện Nghị quyết 10 của Bộ Chính trị về đổi mới quản lý kinh tế nông nghiệp." Bắc Giang, trang 8

168 TU Hà Bắc 1992. "Thông báo kết quả thực hiện kết luận của tỉnh ủy về đổi mới hoàn thiện cơ chế quản lý HTX nông nghiệp theo Nghị quyết 10 của BCT (Khóa VI) và Nghị quyết Đại hội VII của Đảng." Bắc Giang, trang 3.

169 The commune and village have the same name.

170 Mẫu, sào and thước are traditional units of land measure in Vietnam with different meanings in different regions. In the Red River Delta, one mẫu is 10 sào = 3,600 square metres; one sào is 15 thước = 360 square metres; and one thước = 24 square metres.

171 Tổ công tác 1988. "Báo cáo tình hình tranh chấp ruộng đất của một số HTX nông nghiệp thuộc huyện Tiên Sơn." Tiên Sơn, trang 2.

172 Tổ công tác 1988. "Báo cáo tình hình tranh chấp ruộng đất của một số HTX nông nghiệp thuộc huyện Tiên Sơn.” Tiên Sơn, trang 2.

173 W. Klatt, “Agrarian Issues in Asia: I. Land as a Source of Conflict”. International Affairs, Vol. 48, No. 2 (1972), pp. 226–241.

174 Also see my other study: Nguyen Van Suu, “The Polictics of Land: Inequality in Land Access and Local Conflicts in the Red River Delta sinc Decollectivization” in Social Inequality in Vietnam and the Challenges to Reform, edited by Philip Taylor, Singapore: ISEAS, 2004, pp. 270–296.

175 James C. Scott and Ben Kerkvliet, Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance in Southeast Asia. London: Frank Cass, 1986.

176 Kevin J. O'Brien, "Rightful Resistance." World Politics 41, No. 1 (1996), pp. 31-55; Liangjian Li Li and Kevin J. O'Brien, "Villagers and Popular Resistance in Contemporary China." Modern China 22, No. 1 (1996), pp. 28-61.

177 Ben Kerkvliet, "Village-State Relations in Vietnam: The Effects of Evereyday Politics on Decollectivization." Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 54, Issue 2 (1995), pp. 396-418; 2005; The Power of Everyday Politics: How Vietnamese Peasants Transformed National Policy. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2005.

178 Also see Nguyen Van Suu, Contending views and Conflicts over Land in the Red River Delta since Decollectivization. PhD. Dissertation, Department o Anthropology, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University, 2004, pp. 91–137.

179 According to a report made in 1993 by Hà Bắc People’s Committee on the situation of hot-spots in Hà Bắc province from 1990 to 1993.

180 According to a report made in 1998 by Bắc Ninh Party Organisation on the situation and resolutions for settling internal conflicts in the province’s rural areas from 1987 to 1997, p. 1.

181 According to a report made in 1998 by Bắc Ninh Party Organization on the situation and resolutions for settling internal conflicts in the province’s rural areas from 1987 to 1997, p. 2.

182 Tổng cục Quản lý ruộng đất 1992. "Báo cáo về tranh chấp đất đai." Hà Nội, trang 5-6.

183 UBND tỉnh Hà Bắc 1990. "Báo cáo kiểm điểm kết quả ba năm thi hành Luật Đất đai." Bắc Giang, trang 10-13.

184 HU Tiên Sơn 1993. "Dự thảo báo cáo tình hình nông nghiệp Tiên Sơn sau những năm đổi mới, chủ trương và biện pháp thực hiện NQ 5 BCHTW Đảng." Tiên Sơn, trang 9.

185 Pierre Gourou, The Peasants of the Tonkin Delta: A Study of Human Geography, New Haven, Human Relations Area Files, 1955, 2 Vols; Scott, James, The Moral Economy of the Peasant: Rebellion and Subsistence in Southeast Asia, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1976; Đỗ Hoài Nam, Lê Cao Đàm (chủ biên), Xây dựng cơ sở hạ tầng nông thôn trong qúa trình công nghiệp hóa, hiện đại hóa ở Việt Nam. Hà Nội: NXB, 2001. Khoa học Xã hội.

186 Katherine Verdery has argued that, for Romanian farmers, land is valued as a route towards political capital. (Katherine Verdery, The Vanishing Hectare: Property and Value in Postsocialist Transylvania, Ithaca & London: Cornell University Press, 2003, p. 120).

187 Lewis, Henry, Ilocano Rice Farmers: A Comparative Study of Two Philipine Barrios, Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1971, pp. 86-95.

188 Janet C. Sturgeon and Thomas Sikor, “Post–Socialist Property in Asia and Europe: Variation on ‘Fuzziness’” in Conservation & Society, Vol. 2, No. 1 (2004), pp. 1–17; Katherine Verdery, “The Property Regime of Socialism” in Conservation & Society, Vol. 2, No. 1 (2004), pp. 189–198.

189 For example, to understand how Vietnamese farmers transformed the party-state policies over the programmes of agricultural collectivization and decollectivization, see Ben Kerkvliet, "Village-State Relations in Vietnam: The Effects of Evereyday Politics on Decollectivization." Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 54, Issue 2 (1995), pp. 396-418; The Power of Everyday Politics: How Vietnamese Peasants Transformed National Policy, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2005; to see how local conflicts over land have influenced the Vietnamese party-state over the formation and reformation of comtemporary land regime, see Nguyen Van Suu, Contending views and Conflicts over Land in the Red River Delta since Decollectivization. PhD. Dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University, 2004; and “Contending Views and Conflicts over Land in Vietnam’s Red River Delta” in Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, Vol. 38, No. 2 (2007), pp. 309–334; for China, see Kate Xiao Zhou, How the Farmers Changed China: Power of the People, Boulder, Colo: Westview Press, 1996.

190 In other pieces of research, I have examined other forms of land claims in the Red river delta, for example the villagers’ claims over the output of communal land, the reasonal level of compensation for land use rights (See Nguyen Van Suu, “The Politics of Land: Inequality in Land Access and Local Conflicts in the Red River Delta since Decollectivization.” in Social Inequality in Vietnam and the Challenges to Reform, edited by Philip Taylor, Singapore: ISEAS, 2004, pp. 270–296; “Contending Views and Conflicts over Land in the Red River Delta since Decollectivization”. Ph. D dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University, 2004; and “Industrialization and Urbanization in Vietnam: How Appropriation of Agricultural Land Use Rights Transformed Framers’ Livelihoods in a Peri-Urban Hanoi Village?” East Asian Development Network Working Paper No. 38), 2007.

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