Nguyen Van Linh, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam from 1986 to 1991, is known as a staunch and reformist leader who strongly promoted the Doi Moi (renewal) process in Vietnam.

Born as Nguyen Van Cuc on July 1, 1915 in Hanoi into a civil servant family, Nguyen Van Linh joined the patriotic movement at the age of 14. When only 15, he was arrested and sentenced to life in prison by the French colonialists. He then was imprisoned in Con Dao Island which was dubbed a “hell on earth” until 1936, when he was released after the election success of the Popular Front in France.

After his release, Linh returned to become secretary of the Party Committee of Hai Phong City. In early 1939, he was sent to Sai Gon (now Ho Chi Minh City) and became Vice Secretary of Sai Gon Party Committee. Late the same year, he was assigned to the central region with the mission of restoring Party organisations there. He was arrested and imprisoned in Con Dao for the second time by the French colonial regime in early 1941.

With the success of the August Revolution in 1945, Nguyen Van Linh was set free and returned to Nam Bo (Southern region) where he continued to fight for the liberation of the South and national reunification in the capacity of Secretary of Sai Gon-Cho Lon municipal Party Committee, Secretary of the Sai Gon-Cho Lon Special Zone Party Committee and Secretary of Nam Bo Party Committee.

After the national reunification, Nguyen Van Linh served as Secretary of Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee. He was elected Party General Secretary at the 6th National Party Congress in December 1986, and became the first Party leader to lead and organize the implementation of the Party resolution on Doi Moi, which marked a historic turning point in Vietnam’s revolutionary cause.

Nguyen Van Linh was the person who initiated and pursued the principles of Doi Moi while keeping to the socialist orientation, maintaining and promoting the Party’s leadership, respecting and bringing into full play the people’s right to mastery as reflected in the motto “people know, people discuss, people do and people inspect.”

The Doi Moi process has reaped important achievements, creating firm foundations for the country to develop quickly in the following periods.

Linh and the Party Central Committee also devoted great efforts to cleaning up the mechanisms of the Party and State, creating a flow of fresh air to society. His column “Things to be done immediately” on Nhan Dan newspaper won applause from the public for attacking negative phenomena in society, thus creating an open and democratic social atmosphere.

Nguyen Van Linh passed away on April 28, 1998.

He was praised by both the Party and the people as a staunch and prestigious communist and an outstanding student of President Ho Chi Minh

A range of activities will be organized across the country to mark the 100th birthday of the late Party leader to honour his contributions to the Vietnamese revolution.-VNA