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CHINESE MILITARY INTERVENTION, FRENCH ALLEGATION OF

Several leading French officers and historians, including the authoritative French military historian Yves Gras, claim that on 18 June 1952 Beijing sent an entire division into northwestern Vietnam to help the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) quell an uprising of the Hmong, armed by the French Groupement de commandos mixtes aéroportés (GCMA). According to these French sources, the insurrection was finally quashed in August after heavy fighting. When military officials such as Roger Trinquier and Edmond Grall asked to publicize this Chinese communist intervention in order to win over increased American support, the French government allegedly decided to keep it under wraps for fear of an international incident torpedoing their emerging efforts to end the war. Jean Létourneau wanted “to avoid any possibility of conflict on the frontier in order to handle the future” (toute occasion de conflit sur la frontière pour ménager l’avenir). According to the French, in October 1952 a Chinese commando tracked down and killed the legendary Hmong leader, Chau Quang Lo. However, there is no Chinese evidence available in the public domain confirming that Beijing actually sent combat troops into Vietnam during the Indochina War. In 2008, however, a former high ranking Vietnamese diplomat and member of the DRV delegation to the Geneva Conference confirmed to this author that Chinese battalions (not divisions) did secretly enter northern Vietnam on several occasions to assist DRV forces. This, he said, occurred in the early 1950s. See also MILITARY ASSISTANCE ADVISORY GROUP (MAAG), INDOCHINA; MINORITY ETHNIC GROUPS; PAYS MONTAGNARDS DU SUD (PMS); SERVICE ACTION; TAI FEDERATION.