May 10, 2017

3045 VIETNAM - Hmong people

3045 A Hmong little girl with her bird

The Hmong is an ethnic group from the mountainous regions of China (where is considered a sub-groups of the Miao ethnicity), Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand. The Hmong began a gradual southward migration in China in the 18th century due to political unrest and to find more arable land. During the first and second Indochina Wars, France and the United States' Central Intelligence (CIA) recruited thousands of Hmong people in Laos, to fight against forces from north and south Vietnam and the communist Pathet Lao insurgents.

Following the war, hundreds of thousands of Hmong refugees fled to Thailand to seek political asylum. Thousands of these refugees have resettled in Western countries in two separate waves. The first wave resettled in the late 1970s, mostly in the United States, but also in Australia, France, French Guiana, Canada, and Argentina. Others have returned to Laos under United Nations-sponsored repatriation programs. About the communities from French Guiana I wrote here. The second wave resettled mainly in the U.S. since 2004.

The Hmong claim an origin in the Yellow River region of China, and there is evidence that they have lived there for at least 2,000 years. Chinese sources describe that area being inhabited by Miao people, a group with whom Hmong people are often identified. Conflict between the Miao of southern China and newly arrived Han settlers increased during the 18th century under repressive economic and cultural reforms imposed by the Qing Dynasty. This led to armed conflict and large-scale migrations well into the late 19th century, the period during which most Hmong people emigrated to Southeast Asia.

Vietnam, where their presence is attested from the late 18th century onwards, is likely to be the first Indochinese country into which the Hmong migrated. During the colonization of Tonkin (north Vietnam) between 1883 and 1954, a number of Hmong decided to join the Vietnamese Nationalists and Communists, while many Christianized Hmong sided with the French. After the Viet Minh victory, numerous pro-French Hmong had to fall back to Laos and South Vietnam.

At the 2009 national census, there were 1,068,189 Hmong living in Vietnam, the vast majority of them in the north of the country. The traditional trade in coffin wood with China and the cultivation of the opium poppy - both prohibited only in 1993 in Vietnam - long guaranteed a regular cash income. Today, converting to cash cropping is the main economic activity. Many tribes are distinguished by the color and details of their clothing. Black Hmong wear deep indigo dyed hemp clothing that includes a jacket with embroidered sleeves, sash, apron and leg wraps. The Flower Hmong are known for very brightly colored embroidered traditional costume with beaded fringe.

About the stamp
The stamp, designed by Vu Kim Lien and issued on August 8, 2015 is the one of Vietnam realised to mark the 48th Anniversary of ASEAN. About the stamps issued jointly by all the member countries, using a common design, I wrote here.

References
Hmong people -Wikipedia

Sender: Do Xuan Manh (direct swap)
Sent from Hanoi (Red River Delta / Vietnam), on 28.03.2017
Photo: Bul Quoc Ky

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