Thank you. Below are two more quotes, adding to the historical context, and giving a perspective around the era the footage was taken.
'Thus unexpectedly reprieved on her north-western frontier, China within two years faced another threat, this time in the south. France had established her influence in Vietnam by restoring the Nguyen dynasty in 1802. IndoChina was then brought under French control by a series of treaties. The Annamese, who normally were by no means disposed to interpret their position of tributary to China in any but a cultural sense, now requested assistance from Beijing. Chinese irregulars, the "Black Flags", were already operating against the French, and in 1883 China sent regular troops. Yixin and Li Hongzhang believed that China was not as yet sufficienlty strong to oppose the French, but the recent defeat of the French by Prussia had encouraged a group of young hawks who had formed the "Purist" party. The hawks also had a more serious argument, that France would not be content simply to conquer a non-chinese tributary state but would use that conquest as a spring board to penetrate China via Yunnan and Guangdong. When a further French expedition was sent to Vietnam it was met by a Chinese army. The Chinese were defeated and forced to negotiate. On 11 May 1884 the French secured Chinese recognition of all French treaties with Annam. The Purists protested this, and when they were offered command against the French they enthusiastically accepted the challenge. Their enthusiasm was short-lived. The French sank China's southern squadron, destroyed Fuzhou naval yard, blockaded Taiwan and intercepted the grain tribute. A Chinese victory on land restored China's self-respect but did nothing to check the devastating operations of the French navy; so in spite of victory in battle China was forced once again to a humiliating peace, and to the loss of her inlfuence in IndoChina.'
(Rebellions and Revolutions: By Jack Gray - Page 118-119)
This shows the background to the mistrust that the Vietnamese often held the Chinese within. The Chinese signing the treaties with the French, was viewed by the Vietnamese as a betrayal. Eventually, the Japanese successfully invaded Vietnam - and Ho Chi Minh, along with the Viet Minh forces, bravely fought the Japanese as an ally of the West. Armed by America and Britain, Ho was promised an independent Vietnam, if they, the Vietnamese people, fought Japan - an enemy of the West.
However, this did not materialise. As soon as the Japanese surrendered, power was handed back to the French - and they were at their strongest in the south of Vietnam. Ho and his forces consolidated in the north, and prepared to go to war with France. The film footage fits in about 'here', within the historical narrative - and coincides with the founding of the Ho Chi Minh Self-Defense Foirce School. The enemy was clearly defined - in this instance, the French. And Phuc Carem's comments above, then make perfect sense within this context. Following the defeat of the French strategic reserve at the battle of Dien Bien Phu in north Vietnam, North Vietnam was recognised as a legitimate country.
China, now under Mao and his Communist regime, had been trying to court favour and influence in Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh an dothers, had been invited to Beijing and treated with respect and honour. This brings me to my second quote;
'On his doorstep in Asia, Mao's influence failed to spread, even against deadbeat regimes like that of Ne Win in Burma. But Moa's biggest setback was losing Vietnam. In the 1950's and early 1960's, China had been Hanoi's almost sole backer in its wars against the French and then the Americans, ever since Stalin had allocated it ot mao in 1950. But the Vietnamese had developed suspicions about Mao from as early as 1954. That year he launched the Superpower Programme, while doing everything to attract Russian assistance, Mao began by trying to gain access to embargoed Western technology and equipment. One prime candidate for cracking the embargo was France.
At the time, France was bogged down in IndoChina. Mao's plan was to make the Vietnamese intensify the war "to increase the internal problems of the French" (Chou put it), and then, when France was on the ropes, to step in and broker a settlement. The idea being that France would then reciprocate by acceding to Mao's embargo-breaking approaches.
Mao had been co-directing the war in IndoChina. During the Korean War, he had halted large-scale offensives in IndoChina to focus China's resources on Korea. In May 1953, when he decided to end the Korean War, he sent Chinese officers straight from Korea to IndoChina. In October of that year, the Chinese got hold of a copy of the French strategic plan, the navarre Plan. General Wei Guo-qing, carried this from Beijing and delivered it to Ho Chi Minh in person. It was this vital intelligence coup that led to the decision by the Communist side to give battle in Dien Bien Phu, a French base in northwest Vietnam where the Vietnamese. with massive Chinese military aid and advice, won a decisive victory in May1954.
The Vietnamese took Dien Bien Phu on 7 May, and the French government fell on 17 June. This was China's moment to step in. On the 23rd, Chou met the new French prime minister in Switzerland, without the Vietnamese, and worked out a deal.
China now put immense pressure on the Vietnamese Communists to settle for terms he had negotiated with the French, wich were far inferior to what the Vietnamese had hoped for. Vietnam's later leader Le Duan said tha Chou Enlai threatened "that f the Vietnamese continued to fight they would have to fend for themselves. He would not help any longer and pressured us to stop fighting."
Ho Chi Minh told his negotiator, Pham Van Dong, to concede, which Dong did, in tears. Le Duan was sent to break the news to Communist forces in the south. "I travelled by wagon to the south," he recalled. "Along the way, compatriots came out to greet me, for they thought we had won a great victory. It was so painful." Seeds of anger and suspicion towards Beijing took root among he Vietnamese.'
(Mao: The Untold Story; By Chang & Halliday - Pages 696-697)
Effectivley, Chinese negotiations had deprived the Vietnamese of 'full' and 'complete' independence. The Chinese settlement, allowed the south of Vietnam, to remain unliberated. And this eventually led to the USA creating and supporting a puppet regime in the south, against the North.
Master Gu may well have been sent to Vietnam in 1957, by Chou Enlai. But Chou Enlai was directly responsible for the negotiated betrayal of the Vietnamese, against the French. And I think it is indicative of the sense of that betrayal, that Chinese-Vietnamese relations cooled considerabley after 1954. Chou Enlai, it seems, was probably attempting somekind of 'fence-mending' when he sent master Gu to Ho Chi Minh - but the fact that he only stayed a mere six months in Vietnam, and no mention is made of him by Ho Chi Minh - in any of his biographies, shows that Chou's action was merely an 'empty' gesture, designed to string the Vietnamese governemnt along, as long as possible, in a vain attempt for the Chinese to keep whatever influence they could, in the region. Eventually, of course, the Vietnamese withdrew virtually all contact with the Chinese, and sided with the Soviet Union. Things got so bad infact, that the Chinese went to war with the Vietnamese in 1978, and got severely mauled for their efforts. And one can not help but think that in many ways, it was the Vietnamese that preserved ancient Chinese culture - whilst the Chinese Communists, drunk on the madness of power, systematically set about destroying their own cultural heritage.