Vietnam and the Indochina Refugee Crisis | World Refugee Day 2020

For our final day, we would also like to highlight our Vietnamese population. Vietnam is the easternmost country on the mainland of Southeast Asia, bordered by China, Laos, and Cambodia. Vietnam became liberated of Chinese rule in 938 CE but exchanged products with China in exchange for scrolls on philosophy, administration, and literature. China was extremely influential in Vietnam’s development, and Vietnam’s kings modeled themselves off of China’s emperors.

A diverse array of cultures and ethnicities has led to distinct regions across the country. While the majority of the population is Vietnamese, there are many ethnic minorities including Tho, Thai, and Muong. Likewise, although Vietnamese is the official language of Vietnam, there are many other languages spoken in the country. Vietnamese is part of the Mon-Khmer languages of the Austroasiatic family, but other common languages are part of the Austronesian family. Still, more groups speak languages in the Tai language family, or the Sino-Tibetan language family. The majority of Vietnamese don’t practice a religion, but there are many minority religions as well, including Buddhism, Roman Catholicism, Hoa Hao, and Cao Dai.

China’s influence is evident in Vietnam’s culture, but Western influences began to combine with the older traditions in the 20th century. Chinese heritage is evident in poems and oral tradition. After the dissolution of a state monopoly on the arts and culture, the theatre began to prosper. The same has occurred with music and the visual arts. After the easing of censorship and restrictions, the arts have continued to grow.

The Vietnamese refugee and immigration population in the United States has grown over the past 50 years.

Following the fall of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War, the United States sponsored an evacuation of 125,000 Vietnamese refugees. The humanitarian crisis continued to worsen, and more refugees were admitted over the years. Today, the Vietnamese are the sixth-largest foreign-born group in the United States.

We strongly encourage you to continue learning about Vietnam, as there is much more to learn than just what was mentioned here. We hope that you join us tomorrow in celebrating World Refugee Day 2020.

Alperin, Elijah, and Jeanne Batalova . “Vietnamese Immigrants in the United States.”, 3 May 2019,


Jamieson, Neil L., et al. “Vietnam.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 17 Mar. 2020,

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