Son La city is small, quiet, but when arriving at the relics of Son La Prison located on the hill Khau Ca, I will have special emotions. Passing the rusted iron gate of Son La Prison, though the scene is not intact, from interconnecting broken walls, everyone can realize that this place used to be a fortified prison that nobody had enough strength to overcome, beyond the spirit of the revolutionaries. There is a green beach blossom tree growing near the old wall and name after a Communist soldier – To Hieu.
To Hieu was born in 1912 in Van Giang district, Hung Yen province in a poor family who had patriotic tradition. He joined the revolutionary movement when he was very young. At the age of 18, in 1930, while he was taking part in the revolution with his brother, he was captured, sentenced to 4 years in prison and exiled to Con Dao. Released from prison, he continued his revolutionary activities. In 12/1939, he was arrested for the 3rd time, then was taken Son La prison with 50 other prisoners.
|To Hieu Peach Blossom Tre in Son La Prison|
Son La prison was built in 1908. Taking advantage of the mountains remoteness, isolation from the outside, the French colonists thought that this remote area of unwholesome environment could discourage the will to fight of the patriots. In the situation that communists could not get in touch with the Central Committee Party and were isolated in the jail, but they were still loyal to the Communist Party, and organized secret revolutionary activities…
At that time, Hieu was voted to become a member of the Standing Committee of Bac Ky (Northern Vietnam), Secretary of the Inter-provincial B Committee (Hai Phong, Kien An, Hai Duong, mining area); therefore, the enemy considered him a dangerous person and placed him in a solitary confinement in a detention room of Son La prison. He had to work as a hard labor in isolation without contact with anyone except the guards. Despite harsh conditions in prisons and suffering from tuberculosis To Hieu still secretly took part in the revolution. He was elected to be Cell Secretary of Son La Prison.
During the 4 years in Son La prison – the “Hell on the Earth”, To Hieu campaigned, inspired many soldiers here, many people were enlightened and sympathetic with the revolution, then joined the revolution. On 7th March 1944, To Hieu passed away in the prison at the age of 33. Son La. The Peach blossom trees in Son La Prison was named To Hieu in 1945 when the revolution succeeded to symbolize the spirit of the revolutionary struggle of a resilient fighter. Later, a branch of this peach tree was grafted and planted in Ho Chi Minh President Mausoleum.
Peach blossom trees whose seeds are taken from this tree are also planted in Goc Oi Cemetery in the city of Son La.. At the cemetery, there are seven tombs where the remains of more than 100 soldiers of the revolution are kept. The seven tombs include one tomb of To Hieu in the middle and 6 other general graves of other martyrs.
Today, To Hieu peach blossom trees in Son La Prison is always green and welcomes visitors from all regions to visit. Along with the relics of Son La Prison, Son La City area also has many other attractive tourist destinations such as Mong village hot springs (Hua La commune); Tat Toong cave with unique stalactites in Ban Bo, Que Lam Ngu Che (1440) in the cave of Tham Ke (Chieng An commune, ranked as a national heritage in 1994); the cultural ethnic villages: Ban Hin (Chieng An), Me Man (Chieng Coi) …
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