On September 19, 1967, approximately forty pounds of TNT explosives rocked the Republic of China’s Embassy in Saigon. That day, the ROC Ambassador to the RVN, (Guomindang) General Hu Lien escaped death by pure chance - he called for an early briefing. Hailed as an attack by the “Reds” targeting the fifth column of ethnic Chinese (Hoa) in Saigon, this bombing is significant in that no other foreign embassies in the RVN outside of the U.S. Embassy were directly targeted.
The ROC-RVN relationship started ten years earlier on a similarly sour note for the local Hoa population. The RVN’s newly promulgated 1956 citizenship law (anyone born on Vitetnamese soil became a citizen of the RVN) conflicted directly with the ROC’s citizenship law, based on jus sanguinis in the male line. This discrepancy and the RVN’s subsequent banning of the Chinese Congregational Halls would requirely a “brotherly” fellow, rather than the ROC’s diplomat, to leverage his faith and connections with representatives of the state in order to advocate on behalf of the Hoa community.
With a new embassy building completed in 1969, Ambassador Hu Lien cited the “quickly growing landscape” around the old 2-story ROC embassy building as the reason why a new, bigger embassy building was commissioned. Omitting any mention of the bombing just 2 years prior, he proclaimed that this new building demonstrated the brotherhood of the two Republics, coinciding with the cooperation between the two at the sub-national level in the form of sister cities.