Iconic Hanoi radio station razed despite red light

By Long Nguyen   February 13, 2020 | 05:00 am PT
With authorities still considering conferring relic status on an old Hanoi radio station, part of it was demolished to build a road.

A section of the century-old Bach Mai radio station was destroyed and its roof knocked down on February 9, one day before the city People’s Committee met with Voice of Vietnam (VOV), Vietnam Association of Architects and related agencies to discuss the historic structure. VOV late last year requested the committee to preserve the historic building.

City Chairman Nguyen Duc Chung instructed the Department of Culture and Sports to support VOV in recognizing its cultural value.

A part of the structure before the demolition. Photo by VnExpress/Tung Dinh.

The century-old Bach Mai radio station in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Tung Dinh.

Chung said soon after receiving the request last year he had ordered local authorities to stop the building’s demolition, proposed to complete by December 31, 2019.

Local authorities visited the site on February 10 and ordered the demolition halted.

The old French villa on Dai La Street served as the first national radio station from where Ho Chi Minh’s 1945 Declaration of Independence, giving birth to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, was spread.

It was first used for communication between colonial authorities in Hanoi, Indochina and Paris. Its wireless radio system meant Vietnam was one of the earliest Asian countries to adopt 20th century technology.

It then became national radio station Radio Bach Mai in 1945 with its old Morse code generator adjusted to receive radio waves.

VOV was established on the first floor in September 1945, five days after Ho Chi Minh read out the Declaration of Independence.

Since 1967 it has been occupied by families of senior station officials.

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