Indonesian is not Vietnam's second official language

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

An infographic shared in multiple Twitter and Facebook posts claims that Indonesian has been recognised as Vietnam's second official language. This claim is false: Vietnamese is the only official language in Vietnam. 

The image was shared on October 7, 2021, to Twitter here, where it has been retweeted more than 700 times and liked more than 3,000 times. 

Screenshot of the misleading post, taken on October 26, 2021

Translated to English, the Indonesian-language tweet reads: “FYI: *Indonesian* has been recognised as the second official language in Vietnam. So if you happen to be in Hanoi, just try greeting locals with 'Selamat pagi… apa kabar? Semoga kita semua selalu sehat dan Bahagia...'"

The Indonesian greeting translates to English as: "Good morning ... how are you? I hope all of us are always healthy and happy."

The text in the infographic claims that: "In December 2007, the local government of Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam, announced that Indonesian had been recognised as the second official language."

It goes on to add that Indonesian is "on a par with English, French and Japanese languages in Vietnam" and that  some universities are opening Indonesian-language study programes. 

The image also appeared in October 2021 on Twitter here, receiving nearly a thousand likes, and on Facebook here, here and here.

The claim has been circulating since at least 2009, after Indonesian news outlet published this report, and has been repeatedly posted in the years since, for example here, here, here and here

However, the claim is false. 

According to Vietnam's constitution, the English version of which is available on the website of state-controlled Viet Nam News daily here, the only "national language" in the country is Vietnamese.

"The national language is Vietnamese. Every ethnic group has the right to use its own spoken and written language to preserve its own identity and to promote its fine customs, practices, traditions and culture," states Article 5 point 3 of the constitution. In the document, there is no mention of any second official language in Vietnam, including Indonesian. 

A Vietnamese AFP reporter in Hanoi confirmed: "So far there hasn’t been any second official language in Ho Chi Minh city or Vietnam."

Indonesian news outlet published a fact-check report in October 2021, which concludes that the claim Indonesian has become a second official language in Vietnam is "not true".