Nông Đức Mạnh (born 11 September 1940 in Cường Lợi, Na Rì District, Bắc Kạn province, Vietnam) is the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV). He has held that position since 22 April 2001 and was reappointed in April 2006.
Mạnh’s official biography says that he was the son of peasants of the Tày ethnic group and that he was born on 11 September 1940 in Cường Lợi, Na Rì District, Bắc Kạn province. He began his career as a forestry worker and joined the revolution in 1958.
From 1962 to 1963, Mạnh was working as forest supervisory technician in the Bắc Kạn Forestry Service. He was admitted to the CPV on 5 July 1963 and became an official member of the CPV on 10 July 1964.
From 1963 to 1965, Mạnh was the deputy chief of the Bach Thong wood exploiting team. He then returned to his studies, and was taught the Russian language at Hanoi Foreign Languages College 1965-1966. He then travelled to Leningrad, Soviet Union, were he studied at the Forestry Institute until 1971. After returning to Vietnam, he became the deputy head of the Bac Thai provincial forestry inspection board.
From 1973 to 1974, Mạnh served as director of the Phu Luong State Forestry Camp in Bac Thai province.
From 1974 to 1976, Mạnh studied at the Nguyễn Ái Quốc High-Level Party School.
From 1976 to 1980, Mạnh served as the deputy director of the provincial forestry service and director of the construction company of the provincial forestry service.
Rising with the party ranks, Mạnh was a member of the Bac Thai Provincial Party Committee from 1976 to 1983.
In 1984, Mạnh became the deputy secretary of the committee, and in November 1986, the secretary of the committee. At the sixth national party congress he was elected as an alternate member of the Central Committee. At the sixth party plenum in March 1989, he was elevated to full central committee member. Since 1991 he has been sitting in the politburo of the party.
There have been persistent rumors that Mạnh is the son of Hồ Chí Minh. In April 2001, after he was selected to head the Communist Party, a reporter at a news conference asked him to confirm or deny the rumors. He said, “All Vietnamese people are the children of Uncle Ho.” When asked again about the rumor in January 2002 by a Time Asia reporter, he denied the rumors but added that all Vietnamese people consider Hồ Chí Minh their spiritual father.
Many view him as a moderniser, and he has announced that he wants Vietnam to become an industrialised country by 2020.