News / Asia

After Anti-China Protests in Vietnam, Chinese Flee to Cambodia

Workers wave Vietnamese national flags during an anti-China protest at a Chinese-owned shoe factory in Vietnam's northern Thai Binh province May 14, 2014.
Workers wave Vietnamese national flags during an anti-China protest at a Chinese-owned shoe factory in Vietnam's northern Thai Binh province May 14, 2014.
Heng Reaksmey
Chinese citizens in Vietnam have begun crossing the border into Cambodia to escape violent protests over the South China Sea conflict. 

Vietnamese Embassy spokesman in Phnom Penh, Trung Van Thong, told VOA's Khmer service the Chinese began crossing the border this week. 

“They [Chinese] were not expelled from [Vietnam],” he said. “It is their personal decision. I do not know the reason why the Chinese no longer want to live there."

The number of Chinese who have come across from Vietnam is unclear and Cambodian officials have declined to comment on the border crossings, which took place after Chinese and Taiwanese factories were targeted by mobs in southern Vietnam. 

Meanwhile the head of the Association of Khmer Vietnamese in Cambodia, Sem Chi, said his members plan to protest  this week outside the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh.

But the Cambodian Ministry of Interior said such a protest would not be allowed.

"Foreigners cannot use Cambodian territory to stage a protest against another group of foreigners,” Khieu Sopheak said. “It is not allowed by law."

Cambodia has a sizable ethnic Vietnamese population and most members of the Khmer-Vietnamese Association are believed to be Cambodian residents. 

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Khmer service.

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Comment Sorting
by: John from: US
May 17, 2014 8:43 AM
Vietnam will tast the reality of being mistreated as they've been mistreated other minorities who leave in the country. And Vietnam historictly has robbed and invaded other - This is a wonderful thing that China do to Vietnam. I think the world would welcome our dear friend China.

by: Tommy Caraway from: Seattle
May 16, 2014 10:56 PM
Taiwanese news reports that Chinese leaving Vietnam are charged double for plane tickets. Vietnamese are outraged that China has set an oil rig off of their coast. 15+factories have been burned, 20+ are dead so far.

by: Ben from: USA
May 16, 2014 8:00 PM
Viet will eventually get not just spratly but entire country annexed-this will be a good thing as historically they have never been able to raise standard of living. It's always Chinese who own and run factories banks etc

by: jonathan huang from: canada
May 16, 2014 10:04 AM
thank you Cambodian brothers a sisters!
with your support we will together contain this evil viet cong regime.
In Response

by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
May 17, 2014 3:37 AM
@hcmc, thats why you monkeys are stupid, if you don't know my staying in Canada service the best interest of my country. Actually, I go back China every year. My families are still living in China.
I am an engineer, you see, I can use my learnt knowledge from Canada to help improve Chinese navy. I don't know how to fight my enemy, but I can help Chinese navy to destroy you. At the same time I pay tax to Canadian government, therefore I am helping canada too. I am a good person, I am patriotic. I love most Vietnamese ppl, but viet cong is evil, must be destroyed.
In Response

by: I'm VIetnamese from: HCMC
May 16, 2014 7:49 PM
Hey Jonathan huang, Recently you have posted many agressive comments to support for the outragerous acts of China government. It could be seen that you are a real Chinese who is love the current Government of China. BUT it is too funny that you are living in Canada, you escaped from China. Why you don't come back to China, go to the Vietnam water to meet me?. You are a "No Action, Talk only" guys!

by: Robert from: USA
May 14, 2014 11:45 PM
China is a thief. Vietnam is a robber. Vietnam robbed Cham and Cambodian of their land and island. Vietnam also claims the sea overlapping other countries.
In Response

by: ChineseVietnameseAmerican from: USA
May 15, 2014 10:01 AM
I am not talking about people, I am talking about the two communist regimes only. The one in Vietnam has been modeled after the one in China with minor modifications, they are both bad, ok! The Communist Party of China (CPC) owns China and the Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP) owns Vietnam.

The ruling class, members of these two communist parties are filthy rich and arrogant while the majority of the people of both countries are dirt poor. If war breaks out, the ordinary people of both countries will be doing the fighting and many of them will be killed while the ruling gangs will continue to be rich and powerful. So, regardless of who owns what in the South China Sea, the ordinary people of China and the ordinary people of Vietnam will continue their suffering under the control of these two communist regimes.

by: Jason from: USA
May 14, 2014 10:15 PM
China has harassed Vietnam over 1000 years. She has always tried to invade and assimilate Vietnam, but failed. There are recent harassments from the North giant neighbor. In 1974, China invaded the Parcel Island of (South) Vietnam which resulted in 74 deaths on Vietnamese side and has occupied the islands since 1974. In 1979, China was under Deng Xiaoping who invaded the North of Vietnam for around one month which resulted around 30,000 soldiers dead on each side ( China was still under Deng Xiaoping, on March 14, 1988, a naval battle was fought between Vietnam People's Navy and People's Liberation Army Navy at the Spratly Islands. The battle resulted in the death of 64 Vietnamese soldiers and since then, China has controlled the Johnson South Reef of the Spratly Islands. There were several skirmishes on land also. Vietnam is the victim in this case, the map show that the rig is inside the Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ, 200 miles from the mainland shore, not from the island shore). It is between the Parcel Island (China occupied in 1974) and Vietnam. I hope that USA will help Vietnam and stop China from Southward. Vietnam is the thorn for China expansion Southward; therefore, it is real danger to the region and all the countries in the region. The USA would lead the countries in the region to put the stop to the China expansion Southward.

As far as the demonstration goes, the people who vandalized the company properties will be punished under the court of law (400 peoples have been arrested). Of course, vandalism will happen on most demonstrations that turn to violence, but you need to look into it deeply. This is the biggest demonstration since 1975 (fall of South Vietnam), people are allowed to demonstrate. So they over react and are immature on demonstration and should be forgiven. (Around two years ago Chinese demonstration people destroyed a lot of Japanese businesses in China).

As far as the Vietnam government goes, I am very glad to see the way she handles the issue and reminds the World that she is the victim of China expansionist policy.

As far as USA goes, I am very glad that USA has realized that China is the timing bomb and it would hurt USA if not stopped.

In Response

by: HighlandVN from: HCMC
May 17, 2014 8:52 PM
Thanks Jason so much for your comments. You are absolutely right. We just analyse objectively the problem. It is the fact that China is very dangerous not only with Vietnam, but also with all other countries. The expansionism of China is never end. We, all people in the world need to bear in mind that and need to stop this together! If not, your countries will be invaded by China in the near furture.
In Response

by: king from: China
May 15, 2014 2:08 PM
Some comments to Jason:

1) Not only in 1979 and 1988, and also including the first one in 1974, that time, Deng Xiaoping was the direct commander to grab the Parcel Islands from Vietnam. The only difference was that in 1974, Deng executed himself, while in 1979 and 1988, he was the top decision maker in China.

2) Chinese demonstrations against Japanese, have never destroyed any Japanese business in China. Reality check, Chinese usually burnt Japanese flags and Japanese made cars, they never broke into factories.

3) Historically, there's law of the jungle in Parcel Islands and Spratly Islands. Only the strongest won. Before France invasion, Vietnam had been always a protectorate of China. When China lost Vietnam to France, it was agreed that both Parcel Islands and Spratly Islands belong to China. And also China had all historical long effective administrations over Parcel Islands and Spratly Islands.

4) When China lost to Japan in Pre-World War II (1931), France invaded Parcel Islands and Spratly Islands. France arrested local Chinese fisherman and officers in 1933-1934. Still before official WWII broke out, Japan invaded Parcel Islands and Spratly Islands without claiming war against France because they were Chinese territory. Japanese controlled all of the islands in 1939.

5) After WWII, Japan returned Parcel Islands and Spratly Islands back to Chinese government in 1946. Chinese government controlled all islands until 1950 when they were defeated by the Communists, then France came back again, invaded those islands unless the biggest one Taiping, the biggest, always controlled by Chinese government which in Taiwan.

6) When south Vietnam collapsed, Chinese Communist had a full agreement with Vietnam Communist, that the whole Parcel Islands and Spratly Islands belong to China. Now both communists are controlling their countries. According to this agreement, Deng Xiaoping commanded newly built Chinese navy invaded Parcel islands which was occupied by south Vietnam. China has firmly controlled Parcel since 1974, therefore China never thought Parcel island has anything to talk about. That's China communist government's opinion, but mine.

7) Now China has built an extremely strong navy in the past 20 years, they are eager to test their guns in Spratly Islands where they failed to go before.

8) Vietnam now protests on Parcel islands, in my opinion, is not for Parcel, but for more bargaining on Spratly, since there's no hope for Vietnam to get back Parcel unless China lost in a new country wide war. But if Vietnam overreacts too much, it would help to gain any real benefit on Spratly.

9) Past Chinese leaders (Jiang ZM 1989-2002 and Hu Jingtao 2002-2012) were factory engineers, they were more cautious about everything. Now the new leader Xi Jingping is the son of one communist founders, he's more aggressive. He's too eager to show his muscles around. Vietnam could be his first victim to establish his strong leadership in China.

Vietnam and Adorable Vietnamese, please be prepared.

by: king from: China
May 14, 2014 7:04 PM
There are four psychologcal phases to deal with losses: denial, anger, crazy, accept. Now, Viets are in phase 3, hopefully, they can reach phase 4 soon enough to enjoy peaceful life.
In Response

by: jonathan huang from: canada
May 15, 2014 12:43 PM
well said, King.

and japan is just at the phase 2 yet, I am worried. but we Chinese unit together can conquer any enemies.
In Response

by: le from: china
May 15, 2014 12:04 AM
Dear China Gov,
We are willing to offer you free of charge for the following training courses:
- international relationship: code of conduct.
- self-respect improvement.

Out of Vietnam water
In Response

by: a vietnamese from: Canada
May 14, 2014 9:12 PM
Aw, now we vietnamese know exacly how your feeling was when Diaoyu have officially named Senkaku.
Seems things happening in Vietnam now was the same in China before, right?

by: Dan from: usa
May 14, 2014 5:22 PM
Jonathan. I kinda agree with you, but if you say... if Vietnamese dare to kill chinese --> declaration of war, it's already too late. The chinese have attacked and killed total 16 Vietnamese people even before this riot. That's why this riot rises up.

May 14, 2014 2:46 PM
The Chinese have been pushing Vietnam around for so long.The have been unilaterally imposing fishing ban,ramming our ships in Vietnamese waters,attacking our fishermen,taking them hostages and demanding large ransoms exactly like pirates.For peace's sake the Vietnamese government has put up with it all every time.But it is the last straw when the Chinese deliberately positioned the oil drilling platform HD981 80 miles within Vietnam's EEZ.This is not just an insult to the Vietnamese,but a blatant violation of Vietnamese sovereignty,a disrespect for laws and orders,a total contradiction to the peaceful rise image that the Chinese government has been fooling the world into believing.This aggression from China has not only angered all Vietnamese,but it has also strengthened our resolve,commitments,and united us all together in our fight to defend our sacred motherland. Being the victims of aggression,we reserve the rights to fight back with every means we've got,until we succeed in driving the Chinese rig off our maritime territory.In these days and age,no country should be allowed to resort to force to seize lands and seas from their smaller and weaker neighbours.We Vietnamese don't give up easily without putting up a good fight when it comes to the defence of our sacred motherland as history has proven.
In Response

by: Danny from: Sydney
May 17, 2014 8:57 PM
I totally agree with your comments, SEATO! China is a kind of terrible evil. We need to STOP China in all means!

by: jonathan huang from: canada
May 14, 2014 12:57 PM
targeting innocent civilians is coward behavior. Vietnam must stop this riot, or you gonna suffer economically afterward. BTW, not only were Chinese and Taiwanese factories targeted, but also Singapore Hongkong even Korean and Japanese companies were affected. What a bunch of low level thugs.
if you dare kill any Chinese, that will be a declaration of war! I warn you!
In Response

by: I'm Vietnamese from: HCMC
May 17, 2014 8:26 PM
@johnathan huang, You are nothing. Don't blam so much. The war between China and Vietnam is not controlled by you, so don't warn anyone here! BTW, look back your China government, what is the regime? It is vietcong, too. But it is worse than Vietnam because your gov is following the capitalism but is always blaming the capitalism. And please look back at you, the same with a lot of your people, you all are living in many other countries to steal everything (land, sea, rice, technologies, and even air). All the bad food, goods, equipment...come from china. The china is killing the World, it it the fact! Please look back and change your mind, your attitude!
In Response

by: jonathan huang from: canada
May 15, 2014 12:55 PM
@peacelover, I agree with you most Vietnamese are peaceful, but your greedy government is inciting bad people to do bad things. your greedy government steal oil from china sea but put all profit in their own pocket, your evil government uses cheap viet labor but keep them poor. a viet labor only got 1/5 the salary as a Chinese labor. your greedy government is slaving your ppl! stop listening to viet congs lies. south china sea belongs to china, leave china sea, we will be good friends. we Chinese will help your economy, we can even share the oil in south china sea with you. we are generous. but stop stealing our territory.
we Chinese are organizing protests in NY and Toronto this weekend. all Chinese please join us, we need to unit and show the world the truth!
In Response

by: Tuan from: VN
May 15, 2014 2:54 AM
It's a sensitive time. huang has posted up a stupid comment even if you claim to live in Canada. Base on so many of you comments I don't think you live in Canada. You are racist trouble maker chinese. I have seen so many chinese around the world, but only mainland chinese are greedy, stingy and filthy.
In Response

by: Hoang from: Canada
May 14, 2014 5:43 PM
Chinese, go home.
Jonathan, you should go back to china to fight. Chinese can only bully and threaten.
In Response

by: Peacelover from: Vietnam
May 14, 2014 4:24 PM
Most Vietnamese people felt ashamed for those riot overreactions. Things are in control now as those riots have been arrested. Many Vietnamese are advocating for peace for innocent Chinese people in Vietnam. However, things happened for a reason. Bullying is never accepted in this world. Chinese Government must be ashamed of their expansionist action. It is the Chinese Government that set the fire. May Peace be with the World and those who provoke or damage Peace will be punished sooner or later naturally.
In Response

by: Vu Le from: US
May 14, 2014 4:15 PM
Don't judge on Vietnamese, take that and think from China's government perspective. Before pulling the oil rig to its current area, China's gov can barely expect what will happen later. But they turned against their citizenships in foreign countries and went ahead with the plan. Now even when things already pop out, there is still no rescue programs to recover the side effects cause by their invade plan. If the gov really love their people, you or your parents wouldn't move to Canada, would you?
Also, about your words such "targeting innocent civilians is coward behavior" and "low level thugs", you must remember what happen with Japanese tourists and their business in China when Japan paid $26m to buy Senkaku islands right? So don't come back and stereotype when your own race (I guess) was the first record breaker.
Last but not least, going to war? That's no need to say when your mother land decided to send out $1b oil rig and over 80 coast guards ships to some others country's sea. Any petroleum engineers know that drilling oil from 1,200km deep sea isn't today's technology and what's up with the deployment of over 80 coast guard ships if you are "drilling" your own oil?
Ironic when there's a huge amount your Chinese never know that their country does have sea. Korea, Japan, Philippine, Vietnam's seas and islands, it seems easiest to mess with Vietnam since the other 3 is U.S allies huh?

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