News / Asia

    Anti-China Protesters Take to Streets of Hanoi

    Protesters chant anti-China slogans while standing at a war martyrs monument during an anti-China protest in Hanoi, July 1, 2012.
    Protesters chant anti-China slogans while standing at a war martyrs monument during an anti-China protest in Hanoi, July 1, 2012.
    Marianne Brown
    HANOI - Hundreds of people in Vietnam’s two major cities marched through the streets Sunday to protest China’s latest moves against Vietnamese sovereignty claims in the South China Sea. 

    Policemen outside the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi braced for the first anti-China protest in nearly a year. Just a few streets away, a large crowd was gathering, carrying banners and waving flags.

    Videos of the marches were almost immediately uploaded to the Internet.  

    Le Hien Duc, 83, who was at the protest says about 500 people gathered to attend the protest. Some had travelled long distances to be there. Duc says she took part because she wanted to show solidarity with her country against aggressive tactics by China.

    Videos of hundreds of protesters in Ho Chi Minh City shouting and holding posters with words like, "China, the World Hates Pirates, go home," were also posted online.

    Witnesses say no one at the protests was detained, but Phil Robertson from Human Rights Watch says prominent bloggers were prevented from attending.

    "We have reports of a number of bloggers and others who were either prevented from going to the protests or who appear to have been detained," he said. "I think what you have is a campaign of police harassment and intimidation to keep bloggers and others away from the protests."

    Many protesters wanted to show support for a law passed last week by Vietnam’s National Assembly. The Law on the Sea states Vietnam's sovereignty claims in the South China Sea, an area believed to be rich in minerals and gas, which is also claimed by China and other countries in the region.

    Beijing strongly criticized the new law, saying it was illegal.

    Just a few days later China invited foreign firms to bid on energy exploration in nine lots off the coast of Vietnam. Two of the lots overlap with Vietnam’s exploration contracts.

    The face-off is the latest in a decades-long disagreement, which came to a head last year when Vietnam accused China of cutting the cables of its oil exploration vessels in the area.  The confrontation sparked 11 weeks of rare street protests in Vietnam.

    Robertson said by detaining certain people beforehand, the government was trying to control the direction of the protest.

    "It reflects a larger concern about people’s exercise of freedom of association and public assembly, freedom of expression where the people who are most likely to use those rights, the people who really push the envelope, are the people that the government targets to try to keep away from these protests," said Robertson.

    Some of those at the protest said the area around the Chinese Embassy was cordoned off and guarded by police.

    Duc says the police should have allowed people to walk freely and not have blocked the Chinese embassy.

    Analysts say Vietnam and China use confrontations over the South China Sea to influence domestic public opinion and crack down only when public opinion gets out of hand.

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    by: Tran Hu from: Phnom Penh
    July 04, 2012 12:29 AM
    The World never mentioned the Vietnamese plundered Cambodian territory by land and by sea. Just recently, the robber Vietnam took away one more Cambodian island not talked about the entire southern Vietnam which undisputably belonged to Khmer Krom, and the Hanoi regime continues to encroach on Cambodian land everyday, needless to say about crazy Laos. It's very justified China claims all those islands of the South China Sea. Come one big brother, I love u, China.
    In Response

    by: DINH BAC from: VIETNAM
    July 05, 2012 11:35 PM
    Do you know who killed 2 million Cambodian people? It was Pol Pot regime. Do you know who taught Pol Pot regime how to kill its own people? It was China. Do you know who saved the rest of Cambodian population from being exterminated? It was Vietnam. Do you have any proof that the Southern Vietnam belongs to Cambodia? Not at all. So you are one of those who would like to invade Vietnam and occupy Southern Vietnam. Who teaches you that? Surely China. So you are pumkin-headed.
    In Response

    by: Truyen Dang from: VN
    July 04, 2012 9:03 AM
    China, your big brother that is the only country on this planet still supporting North Korea....what's wrong with your brother???
    In Response

    by: Reagan from: Vietnam
    July 04, 2012 8:54 AM
    VN may steal some land from Cambodia but the vietnamese did not kill cambodian people. Over 2 millions cambodian people were killed under Pol Pot regime. Do you know who support Pol Pot??, tell me the truth, do you want Pol Pot back to rule Cambodia again?? watch out when fooling around with a big brother who did not mind to kill his own people.

    by: micheal feng from: Hong Kong
    July 03, 2012 10:57 AM
    China will lose Vietnam again, whole the world hate Chinese already even people in HongKong and Taiwan.

    by: Anonymous
    July 03, 2012 12:08 AM
    chinese military should show its strength to other countries because south china sea belong to china in history. if the america continue to give support to vietnam to against and provoke chinese people, it is the time do teach vietnam a lesson.
    In Response

    by: Duong Le from: Hanoi
    July 04, 2012 7:06 AM
    We should remember of the past Chinese tribute world system in which China claimed to be the core while ALL other countries were lands of "naked creatures" who should pay tributes of all kinds (gold, silver, ivory, women, etc.) to Chinese kings. Chinese global take-over policies now aim exactly at the same goals, albeit (poorly) camouflaged.
    In Response

    by: bo doi from: Vietnam
    July 03, 2012 6:41 PM
    where were you in 1979???
    In Response

    by: Reagan from: Vietnam
    July 03, 2012 2:57 PM
    Well, you may need to re-learn the VN & China history. VN was invaded and occupied by many of chinese dynasties, The Tang Dynasty(618-907), The Ming Dynasty(1368-1644), and recently by your beloved communist party lead by Deng Xiaoping who also killed your own chinese people at Tiananmen Square...do you remember?? please do not ignore this tragedy! I feel sorry for those chinese people who were killed by their own leader. I love chinese people but I hate chinese communist government. The Chinese in mainland should stand up to ask for liberty and the right to choose their leader so Tiananmen wont be happened again.

    by: Xiao Yiqing from: CHINA
    July 02, 2012 12:45 PM
    To the south China has indisputable sovereignty!
    In Response

    by: Locke from: Vietnam
    July 03, 2012 5:54 AM
    You should base on historical data to jump into a conclusion. Frankly, the sea has been belonging to Vietnam. Don't even look into a fact with blind eyes

    by: Wangchuk from: NYC
    July 02, 2012 10:20 AM
    It's good the Vietnamese are protesting Chinese hegemony in the S. China Sea. The PRC invaded Vietnam in 1979 & fought a bloody war w/ them. The Chinese Empire once controlled Vietnam as a vassal state but the tough Vietnamese kicked them out. It seems the PRC empire wants to control Vietnam's waters now.
    In Response

    by: dahlia
    July 04, 2012 3:54 AM
    What about the Second Indochina war then? Poor Vietnam.

    by: remie from: canada
    July 02, 2012 8:12 AM
    @China, do i have to say it again South China Sea gets it name because sea is SOUTH of china. If what u chinese propaganda believe then Indian ocean belongs to India ,etc,etc. Also China just follow international law or do u feel u r above law? Last but not least STOP fabricating history and make China so great and mighty because per ratio u r not.
    In Response

    by: Locke from: Vietnam
    July 03, 2012 5:59 AM
    No, it is not acceptable. You cant say it because the sea is in the south of china. If so, you can say Pacific is south china ocean. Be calm and smart! The sea is Vietnamese. Yes, it is and will be forever!

    by: Carter from: China
    July 02, 2012 5:59 AM
    The South China Sea,which include the word China,can not be occupied by a country whose name is not China.It is obviously that some invaders are doing silly things.If the word is not enough,we will show more.
    In Response

    by: Reagan from: Viet Nam
    July 02, 2012 1:37 PM
    You may need to learn more english, The South China Sea means the ocean in the south of china. If it's read as The South Chinese Sea then it should be part of china. ok! we have defeated chinese empire before so go ahead show more.....

    by: Ale from: China
    July 02, 2012 12:42 AM
    where does the concept "South china sea" come from? it prove that china have the sovereignty of most of the island in south china sea
    In Response

    by: LE LOI from: VIETNAM
    July 03, 2012 12:54 AM
    China tends to claim every toilet in the world theirs because some of its bricks were made in China. How stupid and greedy you are!

    by: dconsultant from: Manila
    July 02, 2012 12:25 AM
    Philippines should follow Hanoi's move against China's bulliying act against small ASEAN countries. We should not allow China to claim territories not belonging to them.
    In Response

    by: Locke from: Vietnam
    July 03, 2012 6:02 AM
    Agree with dconsultant. we should be together to go against what is wrong. china will never get what do not belong to them!

    by: Anonymous
    July 01, 2012 11:35 PM
    where can I hear the news?
    Comments page of 2
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