News / Asia

    Deadly Anti-Chinese Riots Spread in Vietnam

    A firefighter runs as Taiwanese bicycle factory Tan Than Industries burns in Di An Town, Binh Duong province, May 14, 2014.
    A firefighter runs as Taiwanese bicycle factory Tan Than Industries burns in Di An Town, Binh Duong province, May 14, 2014.
    Reuters
    A huge foreign steel project was set ablaze in Vietnam as riots spread in response to China deploying an oil rig in seas claimed by both countries, with reports of fatalities and hundreds of Chinese workers fleeing tensions in industrialized zones.
     
    A doctor at a hospital in central Ha Tinh province on Thursday said five Vietnamese workers and 16 other people described as Chinese were killed in rioting Wednesday night, in one of the worst breakdowns in Sino-Vietnamese relations since the neighbors fought a brief border war in 1979.
     
    “There were about a hundred people sent to the hospital last night. Many were Chinese. More are being sent to the hospital this morning,” the doctor at Ha Tinh General Hospital told Reuters by phone.
     
    Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh confirmed one death in the clashes, describing media reports and accounts on social networking sites of higher casualties as “groundless.”
     
    China's state news agency Xinhua reported that at least two Chinese nationals had died and more than 100 were hospitalized.
     
    The anti-China riots erupted in industrial zones in the southern part of the country Tuesday to protest Beijing placing an oil rig in a part of the South China Sea claimed by Hanoi.
     
    Taiwanese firms, mistaken by the rioters as being owned by mainland Chinese, have borne the brunt of the violence.
     
    Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung called on police and state and local authorities to restore order and ensure the safety of people and property.
     
    The Planning and Investment Ministry blamed the clashes on “extremists” and warned that they could seriously affect Vietnam’s investment environment.
     
    Formosa Plastics Group, Taiwan's biggest investor in Vietnam, said a steel plant under construction in Ha Tinh was set on fire after fighting between its Vietnamese and Chinese workers. One Chinese worker was killed and 90 others injured, it said in a statement in Taipei.
     
    It was not immediately clear if the casualties were among those admitted to the Ha Tinh hospital.
     
    The plant is expected to be Southeast Asia's largest steel-making facility when it is completed in 2017. No details of fire damage or financial losses were immediately available, the company said.
     
    Industrial park an economic mainstay
     
    The Ha Tinh industrial park, estimated to cost more than $20 billion, is half built and due to be completed in 2020. Such industrial zones are the backbone of Vietnam's $138 billion economy. The country has 190 registered industrial parks employing about 2.1 million people. Last year, they manufactured products worth $38 billion in exports, or 30 percent of Vietnam's total export revenue.
     
    China expressed serious concern over the mayhem and urged Vietnam to punish criminals and compensate victims. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying suggested Hanoi had turned a blind eye to the protesters: “The looting and stealing that has taken place at Chinese businesses and to Chinese people has a direct relationship with Vietnam's winking at and indulging law breakers there.”
     
    A top Chinese general defended China's deployment of the oil rig, saying Beijing can't afford to “lose an inch” of territory and blaming Vietnam for stirring up trouble by dispatching ships in an attempt to “disrupt” Chinese activity.
     
    “It's quite clear ... who is conducting normal activity and who is disrupting it,” Gen. Fang Fenghui, chief of the general staff of the Chinese army, told a news conference in Washington after talks with senior U.S. military officials.
     
    He also said some countries in the region had seized upon President Barack Obama's so-called pivot to Asia, using it as an opportunity to create trouble in the South and East China Seas.
     
    A call for calm
     
    The U.S. State Department called on all parties to refrain from violence. “While we support people's right to protest, we do not in any way support violence against Chinese-affilliated businesses or firms in Vietnam,” spokeswoman Marie Harf said.
     
    Although the two Communist neighbors have close economic and political ties, Vietnamese resentment against China runs deep, rooted in feelings of national pride and the struggle for independence after decades of war and more than 1,000 years of Chinese colonial rule.
     
    The dispute in the South China Sea has sparked anger on both sides. Dozens of vessels from the two countries are around the oil rig, and both sides have accused the other of intentional collisions, increasing the risk of a confrontation.
     
    Vietnamese are also angered by what they call exploitation of its raw materials and resources by Chinese firms, and say although bilateral trade is over $50 billion annually, Chinese investment in Vietnam is only around $2.3 billion.
     
    Chinese workers fleeing
     
    Thousands of Vietnamese set fire to foreign factories and rampaged through industrial zones in Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces near Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday, officials said. Protests continued on Wednesday.
     
    Hundreds of Chinese working in the zones have fled, most to neighboring Cambodia.
     
    “Yesterday more than 600 Chinese people from Vietnam crossed at Bavet international checkpoint into Cambodia,” Cambodian National Police spokesman Kirt Chantharith told Reuters.
     
    Bavet is on a highway stretching from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam's commercial center, to Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh.
     
    At Ho Chi Minh City airport, scores of Chinese were arriving in large groups, queuing to grab tickets or get on the first flights to Malaysia, Cambodia, Taiwan, Singapore and China.
     
    “People don't feel safe here, so we just want to get out of Vietnam,” said Xu Wen Hong, who works for an iron and steel company and bought a one-way ticket to China.
     
    In Binh Duong province alone, police said 460 companies had reported some damage to their plants, local media reported.
     
    About 600 people were arrested for looting and inciting the crowd, the state-run Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper quoted  the police chief of Binh Duong province as saying.

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: SEATO
    May 16, 2014 8:13 AM
    The best and most effective way to prevent further anti-Chinese protests and violence is for China to respect Vietnam's sovereignty and territorial integrity by pulling the oil rig HD981 and all Chinese warships out of Vietnamese waters.Vietnamese government's connivance at letting foreign companies employ so many Chinese labourers in Vietnam's industrial complexes is another contributor to the problem that needs to be dealt with .

    Foreign investments are supposed to provide jobs and security for local Vietnamese.No foreign companies should be allowed to bring in large number of Chinese labourers who enjoy better pays,working conditions and preferential treatments,are factors contributing to the riots between Vietnamese and Chinese workers in Ha Tinh province.Job priority should be for the Vietnamese.No concession to China with regards to Job opportunity or sovereignty

    by: So So from: US
    May 16, 2014 5:06 AM
    I think China's next moves may include the turning on of a pit bull named North Korea in the northeast neighborhood by extending the leash a little longer and loosening its collar a little bit wider.
    In Response

    by: So So from: Dong Nai
    May 16, 2014 10:03 AM
    ... and this time around, Park, Abe and Obama may not hold back.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora