News / Asia

Vietnam Cracks Down on Anti-China Protests

A protester gestures as he marches during an anti-China protest in Vietnam's southern Ho Chi Minh city, May 18, 2014.
A protester gestures as he marches during an anti-China protest in Vietnam's southern Ho Chi Minh city, May 18, 2014.
Marianne Brown
Protests against China’s deployment of an oil rig in waters claimed by Vietnam were shut down by police on Sunday. The move follows a week of demonstrations, with some turning violent.

There was a heavy police presence outside the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi Sunday morning, with a park used by protesters last week fenced off.

The few demonstrators who turned up were quickly surrounded by police, who tried to prevent them from speaking to reporters. Le Thien Nhan, a regular participant on anti-China protests, was one of them.

He said several of his friends wanted to join the protest Sunday morning but were prevented from leaving their homes by police.

Several protesters were detained by police in Ho Chi Minh City. In Hanoi, while speaking to VOA, a 22-year-old protester was shoved by plain-clothes police until they eventually dragged him and his friend away.

One policewoman said gatherings were “illegal” in the area.
Sign on road opposite the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam, May 18, 2014 (Marianne Brown/VOA)Sign on road opposite the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam, May 18, 2014 (Marianne Brown/VOA)
Sign on road opposite the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam, May 18, 2014 (Marianne Brown/VOA)
Sign on road opposite the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam, May 18, 2014 (Marianne Brown/VOA)

It’s a dramatic turnaround for the government, which just last week sanctioned large protests across the country. However, during the week riots linked to the protests broke out in industrial parks in South and Central Vietnam, with two Chinese workers killed and around 100 others injured.

Some observers have speculated that the riots gathered momentum over poor factory conditions rather than anti-China sentiment.

At a press conference on the riots on Saturday officials attempted to reassure investors. Officials said that the situation was now under control and companies affected would be compensated for their losses.

Dang Minh Khoi, assistant to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, said the protests had "badly impacted the business activities of enterprises, people’s lives and social order, creating a bad image for Vietnam’s investment environment."

Lieutenant General Hoang Kong Tu, chief of the Ministry of Public Security’s Investigation Department, told reporters that hundreds of people had been arrested.
Anti-China protester surrounded by police in Hanoi, Vietnam, May 18, 2014 (Marianne Brown/VOA)Anti-China protester surrounded by police in Hanoi, Vietnam, May 18, 2014 (Marianne Brown/VOA)
Anti-China protester surrounded by police in Hanoi, Vietnam, May 18, 2014 (Marianne Brown/VOA)
Anti-China protester surrounded by police in Hanoi, Vietnam, May 18, 2014 (Marianne Brown/VOA)
The Ministry of Public Security has been criticized for acting too slowly, but Tu said the government’s response had been “timely”. It had reacted in a proactive and drastic manner to mitigate losses, he said.

The dispute over the oil rig shows no sign of abating. Vietnam said China has increased the number of vessels at the area to 130 vessels, including four navy ships.

China has evacuated over 3,000 citizens from Vietnam following the riots, official news agency Xinhua reported.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung sent a series of text messages to subscribers of state-run mobile phone networks calling for people to show their patriotism but not to get involved in “illegal” protests. The first of such messages were sent Thursday.

What exactly constitutes an “illegal” protest remains unclear, however the message sent by police on Sunday suggests the government will not allow space for more anti-China protests any time soon.

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Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: oldlamb from: Guangzhou
May 19, 2014 8:29 AM
Because China set up an oil rig in the Sisa Islets(the Paracel Islands) of South China Sea,the tension between China and Vietnam has been escalating.Vietnam lauched a strong diplomatic propaganda war for the supporting from the global media. Vietnam seems is winning the puplic opinion superficially.But to review the history and to survey the specifics of the islets,you may accept that China has the right to set up this oil rig in the Sisa Islets.

What if US government declared that the Sisa Islets belong to Vietnam in the upcoming days?The most obvious conclusion would expose the hypocritical face of US government.
In Response

by: Ron2
May 19, 2014 2:19 PM
I do not think any country can unilaterally decide who is wrong and who is right in an international dispute such as this one. The world is complaining about China’s action because China has unilaterally decided that they are right and others are wrong in the dispute. The US is not taking sides in this dispute. If the US did take sides, still it does not mean that the US was right.

Even in an international court such as this International Court of Arbitration, all parties involved in the lawsuit would need to agree to submit to and recognize the authority of the court for the arbitration to work. If I was China I would not want to have anything to do with it, I would just simply ignore it, I am strong enough to defend myself militarily and economically. But if China did go to the court to make its case in the proceedings and China lost, then it would be very difficult for China to back out of it.

by: Temujin
May 19, 2014 1:46 AM
Vietnam should take this oppotunity to nullified the communism and full fledge to democracy instead of cracked down of peaceful protests just because few bad apples in the crowd. How do we know so sure these bad apples are people from the Vietnam government?

by: philstrawman from: las vegas, nevada
May 18, 2014 6:01 PM
Don't read into every single move/event of every hour.
There is a saying: China-Vietnam relationship is like the weather; it's sunshine in the morning and rain storm in the afternoon.
In Response

by: Van Vong
May 19, 2014 12:33 AM
Thanks to General Dempsey. he got VN, and the Philippine confused that they may get rich soon. he called that "we are Pivoting to Asia!". Middle East will be in peace for while ..amen...Here is what i dont understand why the Chinese gave Vietnam Tanks, guns, munitions in their war killing us American. They had training base specifically for Viet cong's pilot in Kunming too. More ridiculous, they opened their border for Russian aids to Vietnam. all that for killing American. there we go. they had their Karma. My dad served the US Army during the war. I guess he didnt even expect thing would turn like this nowadays.

by: Faye Faye
May 18, 2014 3:35 PM
When foreigners identified themselves not being from China, their factories continued to be looted and set on fire, because, vietnamese hate to see foreigners living a better life than them.

Do people know that the oil rig is only 17 miles from a Chinese island but 140 miles from vietnam ? That is the point that America's news media try not to tell readers.
In Response

by: BZN from: US
May 19, 2014 10:46 PM
@FayeFaye, you paid red commie china troll dog. I find you here too. I see you every web page that has to do with china aggression, whether it has to do with Japan, Vietnam or Philippines.

You and your other china troll dogs are all over the internet trying to twist things around to sound like china is the innocent victim from its own aggression in Asia.

I have a quiz for you, you china troll:
1. how many countries in the world don't like china - many. Do I need to count for you?

2. How many countries in the world like china and consider china a friend (can't count the ones bought and paid for by china through economic assistance? Can you show us all here if you can count - you paid red commie china troll dog.

BTW, how come you don't have your own picture here like you do on other web pages - you know, the one that shows a white puppy dog...
In Response

May 19, 2014 4:53 AM
Paracel islands were seized by force from Vietnam in 1974. They are controlled by China but claimed by Vietnam,and is therefore considered as disputed territory.Tri Ton islet is the southernmost of the Paracel islands.It is more or less a rock and can not sustain life,can only have 12 mile maritime boundary.Beyond that 12 mile boundary,it is Vietnam's Exclusive Ecconomic Zone as set out by the UNCLOS 1982. It is wrong and slandering to say that Vietnamese are jealous of better off Chinese,especially only some Chinese are better off than Vietnamese.Riots in Ha Tinh province resulted from ongoing conflicts between Chinese and Vietnamese workers. Foreign investments are supposed to create jobs and security for the local population.Taiwan and China can not just exploit local resources without benefiting local people.That is why China businesses in Africa have been widely condemned and have led to a lot of attacks on Chinese there.China is simply trying to stir up nationalistic feelings among Chinese to divert attention from terrorism,corruption and injustice back home by waging some stupid and unreasonable wars with their neighbours.The money could be better off spending on the welfare of the Chinese.Do some studies before you make any comment
In Response

by: John Lone
May 19, 2014 1:41 AM
Chinese island? not by a long shot! the island you were talking about is part of Paracel island chain and still very much in disputed, the world and Vietnam do not recognized it is belong to china as way as the Senkaku islands. China robbed Paracel island from Vietnam in 1974. Need go back to school and learn some basic history.
In Response

by: Tuan from: Vietnam
May 19, 2014 1:41 AM
Chinese stole islands from Vietnam. That is what you try to forget to mention
In Response

by: k nguyen
May 19, 2014 1:28 AM
do you know Chinese island that you call .Is it has a prove ?
In Response

by: Sophie
May 19, 2014 12:03 AM
Get your fact right. It's 17 miles from a DISPUTED island and 140 miles from Vietnam, which is well within Vietnam's 200 miles exclusive economic zone, in accordance with UNCLOS 1982, which China also signed
In Response

by: Jef
May 18, 2014 11:55 PM
"America's news media" is free and not under the control of the CPC, the VCP or anyone else.
In Response

by: Jef
May 18, 2014 11:44 PM
The problem is the "island" or islands you are referring to are still in dispute. Do people know what "dispute" mean?
In Response

by: Ian from: USA
May 18, 2014 11:22 PM
Chinese people seem to be worst liars .
The island group Paracel which the Chinese are mentioning here were stolen by Chinese from South Vietnam in 1974 .
So even those islands are not even legally belong to China
In Response

by: ethan from: Chicago
May 18, 2014 11:16 PM
Which chinese island is that?
Paracel? that island is also in dispute

May 18, 2014 3:17 PM
Washington Post:
China’s latest move, which came as a surprise to Vietnam and other nations, undermines Beijing’s insistence that strong relations within the region are its top foreign policy priority. It also calls into question China’s commitment to its current working-group talks with Vietnam on joint resource development in the South China Sea.
The United States has said it won’t take a stand on the sovereignty dispute and has called on the two parties to resolve their differences peacefully. This is not enough: The United States ought to call China’s bluff and make clear the real stakes. The United States and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should present a unified front in refusing to recognize unilateral assertions of claims in disputed territories.
Even more important, the United States must be prepared to give life to its rhetorical position. Although it does not have a treaty obligation to defend Vietnam, its rebalancing to Asia is premised on its role as the primary guarantor of stability in the Pacific. Chinese actions challenge that.
Vietnam has reiterated its commitment to peacefully resolve the dispute. If China does not reciprocate, the United States should be prepared to offer support to Vietnam through an increased naval presence. This would give Washington the ability to assess Chinese capabilities and to help de-escalate the situation. Other options, such as restrictions on CNOOC’s activities in the United States, could also be considered. If the United States can’t back up its words with actions, its credibility in promising to uphold peace and stability in the region will be gutted.

In Response

by: Mod from: China
May 18, 2014 9:39 PM
I find u r a vitm......funny ......

by: lê lâm from: tpHCM
May 18, 2014 2:03 PM
Protest against china are prohibited by Vietnam's police force and resulted in jail? Here are someone in the top tier of Vietname Police had been paid off by the Chinese. LOL

by: George from: USA
May 18, 2014 1:35 PM
Seemed like Vietnam finally realized that the protests against China's installing the oil rig in China owned territory was not right. The protesters killed and burned foreign countries' (like Korea's and Taiwan's, etc.) investments in Vietnam only showed that how Vietnam is a aggressive and violent country. The Rig is only 17 miles from China owned island but 170 miles from Vietnam shore. Vietnam may subjectively claim everything is its but should not use force to phisically disturb China to operate the rig in the territory owned, administered and controlled by China. Vietnam is an aggressor.
In Response

by: Ernie from: Canada
May 18, 2014 9:02 PM
@george, first get your Internatinal law of the sea right and not china propaganda . The rig is 17 miles from Chinese claim island but Internatinal law state main body of country not some little island. Therefore it is in Vietnam eez area .
Second you r mistaken, greedy china claim everything. Did u not see the 9 dash line? Or Chinese news ignore that important fact
Last but not least, u should read facts and history not only from china but from Europe, America, Vietnam, etc ... And then open your mouth with ammo(facts) because you sound like a bias chinaman

In Response

by: Ricky from: USA
May 18, 2014 6:52 PM
Please educate yourself before you post something for others to read.
In Response

by: Freedom 4All from: USA
May 18, 2014 5:59 PM
So, when the chinese demonstrators burned and destroyed Japanese business in China last year simply because Japanese bought Senkaku island from her citizen to avoid the owner of the trouble dealing with China, is called "peaceful demonstration" and now, the Vietnamese demonstrators responded to illegal invasion of VN territorial waters and violation act by China to VN coast guard, you call VN aggressive and violence?

BTW, the islands you mentioned were taken by force by China from VN in 1974. China does not have legal ownership of the island and have been repetitively refusign to go to International court to settle the dispute.

In Response

by: chiny from: saigon
May 18, 2014 5:43 PM
You are too baby to learn Paracel islands history,
red communist china took over the islands by force in Jan 19, 1974 away from the South Vietnamese government. Red china signed the law of sea sovereignty in 1982.

by: Tayloc from: Toronto
May 18, 2014 12:49 PM
China only has the gut to bully small countries like VN. They should have learned the history lessons from their imperialistic ambitions to VN in the last 4000 years. In every invasion, they faced a strong counter attach from the Vietnamese people and had to run back to their country with the tail between their legs. This time it will not be different! VN has gained strong support from its neighbours and the world will not accept China's bullying behaviour!
In Response

by: Adam from: Paris
May 19, 2014 12:32 AM
Everything must base on international rule and regulation. In this case, we have to base on UNCLOS and DOC that both Vietnam and China signed.

Base on UNCLOS and DOC, I think China invaded in Vietnam territory. This is an unacceptable action from China so China must stop their wrong-doing immediately!

by: meanbill from: USA
May 18, 2014 12:25 PM
Protests are only allowed by the Vietnam government, (and if they get out of control), they could lead to future troubles for the Vietnam government in controlling them? -- Vietnam and China will settle their disagreements through their usual diplomatic channels.... because organized street protests of any kind, lead to disorganized governments, and are not to be tolerated in communist countries?
In Response

by: We just fade away
May 18, 2014 9:54 PM
Vietnam has a large and well trained police force. The head of the force is a cabinet level post. Its members are well treated and loyal to the communist party. They are very capable in dealing with any unrest in the country.
As for the dispute, a diplomatic solution does not seem to be possible any time soon.

In Response

by: tai from: usa
May 18, 2014 9:35 PM
George if you live in the United States, you should know &read the map about china sea. That island they stolen from Vietnam in 1974, china territory is far way & they claim all china sea are them.

by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
May 18, 2014 11:02 AM
The message is viet cong is still in control. It can inciting ppl to rob and loot, it also can make ppl sh ut up.

Most of spratly islands are more than 200 miles away from viet, they are not in Viets EEZ. Taiwan Published the China sea map in 1947, no country was against the map until oil found at the bottom. Viet is the one breaching the international laws.
The world must unit and contain this monster.
In Response

by: k nguyen
May 19, 2014 1:41 AM
you need to study more ! idiot.
In Response

by: Sophie
May 19, 2014 12:07 AM
Lol, wrong islands here. It's the Paracel Islands they're talking about, so your argument is invalid.

1947 maps invented by Chinese government, that's a very reliable source!!! How about no?
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