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)
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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)
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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
 Previous    
by: phamd from: us
May 18, 2014 11:00 AM
Nobody like China.YAOUNDE, CAMEROON — The Nigerian Islamist sect Boko Haram has attacked Waza, in Cameroon's Far North Region, kidnapping 10 Chinese engineers and killing one Cameroonian soldier, according to local reports.The end of china soon happen .
In Response

by: UglyChina
May 19, 2014 12:07 AM
Vietnamese people. Take on the Evil China, fight till the last man.. just a few lines borrowed from The Exodus Song...

This land is mine, God gave this land to me
This brave and ancient land to me


....

If I must fight, I'll fight to make this land our own
Until I die, this land is mine

by: We just fade away
May 18, 2014 7:56 AM
The message is: Vietnam is still a safe destination for foreign investors, there is nothing to worry about.
In Response

by: Freedom_is_not_free from: USA
May 19, 2014 2:49 PM
Jole,


The currently Vietnamese Communist government is NOT trust-able. It put its own people in jail even peaceful protests. Even some artists wrote patriot songs were put in jail. The whole
Vietnam is a big jail. There was only Republic of Vietnam government (or South Vietnam government) did stand up with Chinese against invasion of Hoang-Sa. 74 Republic of Vietnam Navy had lost their lives to protect their country when Chinese invaded Hoang Sa in January 1974. Communist government has never say a word about these heroes. Captain Nguy Van Tha and his deputy Nguyen Thanh Tri scarified their lives to defense Hoang Sa. Vietnamese people in Manila, Philippines have more freedom to "love" their motherland than Vietnamese at Vietnam.
What a joke! Long live Vietnam. Down to Communism.
In Response

by: Jole
May 18, 2014 2:39 PM
We-Vietnamese people always trust in Government and strongly disagree with Chinese people's illegal actions.
And there will not any troubles more with foreign investors.

In Response

by: We just fade away
May 18, 2014 1:42 PM
... not for mainland chinese but the message "Vietnam is safe" again is intended for other non-mainland Chinese investors.
In Response

by: joe from: usa
May 18, 2014 12:30 PM
I don't think so if China is getting closer and closer.
In Response

by: Bart from: Japan
May 18, 2014 9:22 AM
It shows that Vietnamese government does not allow for a social total war with China and they are right in a two-folded sense. First of all, confronting China at the early stage of conflict is pointless, because there are still diplomatic ways of resolving the problem. Finally, the government shows that can not allow for an aggressive reaction of its citizens and manage the situation in a single-reply fashion as a righteous country.
Comments page of 2
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