News / Asia

    Chinese Worker Killed in Vietnam Protest

    • Protesters targeted an industrial area in Binh Duong. The crowd set everything on fire, from materials, computers, equipments to other machines.
    • Protesters set truck on fire during a protest against China in the southern province of Binh Duong.
    • Protesters gathered at Amata Industrial Park, Bien Hoa City, Dong Nai Province, Vietnam.
    • Protesters gathered at Amata Industrial Park, Bien Hoa City, Dong Nai Province, Vietnam.
    • A foreign company displays banner supporting Vietnam in Dong Nai.
    • A factory in Binh Duong was set on fire. Banner says “We love Vietnam. Please protect our rice bowl."
    • A factory in Binh Duong was set on fire. Banner says “We love Vietnam. Please protect our rice bowl."
    • Protesters gathered at Amata Industrial Park, Bien Hoa City, Dong Nai Province, Vietnam.
    • Protesters gathered at Amata Industrial Park, Bien Hoa City, Dong Nai Province, Vietnam.
    • A banner says “Our company is not a Chinese company” in Binh Duong.
    Factories Torched in Anti-China Protests in Vietnam
    Marianne Brown
    Vietnamese officials say one Chinese worker was killed after an anti-China protest turned violent at a steel factory in Vietnam. Tensions between the two countries see no sign of abating.  

    Nguyen Quang Hoan, an official in central Vietnam's Ha Tinh province, where the unrest took place, told VOA’s Vietnamese Service that thousands of Vietnamese participated in a peaceful anti-China protest that turned ugly in the end.

    “Officially, one person died and 149 people were injured. We have arrested 76 people involved and will prosecute these people who took advantage of the situation to undermine the operation of businesses in the area," Hoan said.

    A mob of around 1,000 people attacked Chinese workers at a Taiwanese-owned steel factory in central Vietnam, and officials said the fatality was the first reported as anti-China sentiment swept across Vietnam following China’s deployment of an oil rig in waters both countries claim.

    Hoan said authorities would do everything they can to prevent future incidents that have an impact on the investment environment.

    On Thursday, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said anti-China protests to express patriotism are ‘legitimate’. But he said those who violate laws and destroy foreign businesses would be ‘strictly dealt with’.

    The factory attack followed protests involving up to 20,000 people in Binh Duong province, near southern Ho Chi Minh City.

    Protesters have targeted Taiwanese factories believing they were mainland Chinese facilities. Taiwan is planning to provide charter flights to bring its citizens home according to officials in Taipei.

    Reports abound on social media of further protests in provinces across the country, but so far they are described as peaceful.

    At a news conference in Hanoi Thursday, government spokesman Le Hai Binh blamed the protests on “bad elements.”  

    He said the government and the majority of Vietnamese people condemn such violence.

    Officials in Cambodia say hundreds of Chinese nationals have arrived there from Vietnam. Spokesman Binh said he did not have information on this, but added that order has been restored and Vietnam would “take every measure necessary to ensure security and safety of the lives and property of foreign companies, including Chinese companies.”  

    Local media report [[http://tuoitrenews.vn/society/19660/vietnam-premier-requires-police-to-safeguard-foreign-investors]] that Vietnam’s prime minister has ordered government ministries to protect foreign investors and strictly punish those who have incited riots.

    The prime minister’s statement is significant, but Professor Jonathan London, of City University of Hong Kong, says, “One might worry whether it is sufficient, and it certainly comes rather late.”  

    "So you have coverage of the dispute on the high seas, and reports of the violence, but you don’t have any reportage of what this means, what are Vietnamese authorities saying about this. What are we to make of these events? So what the result is - a very disjointed flow of information that does not contribute to a stable political environment."  

    Although state media covered Tuesday's riots in Binh Duong province, the vast majority of information sharing has been via social media and blogs.  

    "I think leaving the public discourse up to cyberspace, with zero meaningful communication between the state and society. is ill advised. It’s strange because historically the state’s approach to these sorts of matters has been highly scripted guidance for what people should think and do - you know, 'the party line,'" said London.

    China is VIetnam’s biggest trading partner, and many fear escalating tensions could damage the economy.

    China’s foreign ministry had few details Thursday about the damage to Chinese businesses or how many Chinese citizens in Vietnam are affected. Authorities say Chinese diplomats are still traveling to affected areas to assess the situation. In Beijing, spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Vietnam has been urged to reduce tensions and restore order.

    She says, “The series of damaging looting-and-burning activities against Chinese companies in Vietnam has everything to do with connivance with anti-China forces.” The spokeswoman did not identify fully the “anti-China forces.”

    State television in China was surprisingly quiet on the situation Thursday. Stories on Chinese websites talked about the number of rioters Vietnamese authorities had taken into custody and warnings from authorities about traveling to Vietnam, but there was less discussion of the anti-Chinese furor in Vietnam over the oil rig.

    Some shared photos of damaged businesses appeared on the Weibo site (micro-blogs, comparable to Twitter or Facebook), but authorities were censoring many posts quickly.

    Observers say since both Vietnam and China show no signs of backing down, it remains unclear how they will reduce tensions.

    Trung Nguyen from VOA's Vietnamese service contributed to this report

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Sam Walton
    May 18, 2014 8:24 AM
    Why the world hate China? say the Japan, the Philippines, the Vietnam, the USA, the India...what China does if the world form alliance and beat China to stone age? What country will help with one billion refugees?

    by: SEATO
    May 16, 2014 4:52 PM
    There is evidence that Chinese agents were involved in stirring up troubles in Binh Duong industrial complex to give Vietnam a bad name.Don't forget Vietnam is home to several millions of Chinese.China adopted this strategy 2 years ago when they were protesting against the Japanese government's purchase of 2 islets on the Senkaku islands
    In Response

    by: HANNAH from: CHINA
    May 17, 2014 3:12 AM
    Shut up! u bad and disguting Japanese guys.

    by: Samurai from: Japan
    May 16, 2014 1:22 AM
    I would like to express sincere condolences to the killed. It is a very sad thing that Chinese communists gave birth to the current situation. They are so arrogant and so blind that they cannot be aware that other counties in the world and even Chinese nationals never respect PRC. All people in the world well know that Chinese leaders are trying to divert their nationals' complaints against the leaders' corruption, dirty air, toxic water and food, big economic divide, bubble economy benefiting only the leaders and officials, and the like to the affairs (troubles) with other countries. It is just normal that other countries to which PRC gives troubles are all in angry. PRC is a country of evil and peace destruction.
    In Response

    by: HANNAH from: CHINA
    May 16, 2014 4:56 AM
    Your Japanese government is also too bad. Your forefathers killed so many Chinese and Korean, raped many women .Morever, u guys never said you beg for forgiveness. Too cruel! Don't know why there is a country named Japan???

    by: JWL from: Vietnam
    May 16, 2014 1:19 AM
    American Vietnamese living in Vietnam are paying $10 per day for anti-Government people to riot in the name of patriotism against China. The public thinks it is about anti-China protests but it is actually about anti-Vietnam government.

    by: Tuan from: VN
    May 16, 2014 12:54 AM
    Taiwan companies hired thousand of mainland Chinese to work in factories in Vietnam. And they lived above the laws allowed by Vietnamese government thru corruption.
    Time to repay the criminal acts.

    by: Tuan from: VN
    May 16, 2014 12:44 AM
    To my understanding chinese people in VN were proctected by the Vietnamese government. Chinses people lived above the law. That was very stupid thing done by the vietnamese government. In that case chinese people harassed Vietnamese workers. The vietnamese workers had to swallow all the paint for years. Now they have a chance to unload that feelings.

    by: pat from: Canada
    May 15, 2014 8:57 PM
    In the name of patriotism they loot and kill.
    same as in the name of God they loot and Kill

    by: Jason from: USA
    May 15, 2014 12:13 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 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sino-Vietnamese_War). 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 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: Jonathan huang from: Canada
    May 16, 2014 12:44 AM
    Oh yeah, cry to big daddy again. Lol
    But America is only thinking dump more agent orange to monkeys heads. Haha
    Brainless monkeys are really stupid. You really think America would trust you viet cong?
    Go remove viet cong first, then America might come to your rescue, even the chance is still low. Look America didn't come to democratic Ukraines rescue yet. Haha
    Dream keep dreaming.
    In Response

    by: HANNAH from: CHINA
    May 15, 2014 11:02 PM
    WHY ALWAYS HURT ORDINARY PEOPLE?

    by: remie from: canada
    May 15, 2014 7:48 AM
    @jonathan huang, here comes your stupid comment again that everybody laughs at. Research your facts before you open that fowl mouth. And I mean not China history {fake} but other history from europe,etc.

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