News / Asia

Protests Target Chinese Factories in Vietnam

Passersby photograph a burned out vehicle after angry mobs burned and looted scores of foreign-owned factories in Binh Duong province, Vietnam, May 14, 2014. (User generated photo for VOA)
Passersby photograph a burned out vehicle after angry mobs burned and looted scores of foreign-owned factories in Binh Duong province, Vietnam, May 14, 2014. (User generated photo for VOA)
Marianne BrownTrung Nguyen
Vietnamese authorities have called for calm after thousands of workers in South Vietnam attacked factories believing them to be Chinese-owned.  

The unrest took place in one of Vietnam’s most important manufacturing centers in Binh Duong province.

This week, a sign on a factory gate tried to discourage attacks: “We are South Korean, no Chinese officials work at our company."

Another sign shows a Japanese flag and the words “We always support Vietnam.”

Photographs of the signs are being widely circulated on Facebook as many foreign factories try to ensure they are not mistaken for Chinese companies.   

Reports say up to 20,000 workers took to the streets to protest the deployment of a state-owned Chinese oil rig in Vietnamese waters. They targeted Taiwanese and Hong Kong factories believing them to be Chinese-owned.

State-run newspaper Tuoi Tre said on its English language site Wednesday some people “illegally rushed into office buildings… breaking glass and smashing valuable items.”

A report in the Thanh Nien newspaper said “some took advantage of the chaos to loot, commit arson and assault security guards”.

One woman who witnessed the protests but did not want to give her name said the situation over the last few days had been chaotic.

She said she was worried about workers in Chinese factories that had been broken into, and what this could lead to.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry urged Taiwanese businessmen in Vietnam to put up signs saying "Taiwan" in Vietnamese outside their factories, to avoid being mistaken for Chinese, state-run media reported.
 
  • 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.

In Beijing, China expressed serious concerns over the incident. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying spoke at a regular news conference Wednesday.  

She said China has urged Vietnamese authorities to do their utmost to stop such acts and punish those responsible and ensure the security of Chinese companies and employees.

Vietnamese authorities were quick to urge calm and send in police. Local media reported Wednesday afternoon that 191 people have been arrested, charged with causing public disorder and inciting workers to damage property.

But it is not just in Vietnam’s interests to calm anti-China sentiment for the peace of mind of foreign investors.

Although the altercation over the oil rig is an issue of sovereignty, there is a wider issue at stake too. China is Vietnam’s biggest trading partner, with total turnover reaching over $50 billion in 2013, up 22 per cent compared with a year earlier, according to the General Statistics Office.

Economist Le Dang Doanh said if China limits exports to Vietnam, it would be a “painful blow” to the Vietnamese economy.  

He said based on China’s aggressive actions, he did not exclude the possibility that China could use its economic strength to put pressure on Vietnam and the government should take active measures to minimize losses.

Although authorities say calm has been restored in Binh Duong, reports are circulating on social media of workers protesting in Vung Tau province, on Vietnam’s southern coast, and in Thai Binh in North Vietnam.

Vietnamese fishermen have alleged that Chinese forces recently blasted water cannons at them in the South China Sea, as the stand-off over a Chinese oil rig in contested waters shows no sign of easing.

The accusations come days after patrol ships from Vietnam and China exchanged water cannon spray in an area near the oil rig.  

Bui Van Phai of Ly Son Island, about 160 kilometers from the scene of the sea confrontation, said in an interview with VOA’s Vietnamese Service he had to return early from a fishing trip near the disputed Paracel Island.

“We were scared away. Some ships sustained damages from water cannon fire [from Chinese forces]. As China banned fishing boats near the oil rig, we had to go around to reach our usual fishing areas. From afar, I saw a lot of ships, including military ones, around the rig. We are more concerned than before," said Phai.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Vietnamese service.

You May Like

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid