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

Photogallery Strong Words Start, May End, S. African Xenophobic Attacks

President Jacob Zuma publicly condemned rise in attacks on foreign nationals but critics say leadership has been less than welcoming to foreign residents More

Video Family Waits to Hear Charges Against Reporter Jailed in Iran

Reports in Iran say Jason Rezaian has been charged with espionage, but brother tells VOA indictment has not been made public More

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Action to Stabilize Libya

Amnesty International says multinational concerted humanitarian effort must be enacted to address crisis; decrepit boats continue to bring thousands of new arrivals daily More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs