News / Asia

Vietnam Security Forces Detain Anti-China Protesters

Vietnamese policemen bring protesters onto a bus after breaking up an anti-China demonstration in Hanoi, Vietnam, Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011
Vietnamese policemen bring protesters onto a bus after breaking up an anti-China demonstration in Hanoi, Vietnam, Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011
Marianne Brown

Police in Hanoi rounded up dozens of people at an anti-China rally in the center of Hanoi on Sunday as they gathered for the 11th week of protests.  

When 50 people gathered on the edge of Hoan Kiem lake in the capital, it was for an event that has become a regular occurrence in the capital over the past few months.

Marching past large groups of plain-clothed and uniformed police, the group waved banners and shouted slogans saying the Paracel and Spratly islands belong to Vietnam.

Demonstrators have turned out in Hanoi every Sunday for about 10 weeks to protest Chinese actions in the South China Sea. The government says Chinese vessels have deliberately interfered with oil exploration activities in disputed waters off its shores.

At previous protests, there has been a festival spirit among the crowds, with participants singing songs and chatting to friends. But this time there was a more menacing atmosphere.  

After a few minutes an empty bus pulled up alongside them. A group of men in plain clothes caught hold of some of the protesters and dragged them into the bus. Soon it was full of people, many still chanting.

The crackdown comes days after Hanoi People's Committee called a halt to the protests, warning that the government would apply "necessary measures" against those who failed to comply.

The announcement charged that in recent days, opposing forces within and outside the country have been inciting and guiding the demonstrations. It demanded that the participants stop all activities and gatherings in the city.

Phil Robertson from Human Rights Watch contests the statement.

"In many cases it’s ordinary Vietnamese who, out of their own patriotic feeling are unhappy with what China has been doing and they are taking part," said Robertson. "To smear them with a brush that they are revolutionary elements - there is no evidence to support this."

On Friday, a group of 25 prominent intellectuals, including a retired war hero, sent a petition to the committee contesting the order.  The document denied the protests were connected to outside forces, saying they presented a good image of people’s patriotism.  Robertson said the government themselves may be divided over what to do with the protesters.  

"It’s very interesting that the official order had an official stamp on it but no one had signed it. One wonders whether there is some degree of division within the Vietnam government, trying to incarcerate people who are raising concerns about China’s foreign policy towards Vietnam," said Robertson.  

The arrests on Sunday echo a similar crackdown on July 17, when 40 protesters were bundled into buses and driven to the police station where they were detained for several hours.

The incident followed initial negotiations between China and Vietnam over the territory dispute where both sides agreed to “steer public opinion in the correct direction.”

However, the protests were allowed to continue after footage posted on the internet showing a policeman beating one of the protesters attracted widespread public condemnation.

Professor Carl Thayer from the University of New South Wales in Australia says suppression of similar protests in Ho Chi Minh City after just two weeks also generated negative press.   

"The heavy-handiness of the crackdown in Ho Chi Minh City really rebounded against the government, there was real anger at that," said Thayer.  

But the crackdown in the South succeeded in putting people off forming more protests.  

As relatives and friends of those detained in Hanoi wait for news of their loved ones, it is unclear whether or not the latest crackdown marks an end to last ten weeks of rare public demonstrations in the communist country.

You May Like

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify Power Base

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs