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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid