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

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra 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.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid