News / Asia

Hundreds in Vietnam Protest Chinese Oil Rig

Around 500 people gather in a park in central Hanoi to protest China's deployment of an oil rig in contested waters in the South China Sea, May 11, 2014. (Marianne Brown/VOA)
Around 500 people gather in a park in central Hanoi to protest China's deployment of an oil rig in contested waters in the South China Sea, May 11, 2014. (Marianne Brown/VOA)
Marianne Brown
Hundreds of people across Vietnam took part in protests Sunday morning days after Vietnamese and Chinese vessels were reported sparring near a Chinese oil rig in disputed waters in the South China Sea.

Hundreds of people across Vietnam took part in anti-China demonstrations Sunday to protest China’s deployment of an oil rig near the Paracel islands, which both countries claim.

In a highly unusual move, the protests were covered in state-run media. Such protests are usually strictly controlled by police and participants are often prevented from attending.

In Hanoi around 500 people gathered in a park opposite the Chinese embassy - the biggest anti-China protest to take place here for many years.

Some banners read “China back off from Vietnamese waters,” and “the Paracel and Spratly islands belong to Vietnam”. One poster, which was perhaps telling of the mood read: “We entirely trust the Party, the government and the People’s Army.”

Earlier this week Vietnamese and Chinese vessels clashed near a Chinese state-owned oil rig in disputed waters in the South China Sea. Vietnam accused the Chinese ships of repeatedly ramming the Vietnamese ships and using water cannon, injuring six crewmen. Beijing said Vietnam continues to send ships to the area, threatening Chinese personnel.

One protester, Thanh, said she believes many people were worried about how the situation might escalate.

"If the war really happens between Vietnam and China it will be very bad for the people. My family live in Cao Bang, and before in 1979 the war happened between China. All houses were destroyed. We live really close to the China border so we are really afraid about this," she said.

Although the road to the Chinese embassy building itself was blocked by police, the crowd had an uninterrupted view of the gates. Several regular protest participants said it was the first time they had been allowed to protest so close to the Chinese embassy.

However, not everyone was taking their freedom to protest for granted.

Huu Ngoc Lam is a regular participant.  He said before he joined the gathering, he told his wife to take his motorbike home if he was detained by police.

He said even though he was nearly 70 years old, he was a patriot and was not scared of the police, eliciting applause from the crowd.

The confrontation over the islands, which Chinese forces seized from then South Vietnam in 1974, has raised fears of growing tensions between the two countries.

During a visit to Hanoi Thursday, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel urged both sides to "refrain from unilateral actions”.

Foreign ministers from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations issued a statement Saturday ahead of Sunday’s ASEAN summit expressing concern and urging restraint by all parties.

Beijing claims nearly all of the South China Sea, which contains key shipping lanes and is believed to be rich in oil and gas deposits.

Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei have competing claims to different areas of the sea, as does Taiwan.

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by: sam from: India
May 15, 2014 12:12 PM
Every country has the right to live for their freedom. Even Vietnam is a peaceful country. So Vietnamese don't need the war situation to be happens in their country. Peace is the key of success. But if someone will unintentionally try to trap the peace and freedom, then it is unacceptable. There are certain matter in which things can be resolved peacefully if both the countries will try their best instead of making things worse. I Wish everything will be fine soon, we shouldn't forget the rights of Humanities after all we all are human, Freedom and Peace should be in first priority.


by: Nigeshabi from: Canada
May 13, 2014 12:55 PM
The boundary between China and Vietnam in South China Sea was well recognized by Vietnam by written form in 1950s, later on Vietnam changed its mind and claimed almost half of South China Sea as it territory. Does civilized world allow this?

Vietnam set up oil rigs and extracted tons and tons oil and gas from disputed waters with China, without caring about Chinese protest. Actually China want to cooperate with Vietnam, but Vietnam refused to cooperate, even now, Vietnam is extracting huge amount of oil and gas from disputed waters with China. Does civilized world allow this aggressive behavior without any cooperation by Vietnam?

China just set up an oil rig close to one of its city (sansha city) and also close to mainland China, why only blame China? Does civilized people only blame one side and are blind on the other side?

Confused why some people here like to blame others or blame one side by prejudice without enough knowledge?

In Response

by: Alight from: Viet Nam
June 06, 2014 12:26 AM
We are the one who is lack of knowledge or are you the one who is lack of knowledge. When sth CLOSE to you, it DOESN'T mean it BELONG to you. It's like because you put your pen next to me => It is closer to me then you are => Doesn't mean it belong to me. (Understand).

In Response

by: hung trinh from: USA
May 19, 2014 9:56 PM
Sansha is that a dummy city build by chinese after china took the island from Viet Nam in 1974 by force?


by: Seato
May 13, 2014 10:42 AM
China's claim over 80% of the South China Sea back in May 2009 is simply absurd,stupid and unacceptable.Look at the tongue shape that cuts right into all the coastal states's EEZ.These historical waters have been fishing grounds for Vietnamese,Filippinos and Malays for thousands of years, and China only claimed it recently.China would not get its way.The civilised world would not let it happen


by: meanbill from: USA
May 12, 2014 6:32 PM
China has told the world, that they have suffered over a hundred years of humiliation, by "Gunboat Treaties" and "Unequal Treaties" forced upon them by the US, Europeans, Russia, and Japan, "and they will never ever give up one inch of the motherland again" - wherever that sovereign inch of land may be?
AND they want to settle all National disputes peacefully, in one on one talks? -- And China possesses ancient maps showing whatever they say is Chinese land -- (BEFORE?) -- the "Gunboat Treaties" and "Unequal Treaties" forced upon them by the US, Europeans, Russia, and Japan.... (It's true)..

In Response

by: Hoang from: Canada
May 13, 2014 7:08 AM
China always cry the victim. Meanwhile it uses sneaky tactics to invade territories from all its neighbours, Tibet, Russia, Vietnam, India, Korea, Laos, part of old soviet union.
Communist Vietnam has made many land and sea concessions to China and shame our ancestors and future generations. But China's goal is to claim Vietnam to be part of China. China took over Vietnam for 1000 years but our heroic ancestors fought many times to dispel Chinese domination. Tibet was invaded by China in 1950's but the world shamefully allow China to claim Tibet is part of China.


by: FairyGu from: America
May 12, 2014 9:54 AM
Im so fed up with the so called the South China Sea! How ridiculous it is! This can make many people more confused! Instead, change it into Paracel Inslands since it wasn't and never belongs to China, If possible, learn history and unilateral Agreements 1992 & 2012 which China has ever signed before but now rejected it. That's simple to see that China nowadays always invades and provokes other neighbors, just because that they never comply with legitimate regulations.


by: peacelover from: east
May 11, 2014 9:11 PM
Vietnam had built lot of oil rigs in disputed waters, why china can not? i am very confessed. who can tell me?

In Response

by: Anonymous
May 12, 2014 12:02 PM
China can do in its water, not in other countries'. Can you cook, sleep and do your things in other people's house without their permission? The sea is called South China Sea but not necessary mean it belonging to China. It belong to Vietnam by international laws, and already acknowledged by the Chinese govt.

In Response

by: Trang
May 12, 2014 8:23 AM
Why do your house need a legal document ? Why dont you let any strangers come into your house and say to you that that is their house, not yours ? Its not fair.China is a big country and stronger than Vietnam.You should know about that.We dont like war.We had wars in the past so we , ourselve ,love peace than any other one and know well the cost of war.You should do more research to understand more about this.Thanks.

In Response

by: Lam from: Viet Nam
May 12, 2014 4:21 AM
That waters are belong to Vietnam from ancient times until now, but now suddenly China claimed that's their. Absurd!
China also rampage when crashing into fishermen's boats Vietnam while China's Foreign Ministry said that they want to settle in peace. Lying!
Don't believe in China's government, they're always lying !


by: peacelover from: east.
May 11, 2014 9:08 PM
In order to help Vietnam, many chinese died. Lots of chinese martyr are buried in Vietnam. Vietnam and Chinese used to have a good relationship.but today,look! what happened! I am very sad!!

In Response

by: Alight from: Viet Nam
June 06, 2014 12:28 AM
Oh yeah, define 'help'. You need a dictionary ASAP

In Response

by: Nguyen Minh from: France
May 12, 2014 3:53 AM
Do you know about the war in the boudary between Vietnam and China in 1979?
Chinese did not help Vietnamese in the past. They just want to eat Vietnam land as the part of them for thousand years. Believe me, Chinese goverment is very bad and they are lier!


by: Negishabi from: Canada
May 11, 2014 6:28 PM
To: Nguyen Minh from: france

Chinese people found and lived with South China Sea for thousands of years, it is why it is call South China Sea not France sea. The current South China Sea boundary between China and other Southeast Asian countries, like Vietnam, was set up by previous China government (US allies) during WWII and was well recognized in the World, Vietnam recognized this boundary by written form, later on, but Vietnam changed its mind and claimed lots of South China Sea as its territory. Vietnam has extracted and are extracting huge amount of oil and gas from disputed waters in South China Seas (refuse to cooperate with China) without caring about Chinese protests, China is only beginning to set up a oil rig and didn't get any oil yet. Moreover, the oil rig china is building is only tens of km from sansha city of China but > 200 km from vietnam. Please note that the oil rig of china is located into the Waters Vietnam recognized by written form in 1950s. People should learn history first before prejudice and before blaming others.

In Response

by: Sophia from: US
May 12, 2014 7:40 PM
Execuse me Negishabi,
Chinese people are everywhere in the world. Would Chinese Government claim the whole world your territory? I suppose you are a Chinese in Canada, would Chinese Government claim Canada part of Chinese territory too? Look at the map on the ocean that the Chinese claims. How ridiculous and greedy and shame on those who drew the border to the doors of their neighbors. Pls look at the map of the sea China claims again. We can never accept bullying in this modern world. Chinese Government is isolating itself from its neighbors. Look who is their friend now surrounding China? If China doesn't stop bullying their neighboring countries (look around: Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and now Vietnam), it can put itself in an awkward situation and certainly, not to the advantage of China. Nobody wants to have enemies all around them.

In Response

by: Nguyen Minh from: france
May 12, 2014 4:28 AM
"South China Sea is the dominant term used in English for the sea, and the name in most European languages is equivalent, but it is sometimes called by different names in neighboring countries, often reflecting historical claims to hegemony over the sea.
The English name is a result of early European interest in the sea as a route from Europe and South Asia to the trading opportunities of China"

In Response

by: Nguyen Minh from: France
May 12, 2014 4:02 AM
I think you are not understand anything about the history of the boundary among China and other Asian countries. Please check in the google first before comment here. China is a big country and most of people in the world just know China but not other small countries in the South Asian. When we live in other countries in europe, africa, america, and even in the North and middle in Asia, people just notify we are chinese! It maybe the reason why the South Sea in South Asia is called South China Sea, but the true is the South Sea, and it is not belong to China.

In Response

by: Paul from: China
May 11, 2014 11:19 PM
To Negishabi: yes, chinese dead body also found everywhere in north vietnam, was during the time they tried to occupy Vietnam many times in the past...

In Response

by: bbo from: europe
May 11, 2014 10:33 PM
its in their eez


by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
May 11, 2014 5:48 PM
We should not neglect the fact that democratic Taiwan also claims the entire South China Sea within the nine dash line. It all makes sense since it was Taiwan, then ROC, first published the China sea map at 1947, which showed the famous nine dash line. No one country protested until they found oil there. Definitely, Vietnam and Finos are greedy!

In Response

by: Hoang from: Canada
May 12, 2014 11:07 AM
I keeping seeing your comment about Taiwan. Do you see the U.S. president going to Taiwan during his pivot to Asia? The U.S. does not even trust Taiwan.

In Response

by: Jakehelo from: East
May 12, 2014 7:46 AM
You can draw a nine or ten or maybe 100 dash line as whatever you want and no one argue about that until you take actions to make it become valid. Besides, Vietnam had serious losses after the resistance war against French colonial at that time. And also, no country in the world approve your nine dash line. You and your country are definitely greedy


by: Nguyen Minh from: france
May 11, 2014 3:16 PM
I am uncomfortable to hearing the word "south China sea" because it is not the truth. We call it as South Sea. The sea is not belong to China so it can not be called as "South China sea". Please correct it!

In Response

by: Hai from: US
May 12, 2014 12:43 PM
It doesn't matter about the name. In the world, there are many names of seas and regions which does not belong to the countries with that names. For both China and VN, don't bring facts from ancient times to prove sovereignty. If saying so then Russia has right to retrieve all Soviet countries and this is not thousand years, it's just 2 decades ago. So it does not matter too. We all need to solve the dispute base on law and peace.

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