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.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: Scoopy from: Vietnam
May 11, 2014 2:04 PM
We do love chinese people, but Government of China they are so greedy and aggressive, they use this way to threaten neighbours, infringing Vietnam EEZ, and also guide Chinese eyes out of their country while many bad things happen inside china, also trying to stop Chinese Human Rights activists before memorial of Tiananmen on date 04 of June
In Response

by: Hah
May 13, 2014 11:40 AM
yes, they learned well, they learned all these bad habits from communist china.
In Response

by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
May 11, 2014 5:51 PM
Clearly it's the communist viet government is lying to its ppl and the world. It's trying to distract its ppl from the bad economy.

by: Donald Fraser Miles from: Elliot Lake, Canada
May 11, 2014 12:29 PM
I have a relationship to China and Viet Nam. I served with US Forces in Viet Nam in 1972 and have a good bond for the Viet Namese. I gave advice on China's economy and security in 1977 to a person appearing to be part of Mao's family in Toronto at the Chelsea Inn Hotel. I have just written to the China Embassy in Ottawa, Canada, to suggest to China that it pursue a legal, peaceful and compromising strategy on territorial issues in Asia. Time will tell on the outcome.

by: Negishabi from: Canada
May 11, 2014 11:43 AM
Vietnam has already set up oil rigs and get tons and tons oil and gas from disputed waters in South China Seas, never care about Chinese protesting. Does Vietnamese know this truth? China just want to cooperate with Vietnam for exploring oil and gas together, but Vietnam doesn't want that and just extract oil and gas from disputed waters even until now. China just begin setting up oil rigs and the the oil rig is only tens of miles from sansha city of China and more than 100 miles from Vietnam. Vietnamese protest China? It is so funny. Go check how many oil and gas Vietnam already extracted from disputed waters in South China Seas, it is huge! If Vietnam want China to stop, Vietnam should stop extracting oil as well, so China and Vietnam can be back to table for talking. This may be the only way to handle this issue.
In Response

by: My from: Saigon
May 13, 2014 12:01 PM
To Negishabi: before giving any comments, pls collect information from all sources, listening to both sides, not only 1 side. Be a wise speaker ! if Vietnam violates international treaty / rules on sea , why don't China sue Vietnam at international court but using its millitary power toward Vietnam now ? it's no way that China dares to do it the right way because China government has no strong evidences to prove what-so-called their territories. Hoang Sa - Truong Sa belongs to Vietnam and we won't give up them to China even we would shed our bloods here. We love peace and not want any wars but terrority is spiritual, we would do whatever to protect these islands
In Response

May 11, 2014 5:41 PM
You talked like a typical brainwashed Chinese who knows nothing about history or facts, apart from all the distorted informations stuffed into your hollow head by your tyrannical government.China first made a claim for about 80% of the South China Sea to the United Nation in May 2009,based on the so-called historical sovereignty.What they meant was, the South China Sea was once under Chinese administration,and so they now have a case to claim it back.It is just loads of rubbish.China has never been a sea-faring nation,and China's southern most border line stretched as far as Hainan island,as proven by all old European,Chinese and Vietnamese maps,including the one Chancellor Merkel offered Mr Xi Jinping on his recent visit to Germany.For your information,the whole of Southern China and Northern Vietnam used to belong to the NanYue kingdom,Nam Viet in Vietnamese,or Viet nam,just the same thing.Southern Chinese are of Vietnamese origin,even though they have now been sinicised. Look it up for yourself.China has in its entirely history,never controlled the South China sea.They just made a false claim,and they want to make their neighbours acknowledge by the use and the threaten use of force. That's why China refused to attend the UN court of the sea when they were sued by the Philippines for snatching the Scarborough shoal from them 2 years ago,becasue China knows they have no evidence to prove their claim.Japan has once ruled over Korea,Manchuria and Taiwan.If Japan made a historical over these areas,would you Chinese like it? Obviously no.The reason Vietnam and the Philippines refused to co-explore for resources with China in their waters because they are their own waters,acknowledged and guaranteed by the UNCLOS 1982,of which China is a signatory.China,for territorial ambitions and lust for resources,has resorted to threats and coercion, to make the world think that there are disputes in these waters,to force those countries share resources with them.China robbed the Paracel islands from Vietnam in 1974,a historical fact,look it up.They would not even discuss the issue with Vietnam,let alone co-exploring for oil.Then why should Vietnam co-explore for oil with China in Vietnam's waters.That's why China had to use force to make it happen.Get your facts right before making any stupid comment.China is now attacking Vietnamese ships in Vietnamese waters.They,however distorted the facts,and turned around and accused the Vietnamese doing it to them.Vietnam,a small nation,after so many wars,just want to be left alone to get on with their lives and rebuild a better future,would not even dare to offend a powerful China,let alone attack it.No matter what China claims,the whole world now know China is an aggressor,who is disrupting peace,stability and prosperity in the region because of its embarkation on a war of expansion without any regards for reasons,international laws and humanity

by: Tien from: China
May 11, 2014 9:24 AM
I like China country. I love the poor Chinese people. But, believe it or not, NEVER believe China's Officials. NEVER!!!

In Response

by: Tien from: USA
May 12, 2014 4:39 PM
I am also Tien but I am a Vietnamese. China is taking advantage of its economic growth and money to BULLY other countries. WHY is it that the ENTIRE SOUTH SEA be called South China Sea???? It doesn't belong to China. It's TOO wide and far to be considered China Sea.

As for China's Officials. I AGREE WITH YOU. DO NOT TRUST THEM!!!

by: JOHN from: VN
May 11, 2014 8:41 AM
In Response

by: Hu°ng Le from: CA, USA.
May 12, 2014 7:09 PM
John, before you say something like that you have to based on fact. Don't cause damage to Buddhism.
In Response

by: Kim Phuong from: US
May 12, 2014 10:02 AM
Hah, hah,,, I have never heard of this buddhism teaching; but ok, we are all ready to die sooner or later for this and that, or for nothing.

by: Cuong Nguyen from: Vietnam
May 11, 2014 7:26 AM
Vietnam had been through war for many many years. So no one wants that terrible thing will happen again. China government must bring HD-918 back to their country
Comments page of 2

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs