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Ethnic Vietnamese in Cambodia Cancel Anti-China Protest

An association for ethnic Vietnamese living in Cambodia says it will not protest outside the Chinese Embassy over Beijing's decision to locate an oil rig in waters of the South China Sea also claimed by Vietnam.

Sem Chi, head of the Association of Khmer Vietnamese in Cambodia, told VOA's Khmer service that the demonstration has been postponed “indefinitely.”

“This is because things are happening too quickly. We cannot prepare it on time,” Sem.

Long Dimanche, spokesman for the city Phnom Penh, said officials will not allow protests against foreigners in the country. “Cambodia is a country that adheres to the principle of neutrality. I believe that Cambodia is not a place for any party to express their opinion or to protest against another country on our soil.”
China, Vietnam oil rig dispute, near Paracel Islands
China, Vietnam oil rig dispute, near Paracel Islands
In Vietnam, there has been a surge of anti-Chinese protests following China’s establishment of an oil rig in a section of the South China Sea that Vietnam claims.

The violence has spurred a number of Chinese and Taiwanese citizens to flee over the border into Cambodia.

A Cambodian border police officer, who spoke with VOA on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that more than 600 Chinese and Taiwanese people have crossed the Bavet border checkpoint since tensions broke out earlier this week.

“There seems to be normal over there now and when they [the Chinese and Taiwanese] crossed the border, the [Vietnamese] authority register them as normal. There is no harassment against them," said the officer.

On Wednesday, a Vietnamese official said those crossing the border were not expelled, but left the country on their accord.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Khmer service.