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Hong Kong's Vietnamese Ex-Pats Show Support for Protesters

Some Vietnamese citizens living in Hong Kong have expressed support for local protesters who want China to give the former British colony a fully democratic vote for its next leader.

Hang, who declined to give her last name for fear of repercussions for her family back in Vietnam, told VOA’s Vietnamese service that she and other fellow compatriots living in the territory have been following events closely.

“I am not sure whether the protests would bring about any change, but we have to act in our own interest," she said. "If we do not seek for our rights and freedoms, our next generations might not have a chance.”

Thuy, another Vietnamese who has worked in Hong Kong for years and did not want to give her full name, said the rallies have a message that is very similar to the aspirations of many Vietnamese.

“They are simply asking for their rights," she said. "We [Vietnamese] also talk about the struggle for our interests. As we are living here, we are very interested in what is going on.”

Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of Hong Kong in a show of force that Beijing considers illegal.

The mass student-led protests have been widely discussed in Vietnam, where political dissent is not allowed.

Vietnamese netizens, especially those who have opposed the government, have heatedly debated the events in Hong Kong, and some even question the democratic spirit and ideology of Vietnamese students.

Even Vietnam's tightly controlled media have extensively covered the events in Hong Kong, with some newspapers criticizing China for interfering in the territory's politics.

Beijing's controversial placement of an oil rig in waters also claimed by Vietnam sparked intense confrontations in the South China Sea in May.

With bilateral relations at the lowest point in decades, observers say, Hanoi has seemed to relax its restrictions on coverage of issues deemed sensitive by Beijing.

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