Fresh anti-China demos in Vietnam | Inquirer News

Fresh anti-China demos in Vietnam

/ 12:17 PM June 12, 2011

HANOI – Dozens of Vietnamese protested outside the Chinese embassy in Hanoi for the second weekend in a row on Sunday, as tensions rise between the two communist neighbors over a maritime dispute.

About 50 people with Vietnamese flags sang patriotic songs and held signs proclaiming Vietnamese sovereignty over two South China Sea archipelagos which are at the center of a long-running dispute with Beijing.

In southern Ho Chi Minh City, about 250 people held a similar rally but police sealed off the Chinese consulate area with barbed wire barricades to prevent protesters from approaching, a witness said.


Although authoritarian Vietnam tolerates small land-rights rallies, advocates of other political causes risk arrest, making demonstrations unusual.


The Hanoi protesters, who dispersed after just 30 minutes, were vastly outnumbered by riot police and other uniformed and plain-clothed security officers.

Vietnam and China are at loggerheads over the potentially oil-rich Paracel and Spratly archipelagos and surrounding waters.

Tensions have been escalating and are now at their highest level in years after Hanoi late last month accused Chinese marine surveillance vessels of cutting the exploration cables of an oil survey ship inside its exclusive economic zone.

Some protesters said they had returned to demonstrate again after Vietnam on Thursday alleged a Chinese fishing boat rammed the cables of another ship in the 200-nautical-mile zone.

Beijing countered by warning Vietnam to halt all activities that it says violate Chinese sovereignty in the disputed South China Sea waters.

“We protest for peace,” said Quoc Dat, 30, wearing a T-shirt in the colours of the Vietnamese flag. But he warned that if the Chinese “get into my country, they will lose”.


In Ho Chi Minh City, one sign protested China’s “invasion” while another called for a boycott of Chinese products, a witness said.

The protests come ahead of live-fire naval drills by Vietnam planned for Monday night off the country’s central coast.

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Hanoi says the drills are part of routine annual training.

TAGS: Conflicts, Protests

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