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  • Sep 18, 2014
  • Updated: 9:44pm
CommentInsight & Opinion
LEADER

In Vietnam's anti-Chinese protests, violence will only add fuel to fire

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 May, 2014, 3:03am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 May, 2014, 8:30am

Vietnam has complicated its dispute with Beijing over South China Sea resources by failing to prevent anti-Chinese violence. The deaths and damage caused by mobs rampaging through factories has worsened already frayed relations and harmed the nation's international image and standing. A government that so tightly controls dissent should have had no trouble keeping protests peaceful. Instead, it has allowed circumstances to spin out of control, leading to regrettable consequences.

Hundreds of Chinese have fled the country in the wake of the unrest, which centred on factories in central and southern Vietnam. There have been deaths - it is unclear how many - and dozens of injuries. Some Chinese have been reported missing. The burning, vandalism and looting of buildings has caused millions of dollars in damage and lost production. Hong Kong and Taiwan have warned citizens against travel to the country and business and investor confidence has been rocked.

Protests are unusual in Vietnam, where the government is intolerant of dissent. As tensions grow with China over contested oil and gas reserves and fisheries, though, Hanoi has sanctioned demonstrations to push a nationalist agenda. Mobilising large numbers of people is not difficult given Vietnam's love-hate relationship with its giant neighbour, which has invaded and occupied the country repeatedly over the centuries. But the strategy has backfired with its efforts to pressure Beijing over its moving last week of an oil rig into waters off the disputed Paracel Islands and the subsequent rammings of rival ships in accompanying flotillas.

Security forces and police were noticeably few in number when hundreds of Vietnamese workers took on Chinese colleagues at a giant Taiwanese steel plant under construction in central Ha Tinh province on Wednesday and the previous day when protesters ran amok at mainland Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, Korean and Singaporean factories in southern Binh Duong province. The demonstrations quickly got out of control and authorities struggled to restore order. Hanoi claims more than 600 rioters were arrested.

Violence and nationalism are not solutions to problems. Disputes over territory and resources can only be resolved by dialogue and negotiations. As Vietnam works towards this goal with China, it has to ensure anti-Chinese sentiments are kept in check and those behind the unrest appropriately punished.

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5382ce3d-59a8-4df3-b9a7-08df0a3209ca
Người Việt Nam yêu Hoà Bình
Vì Người Việt Nam đã trải qua hơn 2000 năm đô hộ của Trung Quốc và cả Trăm năm nội chiến !
Chúng tôi không muốn có Chiến Tranh và Chúng tôi cũng không muốn Ai xâm lấn Bờ Cõi ,Biển Đảo của chúng tôi !
Tuy Chúng tôi là một Nước Nhỏ nhưng quyết không để kẻ nào dù Mạnh và To lớn cỡ nào xâm chiếm đất nước của chúng tôi
- Các Bạn nói biểu tình của Người Việt Nam là Bạo động ,Phá Hoại ....Xin Lỗi các Bạn đó chỉ là một phần nhỏ bị xúi dục của các phần tử chống đối Nhà Nước Việt Nam
so với các nước trên thế giới thì Người Việt Nam chúng tôi chỉ là thật ít so với biểu Tình của Các Nước trên thế giới ....có quốc gia nào biểu tình mà không có phá phách bạo động không ......xin lỗi các Bạn ...không hề có
nicolas
COMMUNIST CHINA HAD A TASTE OF IT'S OWN MEDICINE...REMEMBER, WHAT THEY DID TO JAPANESE FACTORIES DURING A MASS PROTEST ORGANIZED BY THE COMMUNIST PARTIES? NOT EVEN A SUSSI BAR WAS BEING BARRED FROM DAMAGE. BUT, DID THE COMMUNIST DONE ANYTHING TO STOP THIS RIOT AND RAMPANT STREET VIOLENCE? THE COMMUNIST ONLY BLAMED THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT FOR STARTING THE DISPUTES TOWARD SENKAKU ISLAND KNOWN AS DIAOYU IN CHINA. THEREFORE, VIETNAMESE GOVERNMENT SHOULD ONLY COMPENSATE THOSE FACTORIES WHO SUFFERED DAMAGES FROM THE RIOT EXCEPT CHINA. SINCE, THIS PROTEST TURNED VIOLENCE ARE PROVOKED BY THE COMMUNIST GOVERNMENT. THEY DON'T DESERVE THE COMPENSATION OR EVEN SAYING FELT SORRY FOR THEM. COMMUNIST CHINA ARE SO GREEDY, EVIL AND FILTHY RUBBISH NATION IN THE WORLD...
rawlie
mercedes2233... you could equally say, 'And HK took in so many mainland refugees for so long, too! How ungrateful.' But you wouldn't as it seems to be a bit of an inconvenient truth that most HKers are in fact related to this group.
And Mikado, 'As a norm, Vietnamese are notoriously violent, untrustworthy and are blackmailers.'
Wow... way to stereotype an entire nation with your increasingly pugnacious views.
ashleyhk
China invaded these isalnds only 40 years ago. CCP says they are indisputably part of China, so how can there be any discussion? As elsewhere in the SCS, China will only discuss if the other party accepts Chinese sovereignty. In other words, nothing to discuss. The 9 dash line has no legal or historical basis.
mercedes2233
And HK took in so many Vietnam refugees for so long too! How ungrateful.
yty07
The Vietnamese Government's strategy is exactly the same as Chinese facing Japanese over disputed islands. Both allowed plenty of "controlled" protests and wide-range media coverage, until things no longer controllable.
Tkorunner
Your are so called "controlled" protests got out of control and hurt innocents
guy.pant
Difference is the Vietnamese protests resulted in murders and beatings.
ianson
How much dialogue and negotiation has the CCP engaged in with Vietnam? How much did they consult with Vietnam before sending their oil rig and flotilla into Vietnamese-claimed waters? The provocation has come entirely from the CCP and it is unfortunate that the SCMP leaps into the fray running a completely biased CCP line. The people of Vietnam are incensed. The key action has to come from the CCP, which is to withdraw their rig and vessels immediately and drop their rabid selfish nationalist policy of grabbing the entire South China Sea.
How About
ianson: putting aside all positions- China took Xisha in 1974 so in their view it's theirs. From their POV if Vietnam has qualms Vietnam should dialogue- since the Myanmar ASEAN meet they had a statement so Vietnam should act according to that i.e. ASEAN conduct on dispute. Wrong choice of word to label China as the provocation party because it's politically-loaded to choreograph this incident into another mess.
.
SCMP is on the ball again with this editorial. It's de javu or time machine year wound back to the 1960s...
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