• Mon
  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 6:31pm

Vietnam breaks up rare anti-China protests

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 December, 2012, 11:18am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 December, 2012, 1:36pm

Vietnam held rare but brief protests against China in its two major cities on Sunday after Beijing demanded that Hanoi stop unilateral oil exploration in disputed waters and not harass Chinese fishing boats.

China’s demands on Thursday raised tensions in a protracted maritime territorial dispute between the two neighbours.

About 30 people gathered opposite Hanoi’s opera house, raising banners and shouting in protest against China before marching towards the Chinese embassy as part of a planned demonstration that was announced on several blogs.

Police moved in quickly, pushing the protesters onto a bus and taking them away. It was not immediately clear what happened to the Hanoi protesters after that, although protesters in similar cases are often taken for questioning and then released.

In downtown Ho Chi Minh City, another small protest was also quelled quickly when security officials seized banners held by protesters and disbanded the crowd, a witness said.

The authorities had tolerated a series of protests over China’s territorial claims from June to August last year and in July this year.

China is in increasingly angry disputes with neighbours, including the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia over claims to parts of the potentially oil- and gas-rich South China Sea.

China lays claim to almost the whole of the sea, which is criss-crossed by crucial shipping lanes, and also has a separate dispute with Japan over islands in the East China Sea.

On Thursday, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said Vietnam had expelled Chinese fishing vessels from waters near China’s southern Hainan province.

That description was in contrast to the account by Vietnam, which said a Vietnamese ship had a seismic cable it was pulling cut by two Chinese fishing ships.


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The Vietnamese authorities deployed more security force in order to intimidate the demonstrators, who were holding peaceful rallies with chanting, music, and singing like a carnival except for the political and patriotic characters.
Even the well-respected revolutionary figures were harassed and denied of their rights of participation to these rallies.
For instance, Ms. Lê Hiền Đức, 80 year-old, nationally and worldwide famous figure for her revolutionary past serving as spy for President Ho Chi Minh and relentless leader of anti-corruption campaign, had been detained at her home by the police officers. She was up all night and anxious about the possibility of leaving her house this morning in order to join the rally with her friends and patriots.
She threatened that there would be blood shed before 9 am if she was not allowed to leave her house because her life would be worthless living in a oppressive regime, a regime that she had dedicated her life to fight for and now she is not even allowed to exercise her simple rights of a citizen. An ambulance was on standby at her house ready for any tragic eventuality.
Vietnamese authorities, being puppets of China, crack down on anti-China demonstrations. Time for National Unity!


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