Anti-China Protests Leave 21 Dead In Vietnam

Twenty-one people have been killed in Vietnam as anti-Chinese protests spread to various parts of the country.

According to doctors at a hospital in the central province of Ha Tinh, five Vietnamese factory workers and 16 people described as Chinese died in rioting at a steel plant.

“There were about a hundred people sent to the hospital last night. Many were Chinese. More are being sent to the hospital this morning,” the doctor at Ha Tinh General Hospital told Reuters.

The violence follows a day of clashes on Wednesday in which factories displaying Chinese writing were looted and set alight.

Most of the violence was directed at Taiwanese nationals mistakenly identified as Chinese.

The protests, directed at anything with a perceived link to China, are the consequence of a decision by Beijing to place a mobile oil drilling rig in waters off Vietnam claimed by both countries.

At the weekend, anti-Chinese rallies in the capital Hanoi appeared to have the backing of the Vietnamese government, keen to rally public support against China.

However, the violence seems to have gone beyond the control of the government and 600 people are said to have been arrested.

Hundreds of Chinese have reportedly fled over the border from Vietnam to Cambodia to escape the violence, according to local police.

In Beijing, the Chinese government expressed significant anger at the violence, in language which signals a dramatic breakdown in China’s relations with Vietnam.

“(There is) a direct link with the Vietnamese side’s indulgence and connivance in recent days with some domestic anti-China forces and lawbreakers”, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

The United States, an ally of Vietnam, has called for restraint on both sides, but US Secretary of State John Kerry has signalled his position on the matter, calling China’s moves in the South China Sea “provocative” and “aggressive”.

The giant mobile oil rig, CNOOC 981, was moved into position about 100 nautical miles off the Vietnamese east coast and a similar distance south of the Chinese island of Hainan.

The rig is close to the Paracel Islands claimed by both Vietnam and China but controlled by China. The two countries fought a war over them in 1974.

The dispute is one of many in the South and East China seas where China, Japan, South Korea, The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei all have competing claims to vast stretches of water and uninhabited islands.

The tensions are high throughout the region partly because China’s growing economic and military clout is giving Beijing the confidence and ability to reassert historic claims.

In a related development, the Philippines has accused China of reclaiming land on a reef which forms part of the Spratly Islands in order to build an airstrip.

There have been various examples in recent years of countries in the region ‘militarising’ uninhabited islands with deep harbours and airstrips.

Satellite images of some of the islands in the disputed waters, seen by Sky News, show that all the countries have invested significant time, effort and funds in building up their defensive measures.

In China’s case, deep harbours and airstrips on islands they claim allow its military to operate many hundreds of miles from the Chinese mainland.

Given vital shipping lanes pass through the region and it contains huge reserves of oil and natural gas, the international implications are high.

Regional peace and economic stability are at stake.

15 May 2014 | 10:19 am – Source: orange.co.uk
———————————————————————————————————————

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.