More than 1,400 demonstrators were arrested amid the anti-China protests in Vietnam, SCMP said yesterday, leading to an ease in violence following reports that over 20 people had been killed earlier this week in riots outside of factories.
The riots followed thousands-strong anti-China protests in Vietnamese cities triggered by China’s deployment of a billion-dollar oil rig to disputed waters in the South China Sea.
According to the Post:
There were no reports of fresh violence following the deadly wave of unrest that swept through 22 of Vietnam’s 63 provinces from Tuesday. […]
The arrests in southern and central Vietnam were reported by the Thanh Nien newspaper, an official mouthpiece of Vietnam’s Communist Party Youth League.
Three hundred were charged with participating in protests on Wednesday and Thursday. And in Binh Duong, a province on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City, police arrested 950 protesters.
In Dong Nai province, police detained 224 rioters. They faced charges of causing public disorder and damaging property damage, the report said.
At least 76 people were also arrested in Ha Tinh province, where a Chinese worker was killed on Wednesday.
Many of the factories ambushed by protestors were actually Taiwanese-owned, leading the Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce in Hanoi to urge its members to hang Vietnamese flags on their factory gates and to remove Chinese characters visible from the outside.
Previously, Reuters cited a doctor at Ha Tinh General Hospital who said that as many as 16 people described as Chinese had been killed in the violent movement, although the Chinese Foreign Ministry was quoted on Thursday as saying that two Chinese nationals had died.
Vietnam’s prime minister reportedly sent out text messages to millions of local citizens calling on them to refrain from violence, NPR relays:
Vietnam’s prime minister has sent a text message to millions of Vietnamese urging them to boost their patriotism to “defend the fatherland’s sacred sovereignty” but not to engage in violence.
The message that was sent late Thursday and into Friday to subscribers of the country’s cell phone operators didn’t directly condemn the riots that have broken out this week following China’s decision to deploy an oil rig in disputed waters off Vietnam on May 1.
Meanwhile, China’s state-run rag the Global Times backed the use of “non-peaceful measures” against Vietnam and the Philippines yesterday while mentioning the possibility of a war over territorial disputes in the South China Sea, according to SCMP.
“The South China Sea disputes should be settled in a peaceful manner, but that doesn’t mean China can’t resort to non-peaceful measures in the face of provocation from Vietnam and the Philippines,” the newspaper said.
“Many people believe that a forced war would convince some countries of China’s sincerely peaceful intentions,” the paper added.