Just last week, China had to censor its own patriotic citizens on Weibo, but it looks like it isn’t the only communist country with these problems. Anti-China activists gathered at Hoan Kiem Lake, a famous protest spot in Hanoi, to denounce their country’s support for China, but were quickly put into custody by public security officers.
Last week’s arbitration ruling was heavily against China and heavily in favor of the Philippines. Vietnam would seem to share in the Philippines triumph at court, so what’s with the arrests?
Well, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc met in Mongolia a couple days ago and the two parties “strengthened their relationship.” During the meeting, Xinhua reports that Nguyen said, “Vietnam respects China’s stance on the arbitration, which was unilaterally initiated by the Philippines, and Vietnam maintains that the disputes should be solved peacefully through negotiations.”
Chinese state media also reveals that there is a developing “comradely and brotherly relationship” between the two countries. Potentially the next best bromance? Somebody call Ellen!
The anti-China rally was organized by No-U, a Hanoi group that opposes China’s claims to most of the South China Sea. Activists chanted “Down with China” and were quickly rounded up and detained by Vietnam’s public security forces. According to SCMP, officers were in plainclothes and located all over the city to prevent any protests against Vietnam’s position on the South China Sea ruling.
After they were taken away, a smaller group of protesters showed up in front of the Philippines embassy, holding signs that read, “Thank you Philippines. You have a brave government” and “China, you must comply with international law.”
The group scattered before security forces arrived to cart them off.
Last November, anti-China protests were promptly snuffed out just prior to Chinese President Xi Jinping landing in Hanoi. This is all presumably just the kind of “neighborhood diplomacy” that Xi proposed back in 2013 to improve relations in Southeast Asia.
By Sarah Lin
[Images via Xinhua]