Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 18:14
Vietnam to stem anti-China protests
By Xinhua

 Vietnam to stem anti-China protests
Protesters chant slogans during an anti-China protest in front of the Chinese embassy in Hanoi May 13, 2014.

HANOI - Tran Van Nam, vice chairman of Binh Duong Province People's Committee, said in a interview on Wednesday that the province was determined to take appropriate action against those who incited people to act illegally.

On Tuesday, the anti-China protests in Binh Duong Province, some 1,120 km south of Vietnamese capital Hanoi, turned violent. Thousands of protesters broke into foreign-owned factories, wrecking them and looting, causing more than 1,000 factories to shut down. More than 15 factories were torched in the violence. Most affected factories recorded Chinese ownership, local Chinese residents told Xinhua on Wednesday.

The Singapore government, which operates two industrial parks hit by rioters, called on Vietnam's government "to act immediately to restore law and order ... before the security situation worsens and investor confidence is undermined.''

Tran Van Nam was quoted by saying as local VNExpress online newspaper on Wednesday, "the province will strictly handle those who took advantage of the situation to provoke, disturb and cause damage to assets of people, companies and the state." According to the official, some 19,000 workers took part in the demonstration against China.

The protest that started peacefully, went out of hand when gates of factories were pulled down and some elements incited more workers to join the protest, said the report.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters on Wednesday at a daily press briefing that China had made representations to Vietnam and enacted unspecified emergency mechanisms to provide security to Chinese companies.

China's Foreign Ministry issued a travel advisory for Chinese citizens headed to or in Vietnam.

The notice urged Chinese travelers to "carefully consider travel plans and go with caution'' and for Chinese residents and organizations in Vietnam to "raise their risk awareness and strengthen security.''

China is Vietnam's biggest trading partner. In 2013 it invested US$2.3 billion, a sharp rise on the previous year, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

Last Friday, China urged Vietnam to respect its sovereign rights and jurisdiction over Xisha Islands in the South China Sea and to abandon provocative actions.

Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular press briefing that Xisha Islands comprised sovereign Chinese territory and there were no disputes in this regard.

The operations of Chinese companies off Xisha Islands were conducted within China's territorial waters , she said, noting that it was untenable for any country to make irresponsible remarks.

From May 3 to 7, Vietnam dispatched 36 vessels, which rammed Chinese vessels up to 171 times.