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In Vietnam, distrust of government's China policy fuels protests

Discussion in 'The NF Café' started by mr_shadow, Jun 7, 2018.

  1. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    The Vietnamese government is confronting a rising tide of public anger as its parliament debates a controversial bill to create three new special economic zones (SEZs), raising fears of Chinese encroachment on Vietnamese soil.

    Although Vietnam already has 18 SEZs, the new concerns largely stem from a provision that would allow 99-year leases in some cases within the three new zones in Quang Ninh and Khanh Hoa provinces, as well as on Phu Quoc Island. The bill does not explicitly mention any particular country but it is widely presumed China, Vietnam’s largest trading partner, would dominate investments in the SEZs.

    Attempting to allay concerns, Prime Minister Nguyen Xhan Phuc announced on Thursday the government would adjust the 99-year time frame but did not elaborate.

    “In recent days, we have listened to a lot of intellectuals, the people, members of the National Assembly, senior citizens and overseas Vietnamese,” Phuc said.

    Nguyen Chi Tuyen, a Hanoi-based dissident blogger with 42,500 Facebook followers, said he rarely saw such public interest in the National Assembly, a legislature that usually acts as a rubber stamp for the Communist Party’s Central Committee.

    “This time they’ve got a lot of attention from the people, not just activists or dissidents but the normal people,” he said, adding that anti-China sentiment has fuelled anger.

    He was unimpressed by Phuc’s pledge to adjust the 99-year lease provision.

    “It’s not how long, but this is one kind of selling our land to foreigners under the so-called SEZs,” Tuyen said.

    With popular Vietnamese anger towards China simmering over Beijing’s maritime claims in the South China Sea, Le Dang Doanh, a retired senior economic adviser to the government and member of the Communist Party, said he fears an explosive response from the public should the bill pass. That the proposed SEZ in Quang Ninh province is not far from China’s Guangxi autonomous region is of particular concern, he added.

    “If now the Chinese occupy the three special economic zones, especially the one in Quang Ninh, it will trigger a very strong reaction from the Vietnamese people,” said Doanh, adding that he had signed a petition asking to postpone passage of the law.

    Tuyen said the South China Sea dispute, along with memories of the 1979 border war, run deep in the national psyche, making SEZs viscerally unpopular.

    “We have a long history with the Chinese people, they always want to invade our country, so it is dangerous to allow them to use these SEZs to control our country,” he said.

    In recent years, the maritime dispute has prompted rare public protests in the one-party communist state. Demonstrations turned violent in 2014 following China’s deployment of the Hai Yang Shi You 981 oil rig in the South China Sea, with at least 21 killed and 100 injured in clashes targeting Chinese-owned factories, although many were owned by firms from other countries. The government has since cracked down on anti-China protests, but it remains publicly opposed to the nine-dash line and China’s presence in the Paracels and Spratlys.

    At the most recent Ministry of Foreign Affairs press conference on May 31, spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang referred to Chinese military drills on the Paracel Islands as “a serious violation of Vietnamese sovereignty”.

    Nguyen Quang A, a retired banker and prominent pro-democracy activist, said the government must guard against suspicions it has become too cosy with fellow communists to the north.

    “There are a few issues which are very dangerous for the legitimacy of the Communist Party in Vietnam, and that is one,” said Quang A, himself a former party member.

     
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  2. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    Police in Vietnam detained more than a dozen protesters in the capital Hanoi on Sunday and halted demonstrations in other cities against plans for new special economic zones that the protesters fear will be dominated by Chinese investors.

    Vietnam said in May last year it planned to open three special economic zones that offer investors greater incentives and fewer restrictions than available in the country at present.

    The draft law does not identify potential foreign investors that can lease land for up to 99 years in the zones, but the protesters fear it will be dominated by neighboring China.

    The demonstrators carried anti-China banners, including one that said "No leasing land to China even for one day", on a busy street near Hanoi's Hoan Kiem Lake.

    Police later bundled more than dozen protesters into vehicles and drove away. Similar demonstrations took place on Sunday in other cities throughout the country, including the economic hub Ho Chi Minh City, and were dispersed by police, activists said on social media. It was not clear if other protesters had been detained.

    The government said on Saturday that it had asked the National Assembly to delay a vote on the draft law to allow for more research on the legislation.

    "The bill is designed to give a strong boost to the development of three special administrative and economic units, including Van Don in Quang Ninh province, Bac Van Phong in Khanh Hoa province and Phu Quoc in Kien Giang province, and room for institutional experiments," the government said in a statement.

    The initial draft law had said land in the zones could be leased for up to 99 years, but Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc told local media last week the term would be reduced, although he did not say for how long.

    The protests come at a time of rising tensions over the disputed South China Sea, nearly all of which is claimed by China.

    Vietnam is among several countries in the region that have claims in the South China Sea, through which an estimated $5 trillion in trade passes each year.
     
  3. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    China has warned its citizens in Vietnam after protesters clashed with police over a government plan to create new economic zones for foreign investment that has fueled anti-Chinese sentiment in the country.

    More than 100 protesters were arrested and dozens of police injured at a protest in central Vietnam on Sunday, one of several demonstrations nationwide against the special economic zones opponents fear will be dominated by Chinese investors.

    The Chinese embassy in Hanoi posted a notice on its website referring to the protests as "illegal gatherings" that had included some "anti-China content".

    "The Chinese embassy in Vietnam is paying close attention to the relevant developments and reminds Chinese citizens in Vietnam to pay attention to security when traveling," the notice said.

    Vietnam's National Assembly agreed on Monday to delay a vote on the draft bill, which would allow foreign investors to lease land for up to 99 years and provide greater incentives and fewer restrictions than at present in the country.

    Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, chairwoman of the Assembly, said the protesters might have misunderstood the nature of the bill.

    "People should stay calm, believe in the decisions of the party and the state, especially in the fact that the National Assembly is always listening to the people's opinions when discussing the bills," Ngan said.

    Public protests are not rare in Vietnam and are often quickly quelled by the police.

    On Sunday, protesters in the central province of Binh Thuan threw petrol bombs and bricks at police and damaged local government offices and vehicles, state media reported.

    Police arrested 102 protesters, the online newspaper VnExpress reported on Monday, citing local police. The report said dozens of policemen were injured in the incident.

    In the capital Hanoi, police detained more than a dozen protesters who marched down a busy street, some carrying anti-Chinese banners including one that said "No leasing land to China even for one day".

    Activists said several protesters were also detained in the country's economic hub, Ho Chi Minh City.

    The government has said the bill aims to boost development in three provinces in northern, central and southern Vietnam and provide "room for institutional experiments".

    The initial draft law said land in the zones could be leased for up to 99 years, but Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc told local media last week the term would be reduced, although he did not say by how much.

    The protests come at a time of rising tensions over the disputed South China Sea, nearly all of which is claimed by China.

    Vietnam is among several countries in the region that have claims in the South China Sea, through which an estimated $5 trillion in trade passes each year.

    Some of the protesters at Sunday's demonstrations were also protesting against another draft bill on cybersecurity amid widespread concern the law would cause economic harm and stifle online dissent in the communist-ruled country.

    The United States and Canada urged Vietnam on Friday to delay the vote on the proposed cybersecurity law. The National Assembly is scheduled to vote on it on Tuesday.

     
  4. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    Part of the context here is of course that Vietnam was a Chinese province for a thousand years (100 BC - 900 AD) and then a tributary state for another thousand (900 - 1900 AD).

    So you can understand why they're apprehensive about "leasing" land to the Middle Kingdom.
     
  5. wibisana still newbie

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    pretty much it will be Cooperation of Vnam local company with Chinese Company.

    Chinese provide the funds.local will be "running" the show. buying land, legality things.

    it would open alot of job. but Chinese will also demand a portion of workforce come from China.

    i.e. 24K with 4K consist of Chinese worker.


    then people will cry Chinese stole our job

    while in reality it s their money and they also open 20K jobs for locals.they only demand a portion of it.

    us vs them mentality at the finest
     
  6. Mider T VM Zombie

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    If you need our help Vietnam just say the word:iria
     
  7. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    Again! :iria
     
  8. Le Male Absolu Well-Known Member

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    Considering the way the Chinese claims the South China Sea , you can definitely understand their worries.
     
  9. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    Thousands of people in central Vietnam demonstrated peacefully on Sunday against government plans to lease new economic zones to foreign investors, witnesses told Reuters, a few days after protesters in a nearby province clashed with police.

    Protesters fear the leases may be snapped up by investors from powerful neighbor China, with which Vietnam has a rocky history, and were also upset about a recently-passed cybersecurity law that they worry would limit free speech.

    Public protests in Vietnam are usually quickly quelled by the police. The ruling Communist Party, despite sweeping economic reform and increasing openness to social change, retains tight media censorship and tolerates little criticism.

    Security on Sunday was tight in many cities and provinces in Vietnam, with large presence of police in public areas.

    But in central Ha Tinh province, thousands of people attending a Sunday mass protested peacefully against the laws, three witnesses told Reuters, confirming livestream footages on Facebook.

    Protesters held signs that said "No leasing land to Chinese communists for even one day" or "Cybersecurity law kills freedom". The protest in Ha Tinh province lasted for two hours on Sunday morning without clash with the police, witnesses said.

    Earlier this week the Vietnamese government vowed to punish "extremists" it said had instigated rare clashes with police where protesters hurling bricks and Molotov cocktails at police and damaging some government buildings in Binh Thuan province.

    Vietnam's National Assembly chairwoman on Friday said the lawmakers condemned "the acts of abusing democracy, distorting the truth, provoking, causing social disorder and greatly affecting the people's life," she said in a televised session.

    General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in a talk with Hanoi citizens on Sunday called for the people to be calm and trust the Communist party and the government, state-run radio news website Voice of Vietnam reported.

    "(We) do this for the nation, for the people and no other purpose and no one is that foolish to hand over land to foreigners for them to come and mess things up," Trong was quoted as saying.

     
  10. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    Vietnam is actually the oldest current Communist country, having been established already in 1945 (73 years ago).

    That means next year they'll tie the Soviet Union's record for longest one party rule, 74 years (1917-1991).

    In that context I think the protests probably have Nguyen a bit worried. He might feel that there is a and that these originally anti-Chinese protests might morph into a revolution against the Communist Party itself.
     
  11. Takano-san Brujo

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    I think we've seen enough video of Trump being a sycophant. No mas.
     
  12. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    Protests by thousands of people in cities across Vietnam are showing just how easy it is to unite public opinion and mobilize dissent when an issue has one key ingredient: China.

    The demonstrations, which are technically illegal, sprung up for a second consecutive week on Sunday, stoked by fears that proposed coastal economic zones for foreigners would be beachheads for an invasion of Chinese businesses.

    The proposal makes no mention of China. But political analysts say Vietnamese minds were already made up, with popular Facebook posts reinforcing deep-rooted suspicion that Chinese interests are influencing state policy.

    Central to the issue is a combustible mix of generations of anger over perceived Chinese bullying, and a lack of faith in Vietnam's ruling communist party to do anything about it.

    "The government underestimated the amount of anti-China sentiment in the country," said Murray Hiebert, a Southeast Asia specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

    "There's a constant undertone among many in Vietnam that the government isn't doing enough to protect the country's sovereignty against China," Hiebert added.

    Social media such as Facebook, used by half of Vietnam's 90 million people, makes such fervor easy to stoke and hard to contain.

    After protests spanned cities nationwide, the National Assembly last week postponed its vote on the economic zones until October.

    Security was tightened on Sunday to prevent protests in major cities, but thousands still gathered in central Ha Tinh province, many with signs saying "No leasing land to Chinese communists for even one day."

    Tensions are likely to persist as long as China pushes its Belt and Road initiative to advance its overseas business, and takes stronger action to fortify its claims over almost the entire South China Sea.

    China has been accelerating construction and militarization in the Spratly and Paracel islands claimed by Vietnam, and in March pressured Hanoi to suspend some major offshore oil drilling for the second time in the space of a year.

    'PATRIOTISM' APPRECIATED

    The Vietnamese government's resistance to Chinese pressure has been limited.

    The communist party top brass rarely acknowledges anti-China sentiment even exists in Vietnam. On Friday, house speaker Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan skirted the issue, saying the legislature "appreciates the people's patriotism and their profound concerns about important issues."

    Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong weighed in on Sunday to reassure the public about the economic zones, which have 99-year leases, but also made no specific mention of China.

    "No one is that foolish to hand over land to foreigners for them to come and mess things up," state media quoted him saying.

    The June 10 protests were in large part peaceful, but turned violent in central Binh Thuan province, where vehicles were set ablaze and angry mobs hurled rocks and charged at riot police.

    Tran Vu Hai, a prominent lawyer, said the anger had been festering for years in Binh Thuan, where China is blamed for assaulting fishermen, polluting the land with a Chinese-built power plant, and for deforestation to mine minerals exported primarily to China.

    Hai said people were venting fury not only at China, but at a local government, which is perceived as being corrupt and enslaved by destructive Chinese commercial interests.

    "They don't investigate why people are irritated and they don't solve the people's problems," he said. "The trust in the authority in that area has already been lost."

    Analysts say the turnout and coordination of protests is now emboldening ordinary Vietnamese, but also complicating the party's difficult balancing act of tolerating some dissent while keeping it under control.

    That risks angering a vital trade partner that can hold Vietnam's fast-growing economy hostage.

    SKILLED INSTIGATION

    The protests are being taken seriously by China; its diplomatic missions in Vietnam held meetings last week with Chinese business groups, local government and local media.

    In one of several postings on the embassy's website, it said charge d'affaires Yin Haihong "demanded" that Vietnamese authorities protect Chinese businesses and citizens.

    Yin said the embassy had been informed by the Vietnamese authorities that people with "ulterior motives" had "deliberately misrepresented the situation and linked it to China."

    The recent rallies follow similar protests in 2014 after China's deployment of an oil rig off central Vietnam, and months of demonstrations in 2016 over an environmental disaster at a steel plant run by Taiwan's Formosa Plastics.

    Responding to questions from Reuters, Vietnam foreign ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang made no mention of China but said "extremists" had "incited illegal gatherings." He added that Vietnam's policies served its peoples' interests and supported business and investment.

    Nguyen Van Quynh, a well-known lawyer followed widely on Facebook, said it was clear that the rallies were organized and violence had been instigated. He said they showed meticulous planning and knowledge of state security procedures, and suggested Binh Thuan was a weak spot.

    "The scale, organization, sophistication of the protests, riots are increasing, proving that there must be a person or a leading group with knowledge and skill for it to be organized this way," Quynh said.

    Some current and former lawmakers say it is time to revisit a long-delayed law to regulate demonstrations. The constitution allows freedom of assembly, but protests are often broken up by police and participants held for "causing public disorder."

    Others say it's time to listen more to public opinion.

    "The administration needs to care for what its people care for," said Nguyen Si Dung, a former deputy head of the National Assembly office.

     
  13. wibisana still newbie

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    I like how they refuse money and job opening just because they hate the one giving the money and creating the jobs
     
  14. makeoutparadise I will have my revenge

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    @mr_shadow any chance this china could colonize veitnam? How did the last war end?
     
  15. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    The 1979 one? Both sides claimed victory.

    Vietnam said they had successfully repulsed the invaders, whereas China said they had taught the Vietnamese "a lesson" and that further hostilities were not needed.

    (Translation: Vietnam won, lol)
     
  16. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    IMO the Vietnamese Party looks weaker than the Chinese one.

    The facts that they don't block Facebook, don't instantly suppress protests like this, and have a collective leadership elected through some kind of quasi-democratic process (within the Party) makes me think they're not as ruthless as Xi and wouldn't Tian'anmen a mass uprising.

    So while I'm pretty confident China will beat the 70-year Curse, I'm less convicted about Vietnam and by extension their satellite Laos.
     
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