border review | 10 August 2011, by JJ

Vietnamese hold anti-China protest after crackdown

Vietnamese anti-China protesters shout anti-China slogans while marching in downtown Hanoi (AFP, Hoang Dinh Nam)

HANOI — Police in Vietnam allowed up to 300 peaceful anti-Chinese protesters to march in central Hanoi on Sunday after their suppression of earlier rallies sparked anger on the Internet.

It was the eighth consecutive Sunday that protesters have gathered for an unprecedented series of rallies over tensions in the South China Sea.

Yes it’s been 8-9 weeks now and we are just starting to follow the unfolding of yet another South China Sea territorial dispute between the troubled neighbours of Vietnam and China..

Some demonstrators wore T-shirts objecting to China’s maritime claim to essentially all of the South China Sea, called the “East Sea” in Vietnam.

“I want to send a message to China that they stop doing bad things with our country,” said Nguyen Quang Thach, 36, who has attended all the rallies.

Doesn’t this sound familiar? Didn’t Chinese say the same things about the Japanese?

Tensions flared in May when Vietnam said Chinese marine surveillance vessels cut the exploration cables of an oil survey ship inside the country’s exclusive economic zone.

Vietnamese bitterly recall 1,000 years of Chinese occupation and, more recently, a 1979 border war. More than 70 Vietnamese sailors were killed in 1988 when the two sides battled off the Spratlys.

Protesters chanted that the Paracels and Spratlys belong to Vietnam, and carried signs naming military personnel who died in previous clashes with Vietnam’s giant neighbour.

Sometimes, it makes one wonder how nationalism and sovereignty can be used so conveniently as a ruse to direct public emotions. It almost never fails! And how little people actually think about what they are doing and why they are doing it when it comes to “defending borders”.

More to come! And to see a complete report by Ian Timberlake, Vietnamese hold anti-China protest after crackdown see here