Published: Tue, June 12, 2018

Vietnamese police arrest 100 over anti-China protests

Vietnamese police arrest 100 over anti-China protests

China's embassy in Hanoi has warned its citizens to be careful, referring to the protests as "illegal gatherings" that had included some "anti-China content".

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.

"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.

Molotov cocktails and rocks were lobbed at the People's Committee Headquarters in south-eastern Binh Thuan province, where police said 102 people were held.

In May 2014, China's move to send an exploration oil rig into waters contested with Vietnam triggered deadly anti-China riots and clashes at sea between coast guard boats from the two nations.

It is believed that a particular provision in the draft law on SEZs that would allow foreign investors to lease land for 99 years was the primary triggering factor for the protests.

The chairwoman of parliament, Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, said that people's opinions "will always be heard".

Social media have shared photos and videos of the demonstrations.

A local police officer in Tuy Phong District in Binh Thuan province said traffic on Highway 1 through the area was moving early Monday after it was blocked by the protesters for more than 10 hours.

Ho Chi Minh City police said Monday that workers of Taiwanese textile company Pouyuen had been instigated into striking work and protesting the bill on SEZs.

"The bill is created 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 Kein Giang province, and room for institutional experiments", the government said.

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

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

The decision was made after the National Assembly and the government took into account many aspects of the issue which caught interests and gathered a lot of ideas from local legislators, people of all walks of life and voters nationwide.

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

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