Arrests in Vietnam after South-China-Sea Demonstrations: Huanqiu Shibao quotes Phil Robinson

Huanqiu coverage, Aug 22

Huanqiu coverage, August 22

The following is a translation from Huanqiu Shibao (环球时报), the older (Chinese-language) sister of the (English-language) Global Times. The beginning of the article (“according to a report by Huanqiu Shibao”) seems to refer to Huanqiu’s printed edition. I haven’t checked the authenticity of the reports and statements as quoted by the article’s author Wei Fang (魏 芳). The article will probably have invited some unwelcome comments from the online readers, and such comments are frequently removed.

Main Link: http://world.huanqiu.com/roll/2011-08/1933657.html

By special correspondent Wei Fang

According to a report by Huanqiu Shibao of August 22, Vietnamese police dispersed an anti-Chinese (一场反华示威) demonstration in Hanoi on Sunday, and arrested several dozen participants (拘捕数十名参与者). This has been the 11th protest against China in three months, concerning the “South China Sea sovereignty” issue. It is noteworthy that prior to that, the Vietnamese government had issued a ban on anti-Chinese demonstrations.

Reuters quotes “witnesses” as saying that at least forty Vietnamese people had been on the streets to protest against “China’s intrusions into the South China Sea”. Since June this year, there have been people organizing gatherings on the streets of Hanoi to protest against China, concerning the South China Sea. At first, there were some 300 participants. Later, the number gradually went down to fifty to sixty.

Agence France-Presse says that only a few minutes after the beginning of the protest [on Sunday], plain-cloth police pushed some forty protesters onto a bus waiting next to the scene, and drove them to a different location. Associated Press says that the authorities had apparently sent “a strong police force” which put some fifteen protesters into police cars which drove away from the scene. The report also says that Vietnamese police had strengthened protection for China’s embassy, deployed police on the street in front of it, and sealed that road off completely.

Western human rights organizations once again expressed dissatisfaction with the Vietnamese authorities’ approach. On August 21 [Sunday], Reuters quoted “Human Rights Watch’s” (“人权观察”) Asia Division deputy director Phil Robinson (菲尔·罗宾逊) as saying: “We are concerned about the arrests of these people after demonstrating, and call on the authorities to release them as soon as possible”. Robsinson also said that the arrests showed an “over-reaction” by the Vietnamese government”, as the protesters goal had been “to protect Vietnam’s unity, and had done no wrong”.

In fact, Vietnam had issued a ban on anti-Chinese demonstrations last week. The Vietnamese government is worried that some people (一些人) could use the gatherings to stir dissenting views which would eventually oppose the government. Hanoi’s People’s Committee issued a statement on August 18, saying that some oppositional elements at home and abroad (越南国内外的一些反对派分子) were using the anti-China demonstrations to oppose the Vietnamese government, to “damage Vietnamese unity and Vietnamese-Chinese relations”. The statement warned that the police would take action against people who defied the ban.

Official newspaper “New Hanoi News” believes that the authorities must take “the necessary measures” against illegal gatherings. The BBC said on August 21 that several gatherings and demonstrations had made the Vietnamese government aware that there were people who tried to use the rallies to incite the masses to oppose the communist party’s political power, and that it had therefore issued this kind of ban.

Reuters says that before the ban, 25 Vietnamese representatives from the intelligentsia (知识界代表) had signed a petition to the authorities, demanding that the government revoke the ban, and stating the belief that this approach was “unconstitutional”. The petition was also published on the internet.

“trundle on trundle on trundle on, human rights groups are just garbage in the future the west won’t rule the world your game will be over soon” (滚滚滚滚,人权组织就是个垃圾将来西方不统治世界了你们也就一块玩完了, 17:07 local time), comments a reader, and another: “What this bunch of beasts (or brutes) is most afraid of is that their rice bowls [i. e. their jobs – apparently targeted at human rights campaigners] won’t be safe” (这帮畜生最怕的事情就是他们饭碗不保, 17:11 local time).

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Related

» Press Review: India, Philippines, Vietnam, Aug 20, 2011
» Don’t Manufacture Low-Class Nationalism, June 12, 2011
» Human Rights Watch website
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